Reporter for the Aurora Sentinel, Muse-ings
It was still tough to ask about the scars.
I’d been a guest at the Cheley/Children’s Hospital Burn Camp in Estes Park for three days, and I was just starting to feel like an adopted member of a very impressive family. It was 2010, and photographer Gabriel Christus and I had made the trek up to the picturesque Cheley Campsite just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park. We came as strangers, a pair of journalists looking to get a good story about this summer camp specifically dedicated to young burn victims. But after spending a full weekend with these 84 campers and 20 counselors, the trip no longer felt like a regular newspaper assignment.
Teenagers with burn scars crisscrossing their face, arms and hands welcomed us at campfires and mess tables. Camp veterans in their early 20s — some with similar marks — never missed a beat when we asked to join a rock-climbing expedition or take a front seat for the weekend talent show. Most impressively, no camper ever refused when I asked about their injuries. No refusals came when I demanded with no small amount of hesitation, “Can you talk to me about your burns?”
That note of uncertainty still underlined my questions on this last day, as I sat with Lorin Smith, a 15-year-old camper from Oregon. His face bore the red and pink traces of flames that had burned him eight years before, and my obvious nervousness didn’t get in the way of forthrightness. He was calm and confident and honest, qualities he chalked up to his four years at this camp. “It makes you realize that your scars are nothing,” he told me. “It’s how you feel, it’s how you deal with them.”
Smith eloquently summed up the most durable and inspiring lesson of the weekend for me. The note of perseverence was one that I tried to convey to readers in the resulting story, and it’s one that I’ve since worked to apply to other realms of my life.
When I try to sum up my six years as a reporter at the Aurora Sentinel, Smith’s story of courage and conviction is only one of hundreds that come to mind. It’s the nature of this job. Whether you’re covering city hall, education or arts and culture, you’re working as a storyteller. The tales of others are your currency; telling your own stories isn’t how you earn your paycheck.
I’ve spent nearly every single week of the past six years and four months unearthing tales about this city of more than 300,000 where I grew up. I reported to my first day of work at an office that was a mere 10-minute drive from my childhood home. I sat through city council meetings and school board meetings near where I used to ride my bike as a kid. I met mayors and city council members, I quizzed county commissioners and school board members. I tried to keep up with every single theater production, concert or gallery opening that involved an actor, musician or artist that boasted even the slightest connection to the city.
Forget the cherished and noble objectivity of the trade for a moment. That kind of day-in, day-out interaction with a place can’t help but change you. Keeping libraries and pools open during budget shortfalls suddenly seems important. Standardized test scores from neighborhood schools start to really matter. The devoted artists who hustle and starve to bring culture to the community begin to take on the aura of heroes. And when tragedy erupts in the form of a vicious, bloody assault in a movie theater that’s within sight of your office window, you grieve and mourn with the victims in a way that leaves nightmares.
But other people’s stories are only one part of this job, albeit the part that drives the endless string of long nights spent reporting, writing and copy editing. I’m a different person than I was six years ago, largely because of the other storytellers I’ve had the privilege to meet in this newsroom.
They’re the ones who’ve kept me in check, who’ve always been willing to read over copy and offer blunt advice. They can jab with the most inappropriate and tasteless jokes, and I always know I can take it as a sign of affection. They can move to the other end of the country and still hold the honored status of a best friend.
I’ll still be able to call myself a storyteller when I move on to a new role at the Cherry Creek School District, working to tell the tales of teachers, students and all the other people who make that massive organization work. I’ll still be able to glean new insights about my own childhood roots, about the city I called home as a kid (My new office is at my old high school). What I won’t be able to do is laugh, gab, argue and commiserate with some of the world’s most talented writers, editors and photographers on a daily basis.
They’ve helped me write my own story, one that’s been made much richer by my six years at the Sentinel.
Music in the Aurora Symphony Orchestra’s 2014-15 season will include selections by classical stalwarts like Beethoven and Mozarts as well as modern composers like Gershwin and Weber.
ASO officials will reveal the season for the upcoming season during the final show of its 2013-14 lineup this weekend. ASO conductor Norman Gamboa will finish up his first season with the orchestra during the “Arts for a Better Tomorrow” show which will run at Gateway High School, and his goals for the coming year are ambitious.
The five shows of the 2014-15 season will include plenty of material familiar for traditional fans of the symphony. The first show in October, titled “Musical Fancies,” will feature works by Claude Debussy, Ludwig Von Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
That kind of standard lineup will come along with a much more modern emphasis in shows like “Musical Tales: Broadway Selections” in February. That concert will include work by George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein and Andrew Lloyd Weber.
Gamboa said the coming year will see a lot more focus on ramping up the diversity in the musical selection and re-establishing programs like the annual youth competition for the “Arts for a Better Tomorrow” show.
“The orchestra was in transition with the music director search,” Gamboa said, referring to the two-year search process to replace former director Richard Niezen. “Many of the ongoing projects had to be put on hold for a while … Now that I’m in place, next year I will have the time and the team will have the time to structure it in a way so that the word gets out.”The tentative schedule for the 2014-15 season follows:
“Musical Fancies, ” Oct. 2014, Highpoint Church
Norman Gamboa, conductor Max Soto, oboe
Holiday Concert, Dec. 2014
Norman Gamboa, conductor
(repertoire to be announced)
“Musical Tales: Broadway Selections,” Feb., 2015
Family & Children’s Concerts
Norman Gamboa, conductor Mallory Bernstein, piano
“Enchanted Nights,” March 2015
Gateway High School
Norman Gamboa, conductor Kerry Johnson, soprano Denver Women’s Chorus
“Arts for a Better Tomorrow,” May, 2015
Gateway High School
Norman Gamboa, conductor (Solo Competition winners TBA)
World premieres, adaptations of literary classics and a familiar holiday staple will make up the Denver Center Theatre Company’s 2014/15 season.
The lineup for the coming season at the state’s flagship theater company includes a new adaptation of Meredith Wilson’s musical “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” Nigel William’s stage version of William Golding’s novel “Lord of the Flies,” the black comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” by Christopher Durang, a production of the DCTC’s longtime holiday tradition “A Christmas Carol,” the world premieres of James Still’s “Appoggiatura” and Eric Schmiedl’s “Benediction,” the historical drama “One Night in Miami…” by Kemp Powers and an unspecified “director’s choice” show that’s set to be finalized later this year.
The new version of “Molly Brown” is set to be one of the season’s high-profile anchors, including input from some of Broadway’s biggest names. The show premiered during the 2009 New Play Summit and is set to debut in September.
The musical follows the exploits of Titanic survivor and Denver aristocrat Molly Brown, who earned her fortune in the heady days of the Gold Rush in the 19th century. The new adaptation at the DCTC will draw on input from some of Broadway’s biggest names. Tony Award nominee Dick Scanlan wrote the book for the show and Tony Award-winner Kathleen Marshall will serve as director and choreographer for the Denver production scheduled to debut in September.
The revamped show will include previously unpublished songs by Willson, creator of classic shows like The Music Man. Molly Brown debuted as a Broadway musical in 1960. A film adaptation starring Debbie Reynolds followed in 1964.
“Molly Brown” isn’t the only success story from the DCTC’s New Play Summit to feature in the coming season. Three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee James Still’s “Apopoggiatura,” which follows the struggles of three Americans as they travel to Venice, was featured as part of the 2014 summit, as was “Benediction,” the final chapter in Schmiedl’s three-part series centered in Colorado.
Well-known literary classics, a critically acclaimed historical drama and an absurdist comedy round out the season. “Lord of the Flies” takes its cue from the classic story by William Golding about the devolution that follows when a group of English boys are stranded on a desert island. “A Christmas Carol,” now a storied DCTC tradition, is a stage adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens novella.
“One Night in Miami …” offers the imagined fallout after the historic fight between Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay in 1964. Kemp Powers uses the historic meeting as a launching pad to explore themes of race, class and social struggle. The 2013 Tony Award for Best Play, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” by Christopher Durang tracks the fireworks when a Hollywood actress returns to her rural, unassuming roots.
For tickets, schedules and more information, call 303-893-4100 or log on to denvercenter.org. DCTC’s full release regarding the coming lineup follows.
The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Lyrics and Music by Meredith Willson
Additional Lyrics and Book by Dick Scanlan
Based on the Original Book by Richard Morris
Directed and Choreographed by Kathleen Marshall
Sept 12-Oct 26 (Opens Sept 19) | Stage Theatre
This exhilarating refresh of Meredith Willson’s 1960 musical tells the rags-to-riches romance of Colorado’s own heroine, Molly Brown. With a new book by Dick Scanlan (Thoroughly Modern Millie), new songs from the Willson songbook and staging by Tony-winning director/choreographer Kathleen Marshall (Anything Goes), the tempestuous can’t-live-with-him/can’t-live-without-him love story that survived the Silver Boom, Gold Rush and sinking of the Titanic returns to the stage in an all-new production.
Lord Of The Flies
Adapted for the stage by Nigel Williams
Sept 26-Nov 2(Opens Oct 3) | Space Theatre
A staple in classrooms for generations, Chicago Theatre Beat raves Lord of the Flies is a “powerful, passionate adaptation that breathes new life into the classic novel,” which tells the story of a group of English boys who become stranded on a deserted island. Intoxicated by sudden freedom, their games quickly descend to a savage struggle for power. A compelling glimpse into dystopia that explores the grimmest reaches of human nature and fragility of free will.
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
By Christopher Durang
Oct 10-Nov 16 (Opens Oct 17) | Ricketson Theatre
Absurdist master Christopher Durang blends melancholy with mayhem in what The New York Times declares a “deliriously funny” black comedy. Winner of the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play, this Chekhovian mash-up erupts into chaos when Vanya and Sonia receive a surprise visit from their Hollywood star sister, Masha, and her boy-toy Spike. Residents and visitors of the normally quiet household are thrown into hilarious upheaval as they confront issues of sibling rivalry, regret, lust and love.
A Christmas Carol*
By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Richard Hellesen
Music by David de Berry
Nov 28-Dec 28 (Opens Dec 5) | Stage Theatre
Essential to the holiday season in Denver, A Christmas Carol promises to “warm your heart and renew your holiday spirit” according to the Examiner. Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, this joyous and opulent musical adaptation traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season in a way that has resonated for generations.
*Added attraction, not part of the subscription season.
By James Still
Jan 16-Feb 22 (Opens Jan 23) | Ricketson Theatre
Written by three-time Pulitzer nominee James Still, Appoggiatura follows three closely related Americans, each nursing a hunger and a hard-to-heal wound, as they travel to the romantic city of Venice seeking solace. As time bends and magic lies just around the corner, this favorite of the Colorado New Play Summit weaves a quirky and lyrical narrative exploring love, loss and the human soul.
A Denver Center commission.
By Eric Schmiedl
Based upon the novel by Kent Haruf
Jan 30-Mar 1 (Opens Feb 6) | Space Theatre
Boasted a “masterful look at the end of life” by The Denver Post, this adaptation of best-selling Kent Haruf’s novel takes place on the high plains of Colorado. The final chapter of a trilogy, Benediction is a slice-of-life drama about three souls searching for meaningful connections despite separation, loneliness and the race against time.
A Denver Center commission.
One Night in Miami…
By Kemp Powers
Mar 20-Apr 19 (Opens March 27) | Space Theatre
This slice-of-life dramedy that the LA Times calls “engaging and thought-provoking,” imagines what occurred the night of Cassius Clay’s historic win over heavyweight champ Sonny Liston. Declining a glamorous Miami Beach party, Clay chooses to celebrate in a hotel room with his closest friends: activist Malcom X, singer Sam Cooke and football player Jim Brown. Over the course of the night each man argues for his vision of what it means to be black in 1964, culminating in an early morning announcement from Clay that will shock the world. Filled with “crackling good dialogue and timely themes,” as boasted by Variety, One Night in Miami… is a “decisive knockout.”
Mar 27-Apr 26
March 27 – April 26 | Stage Theatre
Part of the thrill of live theatre is the element of the unexpected. We are reviewing a few dynamic choices for our final production of the 2014/15 season. Stay tuned!
The Denver Center Theater Company’s 2014/15 season will kick off in September with The Unsinkable Molly Brown, a new adaptation of Meredith Willson’s musical that premiered during the 2009 Colorado New Play Summit.
The show details the life of Titanic survivor and Denver aristocrat Molly Brown, who earned her fortune in the heady days of the Gold Rush in the 19th century. The new adaptation at the DCTC will draw on input from some of Broadway’s biggest names. Tony Award nominee Dick Scanlan wrote the book for the show and Tony Award-winner Kathleen Marshall will serve as director and choreographer for the Denver production scheduled to debut in September.
The revamped show will include previously unpublished songs by Willson, creator of classic shows like The Music Man. Molly Brown debuted as a Broadway musical in 1960. A film adaptation starring Debbie Reynolds followed in 1964.
The announcement comes on the heels of the ninth annual Colorado New Play Summit, an event that’s become an important regional forum for premiering new works. The new take on Molly Brown is part of the company’s commitment to new work, according to DCTC staff.
“We are thrilled to produce this new adaptation of The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” DCTC Artistic Director Kent Thompson said in a release. “With a first-class Broadway creative team and featuring the story of one of Colorado’s most famous and successful women, I couldn’t imagine the show premiering elsewhere.”
The show is set to run from Sept. 12 to Oct. 26 at the Stage Theater at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Further details about the production and special events tied to the show will be announced in partnership with the Molly Brown House in Denver. Information: 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org
Roll out the red carpet. The best and brightest in Colorado’s theater scene are streaming in to the Arvada Center to honor their own for the Eighth Annual Henry Awards, a ceremony that recognizes the very top in local culture. There are plenty of Aurora artists, actors, directors and crew members up for honors tonight. Terry Dodd is nominated for best director and James O’Hagan Murphy is up for best actor for “RFK: A Portrait of Robert F. Kennedy” at the Vintage. SuCh is up for outstanding lead actress for her performance in “The Color Purple” at the Aurora Fox. Speaking of the Aurora Fox, the theater’s executive producer Charles Packard is nominated for outstanding scenic design for his work on “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” at the Curious Theatre in Denver. I’m in the front row waiting for each winner to be announced. Stay tuned for moment-by-moment updates.
10:15: Final Performance: “Medley of Songs” from the Town Hall Arts Center’s production of “Hair.” Show ends with rousing version of “Let the Sun Shine In” with entire audience standing up.
10:10: Steven J. Burge and GeRee Hinshaw present Henry Award for Outstanding Season for a Theater Company. Nominees: Arvada Center, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, Curious Theatre Company, Denver Center Theatre Company, Town Hall Arts Center.
Curious Theatre Company wins award.
10:06: Jamie Ann Romero and Geoffrey Kent present Henry Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical. Nominees: “42nd Street,” “The Color Purple,” “Hair,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Man of La Mancha.”
The Arvada Center’s production of “Man of La Mancha” wins award.
10:05: Haley Johnson and Lindsey Pierce present Henry Award for Outstanding Production of a Play. Nominees: “The Brothers Size,” “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” “Ghost-Writer,” “RFK – A Portrait of Robert Kennedy,” “Time Stands Still.”
The Curious Theatre Company’s production of “The Brothers Size” wins.
10:00: Christy Montour-Larson presents Henry Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical. Nominees: Christopher Alleman, donnie l. betts, Michael J. Duran, Rod A. Lansberry, Nick Sugar.
Rod A. Lansberry wins for Arvada Center production of “Man of La Mancha”
9:55: Cajardo Lindsey and Jack Wefso present Henry Award for Outstanding Musical Direction. Nominees: Donna K. Debreceni, Neal Dunfee, David Nehls, Jonathan Parks, Chris Starkey.
David Nehls wins for the Arvada Center’s production of “Man of La Mancha.”
9:50: Performance of “Medley of Songs” by the cast from Lake Dillon Theatre Company’s production of “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”
9:45: Donna Debreceni and Nick Sugar present Henry Award for Outstanding Direction of a Play. Nominees: Dee Covington, Terry Dodd, Josh Hartwell, Peter J. Hughes, Chip Walton, Robert Wells.
Robert Wells wins for the Town Hall Arts Center’s production of “The 39 Steps.”
9:40: T. David Rutherford presents Special Award For Outstanding Regional Theatre – TheatreWorks, Colorado Springs
9:30: Hannah Duggan and Mitch Slevc present Henry Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play. Nominees: Laurence Curry, Jonathan Farwell, Cajardo Lindsey, James O’Hagan-Murphy, Steef Sealy.
Jonathan Farwell wins for OpenStage Theatre and Company’s production of “Amadeus.”
9:28: Sean Scrutchins presents Henry Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play. Nominees: Abby Apple Boes, Rhonda Brown, Laura Norman, Anne Oberbroeckling, Kim Staunton.
Laura Norman wins Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company production of “Ghost Writer.”
9:20: In Memoriam slideshow prepared by John Moore
9:15: A performance of “On My Own” from Les Miserables by Nicole Mancini from Chapparal High School.
9:00: Rick Bernstein presents a Lifetime Achievement Award to Jim Hunt. Entrance draws standing ovation from the crowd. “I plan to think hard about what this role means to me and post about it on my wall.”
8:55: Abby Apple Boes and John Ashton present Henry Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical. Nominees: “A Knight to Remember,” “Ed, Downloaded,” “Elijah: An Adventure,” “Newark Violenta,” “Sweet Tooth.”
The Buntport Theatre’s production of “Sweet Tooth” wins.
8:52: Megan van De Hey and Robert Michael Sanders present Henry Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical. Nominees: Casey Andree, Joshua Blanchard, John Scott Clough, Matt LaFOntaine, William Michals.
Joshua Blanchard wins for Lake Dillon Theater Company’s production of “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”
8:50: Jada Roberts and Scott Bellot present Henry Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical. Nominees: Brianna Firestone, Selah Grace, Norrell Moore, SuCh, Megan Van De Hey, Kathi Wood.
SuCh wins for her performance in the Aurora Fox production of “The Color Purple.”
8:45: Performance from the Arvada Center production of “Man of La Mancha.”
8:42: Maggie Stillman and Brandon Palmer present Henry Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor. Nominees: Sam Gregory, Kevin Hart, Chris Kendall, Bob Moore, Warren Sherrill.
Bob Moore wins for role in “The Sunshine Boys” at the Lake Dillon Theatre Company.
8:38: Brock Benson and Steef Sealy present Henry Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play. Nominees: Kathleen M. Brady, Rachel D. Graham, Deon James, C. Kelly Leo, Jeanne Paulsen.
Jeanne Paulsen wins for role in “Romeo and Juliet” at the Denver Center Theatre Company.
8:40: David Nehls gives special presentation regarding the future of the Historic Elitch Gardens theater. The theater closed in 1991, and work to restore the historic facility started in the early 2000s. According to Nehls, reconstruction work on the interior of the theater kicked off this week. “The structural improvements will once again open the doors,” he said, adding that much work still remains to fully restore the facility. “It is our hope that one day in the not too distant future we will be hosting these awards in the very place that Denver theater was born.”
8:30: Mary K. Dailey presents special Henry Award for Advocate for Theatre Arts Education Award to Colorado State Thespians.
8:25: The cast of “Steel Magnolias” presents Henry Award for Outstanding Ensemble. Nominees: “Ghost Writer,” “Hair,” “How the World Began,” “Man of La Mancha,” “Time Stands Still.”
The Town Hall Arts Center’s production of “Hair” wins.
8:20: Performance – “What About Love?” from the Aurora Fox theater production of “The Color Purple.” Performance draws standing ovation.
8:15: Michelle Hurtubise and Ryan Wuestewald present Henry Award for Outstanding Choreography. Nominees: Ronni Gallup, Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, Nick Sugar, Tracey Warren.
Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck wins for “Man of La Mancha” at the Arvada Center.
8:10: Zach Andrews and Brian Landis Folkins present Henry Award for Outstanding Scenic Design, Tiers 1 and 2. Nominees: Brian Mallgrave, Charles Packard, Vicki Smith, Abster Productions, Amy Campion, Kathryn Kawecki, David LaFont and Terry Dodd.
Brian Mallgrave wins Tier 1 award for “Man of La Mancha” at the Arvada Center; Abster Productions wins for “August: Osage County.”
8:00: Anthony Bianco and Gabriel Morales present Henry Award for Outstanding Costume Design, Tiers 1 and 2. Nominees: Chris Campbell, Claire Henkel, Christina Poddubiuk, Kevin Brainerd, Linda Morken, Roxanne Storlie and Rebecca Spafford.
Chris Campbell wins Tier 1 Award for “Man of La Mancha” at the Arvada Center; Linda Morken wins Tier 2 for “The Wizard of Oz” at Boulder’s Dinner Theater.
7:55: Special Award for Outstanding Theatre Volunteer presented by Drew Martorella to Randy Dipner from TheatreWorks.
7:50: A performance of “42nd Street” from the Boulder’s Dinner Theatre production of “42nd Street.”
7:48: Laura Norman and Warren Sherril present Henry Awards for Outstanding Lighting Design, Tiers 1 and 2.
Nominees: Shannon McKinney, Jane Spencer, Seth Alison, Kerry Cripe, Jon Scott-McKean, Jacob M. Welch.
Shannon McKinney wins Tier 1 Award for “Man of La Mancha” at the Arvada Center. Jacob M. Welch wins Tier 2 Award for “Kiss of the Spider Woman” at the Lake Dillon Theater Company.
7:45: Sylvia and Sam Gregory present Henry Awards for Outstanding Sound Design, Tiers 1 and 2.
Nominees: Jason Ducat, Brian Freeland, Tyler Nelson, Rodolfo Ortega and Craig Breitenbach; Wayne Kennedy, Andrew Metzroth, Adam Stone, Luke Aleen Terry.
Brian Freeland wins award for Tier 1 for “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” at the Curious Theatre; Adam Stone wins Tier 2 award for “Wake” at the Buntport Theatre.
7:40 — Arlene Rapal presents Henry Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical. Nominees: Ben Dicke, Ed Dixon, Tyrell D. Rae, Thomas Rainey, Burke Walton.
Thomas Rainey wins for role in “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” Lake Dillon Theater Company.
7:35 — Seth Caikowski presents Henry Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical. Nominees: Jennifer DeDominici, Ruth Gottschall, Ashlie-Amber Harris, Madison Kitchen.
Ruth Gottschall wins for role in “Sense & Sensibility: The Musical” at the Denver Center Theatre Company
– 7:15 p.m. — Hosts Steven Burge and GerRee Hinshaw emerge for opening monologue. “The way to go is to be productive and efficient … This year, our mark is going to be left on the Henrys by being on time.” Colorado Theatre Guild General Manager, InFocus host Eden Lane, theater critic John Moore and EBlock host Kirk Montgomery give a welcome, insist on opening number. Jim Poulous from “Curtains” running at the Arvada Center appears with Megan Van DeHey; “Being a part of the Colorado theater community has got to be the most fulfilling thing a person can do,” sing “Show People” with “Curtains” cast.
The Aurora Fox theater’s twenty-ninth season will feature a spin on classical Greek mythology, a horror story about a headless horseman and a look at the life of painter Frida Kahlo.
Aurora Fox Executive Producer Charles Packard led the theater’s annual season announcement ceremony on Feb.12, revealing a lineup for 2013-14 that only includes four shows produced by the Aurora Fox. Those shows will include “Metamorphoses” by Mary Zimmerman in August, the regional premiere of “Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” in October and a production of “Painted Bread” by Melissa Lucero McCarl in January, 2014.
The season will also include an unnamed musical comedy in April. Packard said the title couldn’t be revealed until next year because of issues regarding rights to the show and a national touring production.
Packard said that although the season only includes four shows produced by the Fox, the coming year will see constant activity at the theater. That’s in part because of a revolving slate of shows by guest companies, including productions by the Phamaly Theatre and Ignite Theatre troupes.
Phamaly will present a production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” as the holiday show in December, and Ignite’s lineup includes productions of “Avenue Q,” “Lysistrata Jones” and “Aida.”
“We try to coordinate what we’re doing with what they’re doing,” Packard said. “Other producers … need more space than we have.”
He added that the theme of the coming season will be “style,” and that the shows will be rooted in cues pulled literature, painting and myth.
For example, “Metamorphoses” by Mary Zimmerman explores nine stories based on ancient Greek and Roman mythology. The show will be produced in the studio theater and will follow the kind of ambitious set design the Fox pulled off for their production of “K2.” Instead of the sheer face of a mountain, the set will include a full pool of water on the stage floor, Packard said. The show will be directed by Geoffrey Kent, an award-winning theatrical fight coordinator and a troupe member with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a “traditional telling of Washington Irving’s classic ghost story.” Directed by Packard, the main stage production will include complex costumes and production cues.
“Painted Bread” by Denver actress and playwright Melissa Lucero McCarly is a surreal exploration of the life of painter Frida Kahlo. According to Packard, the show follows the interactions after Kahlo emerges from a painting to explain her life to a museum tour guide.
As for the unnamed musical bound for the Fox in April, 2014, Packard offered few substantial hints, simply stating that it will not be “Camelot.” The show is set to be directed by Piper Arpan, a Fox veteran who starred in the production of “The Wedding Singer” and co-directed “Xanadu.”
Aurora Fox Productions
“Metamorphoses” by Mary Zimmerman
Directed by Geoffrey Kent
Aurora Fox Studio Theater, 9900 E. Colfax Ave.
Aug. 16 to Sep. 22, 2013
Nine inter-related tales based on ancient Greek and Roman mythology.
“Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” adapted by Christopher Cook
Directed by Charles Packard
Aurora Fox main stage
Oct. 4 to Nov. 3, 2013
A traditional telling of Washington Irving’s classic ghost story.
“Painted Bread” by Melissa Lucero McCarl
Aurora Fox main stage
Jan. 31 to Feb. 23, 2014
Denver actress and playwright Melissa McCarl’s exploration of the life and legacy of Mexican painter Frida Khalo.
April 11 to April 27, 2014
Aurora Fox main stage
A new musical comedy that’s not “Camelot.”
Phamaly Theatre production
“It’s a Wonderful Life”
Adapted from the screenplay by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra and Jo Swerling
Aurora Fox main stage
Dec. 7 to Dec. 22
Ignite Theatre Productions
Book by Douglas Carter Beane; Music and Lyrics by Lewis Flinn
Directed by Keith Rabin Jr.
Aug. 2 to Aug. 26
Aurora Fox main stage
A modern spin on Aristophanes’ bawdy comedy about the women of Ancient Greece withholding sex in order to get their men to end the war.
By Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx
Directed by Bernie Cardell
Oct. 4 to Nov. 3
Aurora Fox Studio Theater
A production of the musical puppet comedy featuring the same cast and the same director from the 2010 Vintage Theatre show.
By Elton John, Tim Rice, Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls and David Henry Hwang
Dec. 27 to Jan. 19
Aurora Fox main stage
A musical in two acts based on Giuseppe Verdi’s Italian-language opera by the same name.
For more information, call 303-739-1970 or log on to aurorafoxartscenter.org.
The brass from the Aurora Symphony Orchestra is devoting plenty of time and care to the selection of its next director.
Last year, longtime ASO conductor and music director Richard Niezen announced his departure, and officials kicked off a national search for a replacement. ASO officials narrowed down the first group of applicants to five contenders earlier this year, and each of those five will have a chance to lead the 40-member orchestra by the end of the season. You can read about the full tryout process here.
Geoffrey Pope and John Jong-hun Bae have already had their turns at the podium, and this weekend will see performances led by Arturo Gonzales, a native of Mexico who received his master’s from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and has had turns leading local orchestras. The series of Pops and Children’s concert to be held this weekend at Vista PEAK Preparatory School will include selections by Mussorgsky and Ennio Morricone.
The shows will include a public meet-and-greet session with Gonzales. The final two candidates will lead concerts in March and May. For more information and tickets, visit aurorasymphony.org.
A full press release from the ASO follows:
The new addition to the ASO’s concert season is the Pops Concert. Like one of the regular Masterworks Concerts, this performance features the full versions of the music performed during the Children’s Concert.
***NOTE – some local publications have listed the Pops Concert as free. That’s incorrect – only the Children’s Concert is free!***
The FREE children’s concert is one of the orchestra’s favorite events of the season. In conjunction with the music of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, the orchestra will present images and text from the wonderful book of the same name.
Bring the kids onstage after the performance and have them try their hand at some of the orchestral instruments. This is a great way to introduce children to instrumental music, and a great way to enjoy it yourself! The musicians of the ASO stay onstage and are happy to answer questions about playing their instrument and getting a young musician started. Music Go Round will also be at the concert and have plenty of instruments to show and answer any questions about renting an instrument.
Saturday, February 9, 2013 (2:30pm) @ Vista Peak Preparatory School, 24500 E 6th Ave., Aurora
No tickets are required for the Children’s Concert performance. General seating only. Children of all ages are welcome!
ASO POPS CONCERT
In addition to the full Pictures at an Exhibition, the ASO also performs favorite movie music from Ennio Morricone.
Saturday, February 9, 2013 (7:30pm) @ Vista Peak Preparatory School.
Tickets available online.
Sponsored by the Aurora Rotary Foundation
Instead of our regular intermission coffee, join Music Director Arturo Gonzalez after the concert for a talkback session with refreshments
Zack Golditch was a symbol of inspiration and hope for a battered Aurora community in the days and weeks following a tragedy.
Golditch was one of 70 injured in the July 20 shootings at the Century 16 theater, an attack that also claimed 12 lives. Hours after a stray bullet passed through Golditch’s neck, the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Gateway High School senior lineman wanted to show up for football practice with his fellow Olympians, despite the protests of his mother.
It was a story of determination that caught the attention of producers from CBS Sports. A segment about Golditch’s injury, recovery and determination will air as part of the “Super Bowl Today” pre-game show on Sunday before the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers play Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. The pre-game show is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. MT.
Golditch, who is set to sign his national athletic letter of intent with Colorado State University this week, started the team’s full regimen of training exercises a little more than a month after the shootings. He went on to play a major role in helping the Olys to a 7-3 record and home game in the Class 5A state playoffs. (Check out Sports Editor Courtney Oakes’ features about Golditch here and here.)
According to a summary of the program provided by CBS, the pre-game show will focus generally on the Gateway football team, and more specifically on Golditch’s recovery and resilience.
Those qualities were hard to miss in the first hours and days after the tragedy, when Golditch did his best to be there for his teammates.
“He said ‘just because I have a gunshot wound, doesn’t mean I can’t go to practice,’” Christine Welch-Golditch told the Aurora Sentinel about her son in July. “That’s just the way Zack is, he wanted to show others that there’s no reason they shouldn’t come to practice.’”
The official summary from CBS Sports follows.
Producer: Pete Radovich
On July 20, 2012, a deranged gunman entered a movie theater in Aurora, Colo, and opened fire. By the time he was finished, 12 people were dead, and 58 others were injured. Among those wounded, rising senior Zack Golditch of nearby Gateway High School. Shot through the neck, the 6-foot-5, 260 pound, 17-year-old became a symbol of strength and recovery as he fought his way back onto the football field.
The Vintage Theatre has extended the run of “RFK,” a production that’s earned across-the-board praise from critics (including myself). The drama will run through Feb. 24 at the Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St. in Aurora.
The one-man show starring James O’Hagan Murphy and directed by Terry Dodd explores the life and legacy of Robert F. Kennedy. The show marks the Vintage’s first extended run since the theater moved from their old site on 17th Avenue in Denver in 2011. Click here for my full review of the show. Tickets start at $25. Information and showtimes: 303-856-7830 or vintagetheatre.com.
It’s coming. Christmas is two weeks away, and stages across the metro area are celebrating with a wide range of shows. From British farces to musical versions of classics, theater companies are ringing in the season. Time is running out for many of these shows, so we’ve assembled a guide to some of the best local holiday picks. In a mix that includes Charles Dickens, Santa Claus and Irving Berlin, there are enough stocking stuffers for theatergoers of all stripes.
“A Christmas Carol,” through Dec. 16 at the Aurora Fox theater, 9900 E. Colfax Ave. Tickets start at $26. Information: 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org. Details: The theater’s main stage production of Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” takes its cues straight from the original story, focusing largely on the ghost story that underlies the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge. Highlights: Directors Charles Packard and Robert Michael Sanders show a loving fidelity to the original Dickens text in his direction, and Gregory Price shines as Ebenezer Scrooge. The show also includes some genuinely spooky moments, thanks to touches by lighting designer Jen Orf and projection and sound manager El Armstrong
“Wooden Snowflakes,” through Jan. 6 at the Aurora Fox theater, 9900 E. Colfax Ave. Tickets start at $26. Information: 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org. Details: The regional premiere of Catherine Bush’s “Wooden Snowflakes,” running in the Fox studio theater until January, takes more modern cues for its holiday spirit. The romantic comedy follows two characters who have dramatically different doses of holiday spirit. Highlights: David Bluenstock and Patricia Wells deliver some moving chemistry over the course of the romantic comedy. The actors carry the weight here, and their performance makes up for some uneven moments in the script.
“White Christmas,” through Dec. 24 at the Buell Theatre, 1101 13th St., Denver. Tickets start at $35. Information: 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org. Details: Taking its cues from 1954 film of the same name, “White Christmas” follows the efforts of two World War II vets years after the battles have ended. A former commanding officer is in danger of losing his business in Vermont, and the duo join a pair of sisters/singers in an effort to raise money to keep the place running. The chances seem slim, largely because a lack of snow is keeping the tourists away. Highlights: Director Kent Thompson shows his uncanny ability to juggle sentimentality and comedy in the Denver Center Theatre Company’s production. Along with a sterling principal cast (Tom Galantich, Nicolas Dromard, Amy Bodnar and Kate Marilley shine in the lead roles), the show benefits from vintage Broadway dance numbers and a recognizable score.
“When We Are Married,” through Dec. 16, the Stage Theatre, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 1101 13th St., Denver. Tickets start at $36. Information: 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org. Details: What would you do if you discovered on your 25th wedding anniversary that you weren’t legally married? British playwright J.B. Priestley takes this basic premise and intensifies it for “When We Are Married,” a comedy that poses that situation for three couples. The play follows as all six spouses struggle to figure out how to protect their reputations and resolve their newly unmarried status. Highlights: It may not be a straight holiday show, but there’s enough moving moments here to stress basic themes about love, family and devotion. The cast, made up of Denver Center Theatre Company heavyweights like John Hutton, Sam Gregory, Kathleen Brady and Kathleen McCall, gives this British farce its momentum and its laughs. That’s no small feat, considering all of the dialogue is delivered in the thick accent of Yorkshire. The heart and the laughs of the Priestley’s text remains intact despite the foreign notes, and the show is an ideal alternative to the run-of-the mill holiday fare.
“The Man Who Came to Dinner,” through Dec. 22, the John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place, Lowry. Tickets start at $20. Information: thisisspotlight.org. Details: The classic comedy follows the hijinks when egotistical radio personality Sheridan Whiteside visits a small provincial town in Ohio. The arrogant critic agrees to have dinner at the house of matron Daisy Stanley, wife of a local conservative businessman, and he’s waylaid much longer than anticipated after an injury on the couple’s front doorstep. The comedy explodes from there, with a cast of archetypes pulled straight from the golden age of Hollywood. Highlights: Directors Bernie Cardell and Pat Payne find the humor and spirit in George Kaufman and Moss Hart’s comedy from the 1930s, making even the most dated references feel immediate. That success comes largely from a skilled cast. Indeed some of the smaller roles help propel this show – Todd Black is compelling as Professor Metz, Charles Wingerter is a scene stealer as Beverly Carlton and Luke Terry is downright hilarious as Banjo. Like “Married,” this show offers an ideal alternative to the familiar holiday fare.
“Miracle on 34th Street,” through Dec. 23, the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada. Tickets start at $36. Information: 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org. Details: Nothing says Christmas quite like “Miracle on 34th Street.” The musical, based on the iconic 1947 film directed by George Seaton, asks questions about the true definition of sanity and the real meaning of the Christmas holiday. When a man named Kris Kringle signs up to be Santa Claus at Macy’s Department Store, he also claims to be the real Saint Nick. A trial questioning his sanity follows, and he must answer basic questions from a crowd of doubters. Highlights: The Arvada Center’s production of the musical adaptation by Meredith Willson offers plenty of holiday spirit. The dance numbers are dazzling, the sets are top notch and performacnes by Erick Devine, Lauren Shealy, Jody Madaras, Regan Fenske and Ben Dicke are touching and charming by turns. This is a show for the traditionalists, for the Christmas crowd who never tired of a classic story.
ON THE HORIZON
“Next to Normal,” Dec. 21 through Jan. 6, the Aurora Fox theater, 9900 E. Colfax Ave. Tickets start at $25. Information: The Ignite Theatre company keeps up its profile of tackling complex and critically acclaimed shows with its production of the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning “Next to Normal.” The musical, penned by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, tells the story of a mother struggling with bipolar disorder. The production, directed by Ignite co-founder and artistic director Keith Rabin Jr., is an in-depth, uncompromising look at mental illness.