Video: The Shelly Bordas Story, Part 2: “My Son Wins”

By John Moore
March 2, 2013

In this ongoing video documentary, veteran journalist John Moore chronicles Denver actor and mother Shelly Bordas’ journey since being diagnosed – for a second time – with Stage 4 breast cancer that has now spread to her brain. In Part 2, Shelly is hospitalized, has her 15th surgery, and faces tough decisions about her place in the Town Hall Arts Center’s staging of the Broadway musical, “9 to 5.” Run time: 8 minutes.

Watch Part 1 of our Shelly Bordas video documentary:
Video: The Shelly Bordas Story, Part 1: “Tit for Tot”

How to help Shelly Bordas:
In the past three weeks, friends have raised more than $20,000 to help Shelly Bordas, and there is plenty of need for it. With the start of the new year, Bordas has a huge new annual health-insurance deductible to chip away at; she just started a demanding new round of chemo; and Bordas has been told she is rapidly approaching her “lifetime insurance payout cap” — meaning that, at some point this year, her insurance company will cut her off. To help defray her medical expenses, and to help establish a college trust for Bordas’ nearly 4-year-old son, Nathan, click here.

Information on other upcoming fundraising efforts:
*A pay-what-you-can benefit concert organized by Mitch Samu will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at Columbine United Church, 6375 S. Platte Canyon Road, Littleton. Featured performers will include Joanie Beyette, Sarah Rex, Megan Van De Hey, Thad Valdez, Ryan Belinak, Colin Hearn, Kristen Samu, Tag Worley, Barry Brown and guest speaker Dr. Steve Poos-Benson. Tickets at the door. Child-care available.

*A “pay what you can” performance of “9 to 5” will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 4, with all funds going to Bordas. Tickets at the door, 2450 W. Main St., Littleton.

*Dani Nelson Everson, a hair stylist who has never met Bordas, owns the Clementine’s Denver, where she will host a cut-a-thon to benefit Bordas, from 4-6:30 p.m. on March 8 at 2009 W. 33rd Ave. Phone: 720-328-3594.

Previous reporting on this story:
The initial CultureWest.Org news report on Shelly’s story

Photo series: Opening night of Town Hall Arts Center’s “9 to 5”


The Bordas fund reaches $10,000 in first 24 hours

Shelly Bordas fundraising efforts hit $20,000 after first week


Kirk Montgomery’s “E-Block” report on Channel 9

Bonus coverage: Listen to my very funny “Running Lines” podcast episode with Shelly when she was appearing in Theatre Group’s 2006 production of “Debbie Does Dallas.” She played Lisa and was also the musical’s “cheerographer.”

Note: the coordinator of all Shelly Bordas fundraising efforts is Kelly Kates. Her email is kateshouse@earthlink.net

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Photo series: “It’s Opening Night in Colorado Theater”: To see my ongoing gallery featuring one intimate, iconic snapshot from more than 30 opening nights (and counting), click here.

Video: The Shelly Bordas Story, Part 1: “Tit for Tot”

By John Moore
Feb. 21, 2013

In this ongoing video documentary, veteran journalist John Moore chronicles Denver actor and mother Shelly Bordas’ journey since being diagnosed – for a second time – with Stage 4 breast cancer that has now spread to her brain. Run time: 6 minutes.

Previous reporting on this story:
The initial CultureWest.Org news report on Shelly’s story


The Bordas fund reaches $10,000 in first 24 hours

Shelly Bordas fundraising efforts hit $20,000 after first week


Kirk Montgomery’s “E-Block” report on Channel 9

Bonus coverage: Listen to my very funny “Running Lines” podcast episode with Shelly when she was appearing in Theatre Group’s 2006 production of “Debbie Does Dallas.” She played Lisa and was also the musical’s “cheerographer.”

Note: the coordinator of all Shelly Bordas fundraising efforts is Kelly Kates. Her email is kateshouse@earthlink.net

IMG_3474J

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

Photo series: “It’s Opening Night in Colorado Theater”: To see my ongoing gallery featuring one intimate, iconic snapshot from more than 30 opening nights (and counting), click here.

Shelly Bordas supporters raise $10,000 in 24 hours

Shelly Bordas with her then infant son, Nathan. He's now 3 1/2.

Shelly Bordas with her then infant son, Nathan. He’s now 3 1/2.


UPDATE: As of 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, Shelly Bordas’ online fundraising page has raised $12,635 from 251 backers.

By John Moore
Feb. 13, 2013

Just 24 hours after the launch of an online fundraising page, friends and strangers have contributed more than $10,400 to help send Denver actor and teacher Shelly Bordas on a Disney cruise with her 3 1/2-year-old son, Nathan. And that doesn’t count checks that also may have been sent by mail.

Bordas, who has battled breast cancer since her pregnancy, was given a terminal diagnosis last week. “They can’t tell you that I am going to make it to next weekend. They can’t tell you that I am going to make a year,” she said. “But I am going to try.”

Bordas had been told in November that her tumors were shrinking, so she celebrated by auditioning for her first musical since her ordeal began in 2009 — landing the role of the drunk secretary in the Littleton Town Hall Arts Center’s “9 to 5,” opening Feb. 22.

But Bordas soon began to lose vision, which led doctors to discover the cancer had spread to her brain. Four tumors were affecting her vision and motor coordination. A new round of daily chemo was begun. Bordas had to be admitted to the hospital on Jan. 29 when her body completely immobilized. “Paralyzed, and literally turning to stone,” she said.

Turns out the port that was aiding in her chemotherapy (her fourth) was infected. That triggered a life-threatening pulmonary embolism, which is a bacteria-filled blood clot in the lung. She then had port-removal surgery, her 15th surgery since her initial cancer diagnosis, and is now being given a round-the-clock barrage of antibiotics to fight the infection.

It was during that hospital stay that doctors gave Bordas the grim news that her remaining time is limited. She bade an emotional goodbye to her “9 to 5” castmates on Saturday, saying that her primary goal now is time with her son, notably taking him on a Disney cruise. “When it comes right down to it, it’s about time,” she said of her decision. “Near death brings you new goals.”

The theater community has responded. So too have many people who have never met her. The initial word of Shelly’s situation urged supporters to send checks addressed to Shelly Bordas to the Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 W. Main St., Littleton, CO, 80120.

Then, on Tuesday night, friend Sarah Roshan set up an account on the web site gogetfunding.com. And, as of 11 p.m. tonight (Feb. 13), 202 donors had pledged $10,400. “I am feeling good and thankful for this amazing community,” Roshan said.

The goal for the campaign has been increased to $15,000, for several reasons. Shelly will require up to four attendants to accompany her on any cruise (which she hopes to take in late March or early April). And the cruise is just one of many, many expenses she faces. Friends would also like to start a college fund for her son.

Bordas has not given up the fight. She has just started yet another new round of chemo. “What that is doing is buying me time,” she said. She has been overwhelmed by the response from the community. But she is having difficulty processing it all. Kelly Kates, her “9 to 5” choreographer, has taken on the role of trying to coordinate various efforts to help Bordas. Her email is kateshouse@earthlink.net.

Among the other ways in which people are helping:

*Voodoo Comedy Playhouse is donating all proceeds from its three shows on Wednesday, Feb. 20, to Shelly Bordas. The three scheduled “Voodoo Comedy Showcase” shows that night are “Humorous Harlots,” “Jump! Improv” and “Skintight Outrage.” Admission is $5 (but feel free to pay more). Voodoo is located at 1260 22nd St. in LoDo. This benefit is orgainzed by Kevin Lowry and Jessica Austgen.

*Dani Nelson Everson, a hair stylist who has never met Bordas, owns a salon in the Highlands neighborhood. As soon as she heard about Bordas’  fight, she announced a cut-a-thon, with all proceeds to benefit Bordas. Everson will have six stylists at the ready from 4-6:30 p.m. on March 8 at Clementine’s Denver, 2009 W. 33rd Ave. Phone: 720-328-3594. That was facilitated by Susan Lyles of And Toto Too Theatre Company.

*The mother of late actor Doug Rosen, a dear friend of Bordas’ who died on Sept. 5, 2009, has said she wants the balance of the fund his friends created to aid in Rosen’s own medical battle be transferred to Bordas. Rosen died before he could take full advantage of his friends’ generosity. That’s about $2,000 that will now go to Bordas.

*The Town Hall Arts Center has announced a “pay what you can” performance of “9 to 5” on Monday, March 4, with all funds going to Bordas. Call 303-794-2787 for reservations.

*Well-known area musical director Mitch Samu is planning a community-wide benefit concert to benefit Bordas. More details to come.

Bonus coverage: Listen to my very funny “Running Lines” podcast episode with Shelly when she was appearing in Theatre Group’s 2006 production of “Debbie Does Dallas.” She played Lisa and was also the musical’s “cheerographer.”

Note: I am preparing a video documentary on Shelly’s journey. When it is completed, you will see it here.

 

Shelly Bordas informed the cast of "9 to 5" that she would not be able to continue in her role on Feb. 9. Photo by John Moore of www.CultureWest.Org. All rights reserved.

Shelly Bordas informed the cast of “9 to 5” that she would not be able to continue in her role on Feb. 9. Photo by John Moore of www.CultureWest.Org. All rights reserved.

Shelly Bordas: A story that’s just beginning

Shelly Bordas, with choreographer Kelly Kates, told her "9 to 5" castmates yesterday that she would no longer be able to continue with the show. Photo by John Moore for CultureWest.Org

Shelly Bordas, with choreographer Kelly Kates, told her “9 to 5” castmates yesterday that she would no longer be able to continue with the show. Photo by John Moore for CultureWest.Org.

 

UPDATE: It’s here … an electronic means for helping Shelly Bordas with a donation. There also will be a “pay-what-you-can” performance of “9 to 5” on March 4, with all proceeds going to Shelly. Call 303-794-2787.

 

By John Moore
Feb. 10, 2013

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For the past month, I have been following the very funny comic actress Shelly Bordas in her journey back to the stage after a 3 1/2 year battle with breast cancer that she was told in November was behind her.

Shelly celebrated the news by auditioning for the Town Hall Arts Center’s “9 to 5,” and landed the comic role of the drunk secretary. We were both looking forward to soon bringing you my newest five-part video documentary on Shelly’s journey, culminating with her triumphant opening night on Feb. 22.

But the diagnosis quickly changed. The cancer had moved to Shelly’s brain. And so yesterday, after a 10-day hospital stay and her 15th surgery, Shelly told the cast that she could no longer continue in the show.

“The doctors don’t give me a lot of time,” she said. “… And every second I am at rehearsal is another second that I am away from my son.”

Her foremost goal now, she said, is to take her young son, Nathan, on a Disney cruise, she said, “because I need to see that happen.”

Shelly has appeared in dozens of plays around Colorado, but she is best known for her work with the now defunct Theatre Group, including memorable turns in “Cell Block Sirens of 1953,” “Bat Boy, the Musical” and, more recently, “Debbie Does Dallas.” She also has performed at the Arvada Center, the Avenue Theater, Backstage Theatre in Breckenridge and many others.

Shelly has been writing, teaching and directing youth theater for more than 15 years. She founded her own school, Acting Up, giving teenagers professional acting instruction. Many have gone on to work in New York. She has been teaching kids at the Town Hall Arts Center in Littleton for nine years. She has also been an instructor for Denver Public Schools, Gunnison High School, Stage Eleven and the Cherry Creek School District.

She left the cast on Saturday in typical good humor. “I am afraid I am going to leave you guys to deal with somebody who is never going to be near as good as me,” she said to laughs. “So that sucks for you guys.”

I will tell you that, despite her recent setback, Shelly’s story is just beginning. And we have agreed it should be chronicled. So, while I can’t say when, the video documentary will continue. When it is completed, you will see it here.

Help send Shelly and her son on a Disney cruise

To help Shelly defray the cost of taking her son on a Disney cruise, send donations addressed to Shelly Bordas to the Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 W. Main St., Littleton, CO, 80120.

Bonus coverage: Listen to my very funny “Running Lines” podcast episode with Shelly when she was appearing in Theatre Group’s 2006 production of “Debbie Does Dallas.” She played Lisa and was also the musical’s “cheerographer.”

Phamaly’s Jeremy Palmer accepts volunteer award, Denver mayor’s proclamation

Phamaly Theatre Company actor and writer Jeremy Palmer accepts the Denver Foundation’s Minoru Yasui Volunteer Award, and Denver mayor Michael Hancock’s proclamation making Nov. 15, 2012, “Jeremy Palmer Day” in Denver. Video by John Moore of culturewest.org. Run time: 7 minutes.

It’s Jeremy Palmer Day in Denver – and all wife Lyndsay got was a bag of cookies. Photo by John Moore

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.

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