Reporter for the Aurora Sentinel, Muse-ings
The creative team at the Aurora Fox theater is kicking off the holiday season with a staged reading of a brand new play by a local playwright. The Fox will host a staged reading of Terry Dodd’s new work “Stealing Baby Jesus” tonight at 7 p.m. The play was selected as part of the “Read and Rant” program, an initiative to seek out new work for the Fox stage.
The show tracks the fallout after the baby Jesus goes missing from nativity scenes across a community. It’s not Dodd’s first appearance at the Fox –the theater wrapped up their last season with a production of the comedy “Amateur Night at the Big Heart” earlier this year.
The staged reading aligns with a larger holiday theme at the theater on East Colfax Avenue. The reading of “Stealing Baby Jesus” comes days after the debut of “A Christmas Carol” on the Fox’s main stage, and a few weeks before the kickoff of the regional premiere “Wooden Snowflakes.”
The reading will start at 7 p.m. at the Aurora Fox, 9900 E. Colfax Ave. Admission is $5. Information: 303-739-1970 or aurorafoxartscenter.org.
Looks like the Colorado Shakespeare Festival is working to bring the work of the Bard a little closer to home for the 2013 season.
The state’s signature Shakespeare tribute announced its coming season this week, and the program includes a nod to American history in addition to the standard selection of comedies, histories and tragedies. Specifically, the season will include a reading of Constance Congdon’s new play about Shay’s Rebellion. The show about the post-Revolutionary War uprising is the first in a series titled “Making America: A History Play Cycle.”
That’s not to say this year’s festival will neglect the Elizabethan classics. Productions of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Macbeth” and “Richard II” are on tap for next summer, as is Tina Packer’s “Women of Will,” a show that delves into the role of women in Shakespeare’s work. The comedy “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” is also on the roster for 2013.
The CSF’s full press release follows.
Colorado Shakespeare Festival 2013 Season
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Directed by Philip C. Sneed
Dream a little dream of love and laughter as Shakespeare’s most beloved comedy casts its spell on the enchanting Mary Rippon stage. Moonlight, magic and mirth ensue when four young Athenian lovers and a troupe of actors find themselves subject to the “puckish” wiles and whims of the denizens of the fairy kingdom. It’s an enchanting evening of romance under the stars and a wonderful introduction to Shakespeare for children.
Directed by Jane Page
Shakespeare’s great tragedy explores the darkest corners of the human heart as the infamous Scottish general schemes and murders in his raw, ambitious quest for the throne. The ominous portents of three “weird sisters” and a warning from Banquo’s ghost guide Macbeth’s bloody hand … or do they? It’s a brooding meditation on power and ambition, fate and free will directed by Jane Page, director of CSF’s 2009 smash hit, To Kill a Mockingbird.
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)
A hilarious homage for Shakespeare lovers, haters and everyone in between as three actors frantically attempt to perform the entire canon — all 37 plays! — in a couple of hours. That necessitates some … creative editing. Cheer the histories on the gridiron! Get down with Othello through the magic of rap! Pick up culinary tips courtesy of Titus Andronicus! “Shakespeare as written by Reader’s Digest, acted by Monty Python, and performed at the speed of the minute waltz.” — Los Angeles Herald
Directed by James Symons
Richard II opens Shakespeare’s epic four-play Henriad, the backstory to England’s bloody Wars of the Roses — the saga that ends with Richard III. Good-hearted yet weak, Richard II is fated to be challenged by the aggressive, popular Henry Bolingbroke. At a time when image is everything in American politics, Richard’s tragedy poses critical questions about how to govern a divided nation. (Look for the rest of the tetralogy, Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, in 2014, and Henry V in 2015*.)
Women of Will
Directed by Eric Tucker
Following critically acclaimed runs in Prague and New York City, Tina Packer brings her fresh, funny, brilliant exploration of Shakespeare’s women back to Boulder for a one-night overview performance with the incomparable Nigel Gore.
It looks like broken ribs, a punctured lung and head injuries can’t stop Ben Dicke from moving forward with his creative vision.
Two weeks after sustaining multiple injuries that delayed the scheduled debut of the musical “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” at the Aurora Fox theater, Dicke announced the show will resume sooner than expected. Dicke, who directs and stars in the production, announced via Facebook Friday that the theater would host a “sneak preview” of the show at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22.
After Dicke fell into a trapdoor at the Fox and suffered several injuries on Sept. 7, theater officials announced the opening of the musical “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” would be delayed until Sept. 27.
The rescheduled run of the musical at the Fox’s studio theater will still end Oct. 28. Thursday dates have been added in an attempt to make up for the lost revenue caused by the delay.
Dicke’s efforts to bring the regional premiere of the rock opera by Michael Friedman and Alex Timber to the Fox have spanned nearly six months. In May, Dicke took to a treadmill on the 16th Street Mall in Denver, running a full 24 hours in an effort to raise $10,000 for the show through the Kickstarter website.
Dicke’s full announcement from Facebook follows.
“LAST MINUTE ANNOUNCEMENT! Ben Dicke is back and ready to perform earlier than expected after falling through a trap door on the previous scheduled Opening Night. That means that tomorrow, Saturday, September 22 at 7:30 PM, the cast of BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON will be hosting a Sneak Preview. This is your chance to see the show before the critics, the loud-mouth local actors and your Mom all ruin the surprises. Who knows, come early enough and you might even get to wear a racist costume and sit on our Reservation? Tickets are $25 at the door. No advanced tickets will be sold. Aurora Fox Studio theater, 9900 East Colfax Ave., Aurora.”
I knew I was hooked as soon as I heard those first cornet blasts, those fiery and fierce melodic statements that hearkened back to a bygone age.
The whole concept behind the program that I discovered by accident on the local jazz station nearly 10 years ago seemed antiquated. “Riverwalk Jazz” was a weekly show beamed from a club called The Landing in faraway San Antonio. As a proud jazz nerd who fell in love with vintage recordings from the early decades of the twentieth century, any modern ensemble would have had a hard time winning me over.
But bandleader Jim Cullum’s style was special. He blew his horn with the same kind of fervor and intensity that had drawn me to records cut by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five and Hot Seven Bands of the 1920s and 1930s. He played with the kind of nuance and sensitivity that had distinguished Bix Beiderbecke as one of the underappreciated musical geniuses of the twentieth century. Most importantly, he paid constant tribute to the masters – leading a sterling seven-piece ensemble and guest players through entire programs that explored the oeuvres of forgotten geniuses like Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Cootie Williams and Lester Young in painstaking detail.
There was vibrancy in the band’s delivery, an enthusiasm that came through in the soulful solos and the constant background noise of a hooting and hollering audience. It’s a dynamic has kept me listening faithfully to the band’s program for the past decade. My inner jazz nerd rejoiced when I got word that Jim Cullum’s Jazz Band will head to Aurora at the end of the month as part of the annual Summit Jazz festival, which will run on Sept. 28, 29 and 30 at the Red Lion Hotel on South Parker Road.
The show will be a rare opportunity, a chance to see pre-World War 2 jazz music played with a keen eye for detail and plenty of soul (check out a live sample here). I speak from firsthand experience, having caught the Cullum band’s set at a Summit festival in Denver a few years back.
The spirit that comes through in the band’s weekly radio broadcast is even stronger in person. Avid collectors who have been devotees of obscure jazz music for decades gather to revel in a shared passion. Soloists break out in frenzied improvisations, new additions to timeless tunes penned in the early decades of the twentieth century. Compositions by Armstrong, Ellington, Waller and countless others find renewed life under the skilled direction of Cullum and his players.
The effect is transporting, and well worth the price of admission.
This year’s Summit Jazz Festival, scheduled for Sept. 28, 29 and 30 at the Red Lion Hotel on South Parker Road in Aurora, will feature a lineup of local and national acts. Passes start at $30. For more information and reservations, log on to summitjazz.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-670-8471. The Red Lion Hotel Denver Southeast is located 3200 South Parker Road in Aurora.
The Vintage Theatre troupe is less than a week away from kicking off one of the final shows of its current season, but administrators are keeping focus on the company’s long-term future.
On Sept. 7, the stage adaptation of John Irving’s “The Cider House Rules” will kick off in the new black box space, a 70-seat theater built in a former studio at the former Shadow Theatre space at 1468 Dayton St. The show, which tracks the progress of characters over six decades, will run in two parts, an ambitious move that echoes the theater’s approach when they mounted “Angels in America” at their former theater in Denver.
The challenge of pulling off two distinct parts of a single story hasn’t distracted Vintage Artistic Director Craig Bond from the coming season. Bond says that the theater still needs to secure certain titles in the upcoming season, but he did reveal a couple of intriguing titles for the 2012-13 cycle. The next show in the small theater will be Jack Holme’s “RFK” a theatrical biography of Robert F. Kennedy,” with the musical comedy “City of Angels” by Cy Coleman, David Zippel and Larry Gelbartto to follow in the theater’s main auditorium, a space that boasts more than 150 seats.
“I think that we’re about to turn the corner in our programming elements. I’m thrilled about the possibilities,” Bond said, adding that a classic film series may be added to the program for the coming year. “I think that you have to be creative with the programming in such a way that you will constantly be busy. I’m really looking forward to 2013 because I finally get to program the space.”
The coming season is also set to include input from guest companies. Bond’s already confirmed that Theatre Esprit Asia, an Asian-American troupe formed by actors from the Vintage’s production of “The Joy Luck Club,” will stage three productions in 2013. “Sworded Tails and Spirit Treks,” “Dust Storm” and “99 Histories” will all be part of the inaugural season by the company created by actresses Tria Xiong and Maria Cheng.
What’s more, the Aurora theater will host shows by the Rocky Mountain Deaf Theatre, a troupe directed by Nicki Runge. Runge starred in the Community College of Aurora’s 2010 production of “Romeo and Juliet,” a staging that translated Shakespeare’s lines into American Sign Language and converted the imagery, characters and metaphors into hand gestures.
The RMDT will stage a production of “Some Girls” in October, followed by “Eight Reindeer” in December and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” next year.
More details regarding the upcoming season and the imminent production of “Cider House Rules” to come in the Sentinel’s fall theater preview slated for our Sept. 6 issue.
It didn’t take long for The Book of Mormon to win massive critical acclaim after its debut at the Eugene O’Neil theater in New York last year. The musical by Colorado natives and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone quickly won over the critics, and would go on to pick up nine Tony Awards. In January, tickets for the Denver stop on the inaugural tour sold out within a matter hours.
Even with all that success and attention under their belts, Stone and Parker insist that the debut of the touring production that’s set for the Ellie Caulkins Opera House on Aug. 14 will stand as a new step for the show. In addition to the Ellie’s greater capacity (the theater seats about twice the crowd as the O’Neil), the show in Denver will introduce a new cast to audiences. The stop has also given the writers the chance to make some familiar stops (the pair treated the entire cast and crew to dinner at Casa Bonita) and find new facets in a show that’s still fairly new.
We caught up with Parker and Stone to talk about the creative process behind the musical, the tributes to classic Broadway combined with the pair’s subversive brand of humor and their favorite stops in Colorado. Look for further coverage and additional coverage in days before the show’s debut.
Aurora Sentinel: It seems like there’s a dual dynamic to the progression of this show. On one hand, the roots stretch back seven years, but I also read that you didn’t get to hear the final orchestration of the show until a week before the premiere.
Trey Parker: That’s normal. You get in and you do that the whole thing called tech. You’re stopping and starting the whole show every two seconds and it’s like, ‘OK, well when do we get to run the show and see it?’ ‘Oh, we’ll do that on Tuesday.’
Matt Stone: The analogy I’d use … We were in the middle of this and we were like, ‘This is tomorrow?’ That’s compared to film where you get to look at something over and sculpt it. It’s kind of like if you cooked stir fry, you go get the meat from the market, then you grew spices in your garden for months, then you got vegetables from someplace in Europe and you cook it all in a minute.
It’s like you worked on all the ingredients and the parts and then it was thrown together in the last six days. With this cast, we’ll have the orchestration tomorrow. It’s less of a deal this time, because we’ve obviously heard the Broadway version, but it’s the same timeline. We hadn’t heard the show with the orchestra until a week before everyone else in the world did. So, we were turned off by that … We’re going to see the show beginning to end three days before the first paid preview.
TP: That’s what everyone does. But you realize that everyone here is a total professional, and they’re going to run it and it’s going to be fine.
MS: They’re professional actors, and they’re really, really good and people bring their A-game. I guess their side of it is that they need that audience. They don’t want to do it anymore to an empty audience. I get that, too.
AS: As Colorado natives, is there any special significance debuting the show at the Buell? Did you make any stops here on field trips as kids?
TP: You have to launch a tour somewhere. We have to spend three weeks in some city, besides New York and L.A., and it’s great that it’s here with our family and our friends. It’s great to be somewhere we’re familiar with.
We’re in Colorado a lot because we have friends and family here … It still feels a bit like home, which is great.
MS: Yeah, my dad taught at Auraria … Just this area I came to all the time.
TP: And this theater is so much bigger than our Broadway theater. It’s kind of like, ‘Wow, we’re big time.’ It feels weird to step up.
AS: The structure and content of the show seems to draw so much from classic Broadway. In addition to the edgy, subversive elements of the show, it feels like the show includes a real homage to the history of musical theater.
TP: The work on ‘South Park,’ nine times out of ten, is we’ll be like, ‘OK, maybe Stan will do this,’ and then, ‘What was that one movie?’ We’ll start talking about it, and say, ‘Oh it’s like that movie, oh yeah, it’s like that movie.’ We’ll reference other things, and when you’re creating something from nothing, you need those reference points.
I think very early on, with this, we were like, ‘It would be funny if it were like ‘The King and I’ and regurgitate it back. We just kind of work that way where you use (material), and in a way, we just try to take everything a step beyond parody.
You can just fully parody it or take what they were doing and add it into the mix of all of this other stuff. That’s what we thought about, was the whole storytelling and all of that mythology and everything, and how we realized that so many movies and so many shows are the same thing.
MS: (Co-creator Bobby Lopez), he knows musicals up and down, like obscure musicals … But a lot of the ones that we talked about doing this are even the ones I know about: The Music Man, and the similarities to the ending of The King & I. Like Trey said, all of that stuff, it opens up ideas.
AS: The score seems to include similar cues to classic Broadway shows.
TP: We had this experience with the “South Park” movie, it was kind of what I was good at, which was ditties and hooks and turning a song into a joke and a joke into a song. Just doing these little ditties that were really funny little songs and blowing them up into something, we really had experience with that doing the “South Park” movie. This was sort of the same way, but with the gist of every song, the show grew up around the songs. It was really like, ‘All right, what’s a really funny idea for a song at a moment like this?’ And we would figure out the joke of the song before we’d write the song. Knowing the joke, you’d start to know the hook, just the chorus. Then the verses you could sing this kind of stuff.
MS: ‘Baptize Me,’ for example, we circled around for three days with this idea … We started with just, ‘What would a love song be in this? During someone’s baptism?’
TP: We actually found some baptism songs where the woman was like, ‘He’s going to shower me in his love.’ (Laughs).
MS: Once we made that joke, that song was written in an afternoon. But we talked about the concept for days, but once it was like, ‘That’s the joke.’
TP: ‘Turn It Off,’ that was very much a ditty kind of song that I had. The joke … was really just the gay part. At the time, we thought that maybe even the lead character would think he was gay. We ended up changing that, but that’s a great example of a song that just grew. Bobby added stuff to it, then Casey came in and added a bunch of stuff to it to make it a bigger dance number.
AS: How long are you going to be following the touring company?
MS: We’re going to be here through opening night, and then we get to take a couple of weeks off. Then we have to go back to L.A. to do ‘South Park’ anyway, so we’re going to go with the show. We’re going to do a big opening night in L.A. too just for fun, because that’s the other place where we live. Then that’s it. Then it goes off on its own.
TP: As a director, I’m supposed to check in every once in a while to make sure it’s not an abomination.
AS: How has it been revisiting the same material with a new touring troupe?
TP: It’s great, it’s fun. It makes it fun for us, because if it was exactly the same every night, we’d be wanting to hang ourselves. Luckily, with this cast, the show is different. We haven’t changed a word, script or music-wise, but the show’s just different because it’s different people and they bring a different life to it.
It’s fun for us, because we’re laughing at places we haven’t laughed before, and we are watching and discovering things that we never knew applied.
AS: Tickets to the first run in Denver sold out within hours, and it was recently announced that the show will return to the Buell in October. Were you anticipating such an enthusiastic reaction to the show in Colorado?
MS: The way that you book a tour, you have to book everything so far out. We weren’t sure it was going to sell, and you want to be conservative for your first tour. They told us, ‘You can always go back.’ What you don’t want to do is book a bunch of weeks in a town, then have a bunch of tickets available and have it seen as a turkey.
Once it sold out so fast, we talked about when could we bring it back. Luckily, we got to announce it while we were here, which was cool. Maybe some of the scalpers’ prices will come down based on the fact that we’re coming back. Don’t pay $1,000 for tickets.
AS: I know the Denver Center made specific efforts to derail scalpers.
MS: There’s really nothing you can do about it.
TP: It sucks, because I’m one of the reasons why StubHub exists, because I’m the one who will pay $10,000 for Broncos sideline tickets. (Laughs).
AS: I heard that you treated the entire cast to dinner at Casa Bonita. Are there any other sights you make sure to see when you’re in town?
TP: For me, even coming to Denver was a big deal, because it was just far enough away from Conifer that it was like you only came down here on a weekend … Downtown Denver … still feels foreign.
I took my girlfriend to Boulder where I went to school, and I took them to the house I grew up in in Conifer.
MS: For me, I’ve got a couple of friends … In their backyard, drinking beer, barbecuing, in the summer – that’s my sweet spot. I like that. They’re really good friends of mine. When I think about what I want to do in Denver, it’s to go to my friends’ backyard, you know.
It sounds so corny, but growing up here and being able to see the rain coming … that just doesn’t happen in L.A. I love the dramatic weather, the late afternoons and evenings.
AS: Beyond all the surface elements – the trademark brand of humor, the nods to the history of Broadway – what would say is the underlying theme of The Book of Mormon?
TP: All religions are funny, made-up little stories, and there’s something really cool about that. It’s like football, if you stop to really think about it, it really doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s extremely fun.
MS: Religion is ridiculous, but that’s sort of what we do. The transmission of stories is kind of what makes humans humans.
THE BOOK OF MORMON will play at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House from Aug. 14 to Sept. 2. The show will return for an additional run at the Buell Theatre in October. While the majority of tickets for the upcoming run have been sold, the theater will conduct a lottery for $25 tickets for every show of the run.
From the Denver Center for the Performing Arts release: “THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of nine Tony Awards including Best Musical, is pleased to announce a lottery ticket policy for the National Tour, which launches August 14 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver and plays a limited engagement through September 2. In Denver, the production will make 24 tickets available for all performances at $25 apiece.
The lottery for the Broadway production has proven to be wildly popular. The producers of THE BOOK OF MORMON are pleased to offer low-priced lottery seats for every city on the National Tour as a thank you to the show’s fans on the road.
Entries will be accepted at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House box office beginning two and a half hours prior to each performance; each person will print their name and the number of tickets (1 or 2) they wish to purchase on a card that is provided. Two hours before curtain, names will be drawn at random for a limited number of tickets priced at $25 each. Only one entry is allowed per person. Cards are checked for duplication prior to drawing. Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and show valid ID to purchase tickets. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. Tickets are subject to availability.”
Information: denvercenter.org or bookofmormonthemusical.com.
Ignite Theatre company’s next season will feature productions of the musicals “Cabaret,” “La Cage Aux Folles” and “West Side Story,” in addition to the remount of the popular Vintage production of “Avenue Q.” Ignite’s Executive Artistic Director Keith Rabin announced the new season Friday, following the opening night production of the regional premiere of “Spring Awakening” at the Aurora Fox theater.
The new season is set to kick off in April, following productions of “Sweeney Todd” and “Next To Normal” later this year. The full schedule and dates of Ignite’s coming season follow:
“Cabaret,” by Christopher Isherwoo, John Kander and Fred Ebb
To be performed in the round with liquor service during the show
Directed & Choreographed by Danny Harrigan, Music Direction by Midge McMoyer Smith
Aurora Fox studio theater
“La Cage Aux Folles,” by Harvey Fierstein and lyrics and Jerry Herman
Directed by Bernie Cardell, Choreographed by Danny Harrigan
Aurora Fox main stage
“Avenue Q,” by Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty
Featuring the cast of the 2011 Vintage Theatre production
September through November, 2013
Directed By Bernie Cardell, Music Direction by Midge McMoyer Smith
Aurora Fox studio theater
“West Side Story” by by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim
December 2013 – January 2014
Directed by Keith Rabin Jr., Choreographed by Stephanie Prugh, Music Direction by Jalyn Courtney Webb
Aurora Fox main stage
I knew this neighborhood long before I wrote my first story for the Aurora Sentinel more than four years ago.
The Sentinel headquarters on East Alameda Avenue sits in the middle of too many childhood memories to count. As a kid, my first bike rides without training wheels took me north down Sable Boulevard from my home on Elkhart Street, just behind Gateway High School. The trips past the erstwhile Aurora Mall included stretches past the parking lot that now holds the Century Aurora 16 theater. Long after I swapped in my two-wheeler for my first car, I’d travel those same routes. Even as a brash teenager intent on exploring the mean streets of downtown Denver, I’d stop with friends for a flick at the Century before we started our late night tours of all-night coffee shops and concert halls. After time spent living abroad as a dissatisfied twenty-something – a year in Oregon, a year-and-a-half in France – that connection was still as strong as ever, a link that made the prospect of working for the Sentinel as a cub reporter all the more exciting.
As more details emerge about the massacre that unfolded within sight of our front door, in the midst of all of those highly personal memories, those ties seem all the more poignant and powerful.
Today, I didn’t need news coverage and cover stories to put this tragedy in context. I didn’t need to see the footage shot from the vantage of the helicopters that have been circulating around our building all day.
The backdrop for the chaos was my childhood. The context for cold-blooded murder was my personal roots.
I was sitting in that theater less than three weeks ago, watching the new Spider-Man movie with my father. The medical campus where I spent the better part of this morning interviewing emergency room doctors was the same site where my grandfather, a former prisoner of war, recovered in 1945, in the months following his liberation from a German camp. James Holmes’ booby-trapped apartment on 17th Avenue and Paris Street is mere blocks away from the home where my grandparents made their first home as a new married couple, the Original Aurora neighborhood where my father attended his first elementary school classes.
There’s a certain degree of numbness that goes along with my job. Even as an arts and education writer, I’ve become accustomed to the 24-hour cycle of violence we find on the AP wire. As often as not, I gloss over headlines pulled from across the world that tout body counts and detail the damage wrought by suicide bombers. From the comfy vantage of the newsroom, those details feel filtered and distance deadens their sting.
But today, I don’t have that privilege. The President is talking about my hometown on the news. They’re carting out body bags from the movie theater across the street. Those victims perished in the place where I had a first date with my ex-girlfriend, the place where I whiled away lazy summer afternoons with friends not so long ago. They died needlessly and senselessly, a few blocks down from my father’s house, the place I called home off-and-on from ages 1 to 29.
Today, the gap between my everyday life and the innocence of those childhood memories feels greater. My comfort zone has vanished, and emptiness has come in its stead.
The Colorado Theatre Guild will honor the best and the brightest from 2011-12 season during their seventh annual awards ceremony tonight at the L2 Arts and Culture Center in Denver. Check back for a live feed from the ceremony starting at 7 p.m.
10:05 p.m. — That’s all she wrote, folks. Three hours and nearly 25 awards later, the hosts wrap up the festivities. The big winners tonight — the Arvada Center, the Town Hall Arts Center and the Curious Theatre Company, among others — have set the bar pretty high for next year.
10:00 p.m. — John Ashton present award for outstanding season for a theater company — WINNER — Arvada Center.
9:57 p.m. — Ben Dicke and Billie McBride present award for outstanding production of a musical — WINNER – Ragtime, the Arvada Center.
9:55 p.m. — Paige Price and Mary Lou Westerfield present the award for outstanding production of a play — WINNER — Red, Curious Theatre company.
9:51 p.m. — Erik Edborg and SmAnTha Schmitz present the award for outstanding direction of a musical — WINNER – Nick Sugar, The Who’s Tommy, Town Hall Arts Center.
9:47 p.m. — Mary Dailey presents the award for outstanding musical direction — WINNER — Donna Debreceni, The Who’s Tommy, Town Hall Arts Center. (The crowd erupts; screams from the cast of Tommy).
9:43 p.m. — Steve Wilson and Melanie Mayner present the award for outstanding direction of a play — WINNER — Christy Montour-Larson, Red, Curious Theatre Company.
9:37 p.m. — Steve Wilson delivers “A Word About the state of Denver media.”
“We need to take a greater role in advocating for our work,” Wilson says. “It’s more important than ever to support and encourage those who are still working to evaluate (what we do) … The critic as adversary is really an archaic notion.”
9:30 p.m. PERFORMANCE — “Pinball Wizard” from the Town Hall Arts Center’s production of The Who’s Tommy. Cast includes Lisa Finnerty, Keegan Flaugh, Anna Gibson, Ashlie Amber-Harris, Tim Howard, Rob Janzen, Matt LaFontaine, Cora Marsh, Russell Mernagh, Norrell Moore, Melissa Morris, Rob Riney, James Thompson, Markus Warren.
9:16 p.m. Michael Morgan presents award for journalistic excellence in the arts to former Denver Post theater critic John Moore. Morgan score from Holst’s The Planets on cellphone as he pays a lovingly absurd tribute to Moore’s work as a theater critic. The band breaks out in a cover by the Avett Brothers; crowd applauses raucously.
Audience rises in standing ovation.
“This has been a year of great change, not only for myself but for the whole theater community,” Moore says. “To quote the Flaming Lips, I think brighter days are ahead for the whole planet … I got into this job with two goals: To work hard and to tell stories.”
“You turn on the other half of my brain,” Moore adds.
9:15 p.m. Rebecca Gorman O’Neill presents award for outstanding regional theatre company — WINNER — Thunder River Theatre Company, Carbondale.
9:10 p.m. Rachel Founder and Pesha Rudnick present award for outstanding lead actor in a play — WINNER — Sean Scrutchins, 9 Circles, Curious Theatre Company.
9:05 p.m. Sheila Traister and ZZ Moor present award for outstanding lead actress in a play — WINNER — Lisa Bruneau, Heartbreak House, Denver Center Theatre Company.
9:02 p.m. Tim McCracken and Tracy Shaffer present award for outstanding new play — WINNER – Tommy Lee Jones Goes to the Opera Alone, Buntport Theatre.
8:52 p.m. — Jim Hunt calls for Brian Colonna and Erin Rollman to join him onstage. “They’ve been incredible hosts for so many years.” Leads ‘In Memoriam’ slideshow; recites Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” Pays tribute to journalist Holly Bartges, CTG judge, teacher and theatergoer Kay Marie Mirich, sound engineer Leslie Burnside, Platte Valley Players founding member Sheri Simon, theater mentor and Evergreen Theatre alum P.K. Worley, union members Richard LaRue and John Peterson.
8:43 p.m. — PHAMALY theater company’s Lucy Roucis presents the CTG’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Tom McNally. McNally: “I want to thank the CTG for giving this award to a teacher … I have been so lucky to do that.” Pays tribute to UNC’s theater department. “What we do is so damned important … Don’t let anybody put down what you do … Let me tell you about the theater arts: We’re the shit.”
8:38 p.m. — PERFORMANCE — The cast of the Vintage Theatre Company’s production of Avenue Q performs “For Now.” The ensemble includes Michael Bouchard, Patrick Brownson, Leslie Randle-Chapman, Eric Fry, Anna High, Paul Jaquith, Carolyn Lohr, Mackenzie Paulsen, Keith Rabin Jr., Mark Shonsey. Donna Debreceni and the house band play the score. On a side note, this production will be at the Aurora Fox theater next year.
8:35 p.m. — Fresh off her win, Megan Van de Hay presents award for outstanding lead actor in a musical — WINNER — Tally Sessions, Chess, The Arvada Center.
8:30 p.m. — Nick Sugar presents award for outstanding lead actress in a musical — WINNER — Megan Van de Hay, Ragtime, Arvada Center.
8:27 p.m. – “Hosts in training” Steven Burge and GerRee Hinshaw present award for outstanding supporting actor in a play — WINNER — Benjamin Bonnefant, Red, Curious Theatre company.
8:25 p.m. — Karen Slack and Andy Waldschmidt present award for outstanding supporting actress in a play — WINNERS — Hannah Duggan, Tommy Lee Jones Goes to the Opera Alone and Erin Rollman, The Roast Beef Situation, Buntport Theatre company.
8:15 p.m. — A word from the Colorado Theatre Guild — Deb Flomberg and Gloria Shanstrom present the new, refitted Colorado Theatre Guild website.
8:10 p.m. — Performance — “Along Came Bialy” from the Town Hall Arts Center’s production of The Producers. Bernie Cardell emerges alone to kick off performance. Joined by Paula Bach, Rich Cadwallader, Nicole Campbell, Kevin Doherty, Kris Graves, TJ Hogle, Ryan Howard, Tim Howard, Rae Klapperich, John Mackey, Eric Mather, Mary McGroary, Meghan McMahon, Bekah, Ortiz, Jenny Parris, Chirs Russell, Liam Speros. Donna Debreceni and the house band plays.
8:10 p.m. — Schtick with Brian Colonna and “in training” hosts continues. Teach the duo to “walk and talk” at the same time. “You see, I sometimes smile, too.”
8 p.m. –Isabelle Clark presents special award for the National Theatre Conservatory, which graduated its final class in May.
7:53 p.m. — Randy Weeks presents special award for the Actors’ Equity Association.
7:51 — Lorenzo Sarinana and Jack Wefso present award for outstanding ensemble performance — WINNER — Red, Curious Theatre Company.
7:48 — Michael and Rachel Bouchard present award for outstanding choreography — WINNER — Nick Sugar, The Who’s Tommy, Town Hall Arts Center.
7:46 p.m. — Brian Landis Folkins and Christy Montour-Larson present award for outstanding scenic design — WINNER — Susan Crabtree, Red, Curious Theatre Company.
7:45 p.m. –Boni McIntyre and Keith Rabin Jr. present award for outstanding costume design — WINNER — Christina Wright, American Night, Denver Center Theatre Company.
7:40 — Megan Van De Hey and Wayne Kennedy perform “Our Children” from the Arvada Center’s production of Ragtime.
7:35 — Emily Tarquin presents Special Achievement Award for Outstanding Multi-Media Presentation to Charlie Miller. A short video from the Denver Center Theatre Company precedes presentation.
7:35 — Michael Emmitt and Carla Kaiser Kotrc present award for outstanding lighting design. WINNER — Shannon McKinney, Red, Curious Theatre
7:31 — Lisa DeCaro and Len Matheo support award for outstanding sound design. WINNER — Will Burns, Red, Curious Theatre
7:30 p.m. — Michael J. Duran supports award for outstanding supporting actor in a musical. WINNER — Seth Caikowski, The Drowsy Chaperone, Boulder Dinner Theatre.
7:30 p.m. — Stephen Day presents award for outstanding supporting actress in a musical. WINNER — Arlene Rapal, Avenue Q, Vintage Theatre Productions. (Director Bernie Cardell accepts).
7:22 p.m. — The Buntport Theatre’s Brian Colonna and Erin Rollman take the stage, with “hosts in training” Steven Burge and GerRee Hinshaw in the background. “There is quite a learning curve to what we do here,” Burge says, before Rollman announces that it’s her final year hosting.
7:15 p.m. — The show is kicking off the ceremony with the opening monologue from Boulder Dinner Theatre’s performance of the musical “The Drowsy Chaperone.” The BDT orchestra is joining crew from the show for a live rendition of “Toledo Surprise.”
7:05 — People are still streaming into the L2 Arts and Culture Center on East Colfax Avenue, and most of the reserved seats up front are still unoccupied. The band is starting to play its first notes, however, and the lights are going down.