By John Moore
As a former Denver Post theatre critic in the Google age, you can’t run, and you can’t hide, from your own words. In most cases, I don’t want to.
When it was annnounced that “Pippin” will launch its national tour in Denver in September 2014, I was immediately reminded of my admittedly cranky review of the 2006 Arvada Center production, headlined, “Pippin bares an ick factor.”
My lead from that review:
Spamalot uses 30 wireless microphones and consumes more than 2000 AAA batteries per month and runs over 1 mile of cable.
Among the props is a cow that weighs 45 pounds and it takes two stagehands to catapult it over the castle.
Spamalot uses approximately 40 coconuts per month, supplied by the Coconut King in Florida.
Frank Abagnale Jr. is an expert on fraud, scams, deception and beating the system. Between the ages of 16 and 21, he forged and cashed $2.5 million worth of bad checks in the United
States and 26 other countries, while successfully passing himself off as an airline pilot for Pan Am, a doctor, a college professor and a lawyer. He was ultimately caught, as he always knew he would be, and served time in French, Swedish and American prisons.
In the fall of 1992, I was asked if I would coordinate classes for a new initiative at The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) to be called the Denver Center Theatre Academy. The goal: to create a training ground for Denver’s local actors. The instructors: professional actors and directors of the Denver Center Theatre Company (DCTC). The plan: to offer weekly classes to local actors much like the acting studios in New York: Circle in the Square, HB Studios, Neighborhood Playhouse and others.
This was a major gamble. Did the Denver community even want theatre classes? Would it support them? We crossed our fingers, swallowed hard and offered four classes for adults and two classes for teenagers, serving 83 students.
Immediately, requests for additional programming began to emerge. Can you offer drama classes for children? How about support for drama teachers? Can your artists visit the schools? What about family programming? The Academy listened and carefully formulated programs that served the specific needs of our Rocky Mountain community, because it was clear that this community was every bit as passionate about theatre as New York.
Fast forward to the late 1990s. Demand by then had not only grown, it had outgrown our space. In 2002, with the generous help of many donors, the DCPA renovated the third floor of the historic Tramway Building to create the superb Newman Center for Theatre Education. It has 14 classrooms, office space and a 200-seat theatre. Each classroom is designed with a specific type of student in mind. There are dance studios, music rooms, a media studio and classrooms for all age groups, starting with our preschoolers. These facilities are the envy of performing arts organizations across the country.
This year we will have more than 2,500 students in our building. This summer, more than 900 of them filled our acting camps, performances, evening classes and private coaching sessions. The Academy’s visiting artists have taught more than 25,000 students in metro-area classrooms and have served 750 teachers and business leaders in our professional development programs.
So what’s up for the next 20 years?
Well, we don’t plan to slow down. We’re developing new in-school programming, creating more classes on site, and developing courses that merge theatre practice with today’s newest technologies.
In 20 years, I have witnessed students and faculty leave for Broadway, television and the movies. I have seen others remain here to become prominent politicians, business leaders, teachers and professional artists. I have seen students take classes as teenagers and return with their own children for summer camps.
The Academy has been blessed with dedicated artists, faculty, administration and students throughout the years. Above all, it has been blessed with wonderful benefactors who understand that what we do here greatly enhances the potential of the next generation.
Happy Birthday, Denver Center Theatre Academy. Here’s to that next generation.
Learn more about the classes and programs offered by the Denver Center Theatre Academy at denvercenter.org/education.
By Rob Weinert-Kendt
The conventional wisdom on Broadway today is that you can’t have a hit without a star name or a Tony winner headlining the cast. If it’s a musical, your best bet is a property with some built-in brand recognition, which helps to explain the trend toward jukebox musicals and adaptations of popular films.
Memphis has been a blazing exception to all these rules since its opening in October of 2009. This original musical about the birth of rock’n’roll took the Best Musical Tony the following spring and ran for 1,165 performances; it arguably made stars of its lead actors, Montego Glover and Chad Kimball, each also nominated for Tonys. (Kimball was replaced midway through the run by Adam Pascal, something of a name in musical theatre circles for his originating role in Rent, but hardly box-office gold by himself.) And as it neared the three-year finishing line this past summer, Memphis checked another box in the success column: It recouped its entire $12 million capital investment before closing in August.
Denver Center Attractions announces an extended season featuring hits straight from Broadway for 2013/14. New this year, the season includes increased payment plan options. For as low as eight payments of $35.63, subscribers will see all 11 shows featuring Tony Award-winning shows such as the 2012 Best Musical ONCE, War Horse, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, EVITA, Million Dollar Quartet and, launching the national tour in Denver, Peter and the Starcatcher – winner of five Tony Awards, the most of any play in 2012.
Kicking off the season January 8 – 20, 2013 is War horse in The Buell Theatre. Winner offive 2011 Tony Awards, WAR HORSE is a remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship. As World War I begins, Joey, young Albert’s beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped from England to France. He’s soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary journey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man’s land. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home.At its heart are astonishing life-sized puppets created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, that bring to life breathing, galloping, charging horses strong enough for men to ride. warhorseonstage.com
“American Idol” star and Tony Award-nominee Constantine Maroulis joins with Grammy Award-nominee and R&B superstar Deborah Cox to inject new life into the classic tale of good and evil with Jekyll & Hyde January 29 – February 10, 2013 in The Buell Theatre. After four thrilling, chilling years on Broadway and multiple world-wide tours, this dark and dangerous love story from Tony and Grammy Award-nominee Frank Wildhorn and Oscar and Grammy-winner Leslie Bricusse returns in a newly-reimagined pre-Broadway production that includes all the classic songs like “This is the Moment,” “A New Life” and “Someone Like You” that first grabbed audiences by the throat and transformed JEKYLL & HYDE into a theatrical phenomenon. jekyllandhydemusical.com
Catch Me if You Can, based on the hit DreamWorks film and the incredible true story that inspired it, plays The Buell Theatre February 26 – March 10, 2013. This high-flying, splashy new Broadway musical tells the story of Frank W. Abagnale, Jr., a teenager who runs away from home in search of the glamorous life. With nothing more than his boyish charm, a big imagination and millions of dollars in forged checks, Frank successfully poses as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer — living the high life and winning the girl of his dreams. But when Frank’s lies catch the attention of FBI agent Carl Hanratty, Carl chases Frank to the end…and finds something he never expected. Don’t miss this big-hearted musical adventure based on an astonishing real-life story of being young, in love…and in deep, deep trouble. CatchMeOnTour.com
Spring of 2013, The Doyle & Debbie SHOW plays The Garner Galleria Theatre. This new hit musical featuring all-original songs is sublime homage and parody, simultaneously idolizing and lampooning country music’s tradition of iconic duos and the battle of the sexes that accompany them. Doyle Mayfield, an old-guard country star with a handful of hits back in the 70s and 80s, is reviving his career thirty years, four wives, and three Debbies later. The new Debbie, a single mother with three children, sees this lovable lothario as her last chance to make it big in Nashville – but she also questions hitching her star to this loose cannon. Fresh off an eight month stop in Chicago, Nashville’s perennial favorites Doyle and Debbie venture west to take Denver audiences on a wickedly funny and freewheeling joyride. The Doyle & Debbie SHOW is sponsored by MolsonCoors. doyleanddebbie.com
Denver audiences will see a big beautiful musical make its world premiere when SENSE & SENSIBILITY THE MUSICAL plays The Stage Theatre April 5 – May 26, 2013. With book and lyrics by Jeffrey Haddow, music by Neal Hampton and based on the novel by Jane Austen, this sparkling new musical is full of passion and wit. Sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, opposites in temperament, struggle to find love and happiness in one of literature’s most beloved romances. When half-brother John inherits their father’s estate, the sisters, now virtually penniless, move to a rural cottage to make do as best they can … but not even desperate financial circumstances can keep love at bay. An all-star team of Broadway champions has been assembled for this thrilling new production, including Director/Choreographer Marcia Milgrom Dodge, whose recent Broadway revival of Ragtime received seven Tony Award nominations, including Best Direction of a Musical; Costume Designer Emilio Sosa, “Project Runway”, 2012 Tony nominee for The Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess;Set Designer Allan Moyer, Tony nominee for Grey Gardens, and acclaimed Broadway/London Lighting Designer James F. Ingalls. Producing Partners include: The Anschutz Foundation, Joy S. Burns, Daniel L. Ritchie, June Travis. SENSE & SENSIBILITY THE MUSICAL is sponsored by U.S. Bank and The Ritz-Carlton.
Peter and the Starcatcher, the most mayhem-filled evening of madcap fun on Broadway, will launch the national tour here in Denver at The Ellie Caulkins Opera House August 15 – September 1, 2013. Hailed by The New York Times as “The most exhilarating storytelling on Broadway in decades,” this hilarious romp through the Neverland you never knew won five Tony Awards – the most of any play in 2012 – and Broadway.com’s Audience Choice Award as Favorite New Play. Based on the best-selling Disney-Hyperion novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Peter and the Starcatcher is the thrilling passage to a time when the world’s most important battle was being fought by a glum orphan boy and his exuberant leader. A dozen brilliant actors play more than 100 unforgettable characters using their enormous talent, ingenious stagecraft and the limitless possibilities of imagination to tell the story of a nameless boy who becomes Peter Pan. Peter and the Starcatcher is sponsored by The Ritz-Carlton. peterandthestarcatcher.com
An international hit with more than 500 dazzling 2011 Tony Award-winning costumes, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, plays The Buell Theatre September 3 – 15, 2013. Priscilla features a hit parade of dance-floor favorites including “It’s Raining Men,” “Finally” and “I Will Survive.” This spectacular show tells the uplifting story of a trio of friends on a road trip of a lifetime, who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship in the middle of the Australian outback and end up finding more than they could ever have dreamed.
Raise your voice; SISTER ACT plays The Buell Theatre September 24 – October 6, 2013. SISTER ACT is Broadway’s feel-amazing musical comedy smash. Featuring original music by eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors), Sister Act tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier, a wannabe diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a crime and the cops hide her in the last place anyone would think to look—a convent. Under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own. A sparkling tribute to the universal power of friendship, Sister Act is reason to rejoice!
Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award-winning musical returns at last! EVITA plays The Buell Theatre January 2014. Eva Perón used her beauty and charisma to rise meteorically from the slums of Argentina to the presidential mansion as First Lady. Adored by her people as a champion for the poor, she became one of the most powerful women in the world — while her greed, outsized ambition and fragile health made her one of the most tragic. EVITA tells Eva’s passionate and unforgettable true story, and features some of theater’s most beautiful songs, including “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” “Another Suitcase in Another Hall” and “High Flying, Adored.” Don’t miss the stunning new production, directed by Michael Grandage and choreographed by Rob Ashford.
Million Dollar Quartet, the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, inspired by the electrifying true story of the famed recording session that brought together rock ’n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time, plays The Buell Theatre February 25– March 9, 2014. On December 4, 1956, these four young musicians were gathered together by Sam Phillips, the “Father of Rock ’n’ Roll” at Sun Records in Memphis for what would be one of the greatest jam sessions of all time. Million Dollar Quartet brings that legendary night to life with an irresistible tale of broken promises, secrets, betrayal and celebrations featuring timeless hits including “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “That’s All Right,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “I Walk the Line,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Matchbox,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Hound Dog” and more. This thrilling musical brings you inside the recording studio with four major talents who came together as a red-hot rock ’n’ roll band for one unforgettable night. Don’t miss your chance to be a fly on the wall of fame… at Million Dollar Quartet! milliondollarquartetlive.com
ONCE, Broadway’s 2012 Tony Award-winning best musical plays The Buell Theatre April/May 2014. Based on the Academy Award-winning film, it tells the story of an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant drawn together by their shared love of music. Over the course of one fateful week, their unexpected friendship and collaboration evolves into a powerful but complicated romance, heightened by the raw emotion of the songs they create together. Brought to the stage by an award-winning team of visionary artists and featuring an ensemble cast of gifted actor/musicians, once is a musical celebration of life and love: thrilling in its originality, daring in its honesty…and unforgettable in every way. oncemusical.com
DCA subscribers receive priority access to added attractions in 2013/14 prior to the general public. Additional subscriber benefits include preferred seating, free ticket exchanges and various special offers throughout the season. Season subscribers can purchase tickets to these added attractions NOW: White Christmas (Nov 23-Dec 24, 2012), Chicago (March 19-24, 2013), Spamalot (March 28-30, 2013), Blue Man Group (April 12-21, 2013), Mary Poppins (May 1-5, 2013)and Les MisÉrables (May 22-26, 2013).
Denver Center Attractions 2013/14 subscription packages start at just eight easy payments of $35.63. Restrictions apply. To purchase a subscription, please call Denver Center Ticket Services: 303.893.4100 or 800.641.1222, or visit the ticket office located in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex at Speer & Arapahoe. Subscription packages also can be purchased online at www.denvercenter.org/bwaysubs. Single tickets are not available at this time.
The Denver Center Attractions 2013/14 season is generously sponsored by United Airlines and Vectra Bank. Media sponsorship for Denver Center Attractions is provided by The Denver Post and CBS4. Denver Center Attractions is supported in part by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.
The musical The Addams Family is inspired by the creations of the legendary American cartoonist Charles Addams, who lived from 1912 until 1988. In 1933, when he was just 21, his work was published in The New Yorker, and over the course of nearly six decades, he became one of the magazine’s most cherished contributors.
Bizarre, macabre and weird are all words that have been used to describe Charles Addams’ cartoons. Yet adjectives such as charming, enchanting and tender can just as accurately be employed to depict the same body of work, as well as the man himself. His unique style and wonderfully crafted cartoons enabled his work to transcend such dichotomies for his millions of fans worldwide.
Facts & Figures
- 35 million / Disney’s Beauty and the Beast has become an international sensation, playing to more than 35 million people
- 21 countries / The production has been mounted worldwide in 21 countries
- 13 years / The musical ran for more than 13 years on Broadway
- 8th/ Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is the 8th longest running musical in Broadway history
- 59 people / The traveling company comprises 30 cast, 2 parents, 12 crew, 11 musicians, 2 merchandise and 2 management personnel.
- 3,300 and 30 / More than 3,300 people were auditioned to select the cast of 30
- 6 / 1 / 6 / The musical score of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast contains 6 beloved songs from the Academy Award-nominated feature film, one song cut from the film that has been restored for the musical, and 6 original songs written for the musical.
- 160 squares / There are 160 needle point squares that make up the bottom of the town drop.
- The tavern building needle point scrim panel is a very traditional Latvian pattern that is called a “star.” This pattern is also repeated in Gaston’s pub and the town pieces.
- There is a hidden “Mickey” in the tavern set drop … see if you can spot it!
- 81 wigs / The production uses 81 wigs
- 580 costume pieces / The Production uses 580 costume pieces, including some pieces from the original Broadway costumes.
- 67 LED lights on the magic mirror
- 36 mugs in Gaston’s tavern
- 350 feet of streamers dispatched over the audience during “Be Our Guest”
- 450 lbs / The “Star drop” – curtain with lights to create starry sky, weighs 450 lbs
- 1,700 lbs / The West Wing set piece weighs about 1,700 lbs
- 1 ton / The plate rail in Be Our Guest weighs almost 1 ton
ON THE ROAD
- 5 trucks / The physical production (sets, costumes, props) travels from city to city in 5, 18-wheel 53-foot tractor trailer trucks.
- 2 buses / The cast and crew travel on 2 buses.
- 37,664.9 miles / By the end of December 2010, the cast and crew will have logged 37,664.9 miles which is equivalent to crossing the US more than 11 times (from coast to coast)! And enough to have circled the globe one and a half times!
- 238 square inches / Amountof grilling space on the grill for the crew bus; thousands of hot dogs, burgers and steaks will be prepared on the tour.
- 14 bicycles / We travel with 14 mountain and road bikes
Disney’s BEAUTY & THE BEAST plays Denver’s Buell Theatre through March 18. For tickets or information, contact us at 303.893.4100.
Currently in its 9th year on Broadway, WICKED’s North American and international companies have cumulatively grossed $2.5 billion and have been seen by over 30 million people worldwide.
The New York Times called WICKED “Broadway’s biggest blockbuster” and, more recently, the Times referred to WICKED as “the defining musical of the decade.”
Over 6 million people have seen WICKED on Broadway since it began performances in the fall of 2003.
The Broadway production of WICKED has broken the house record at the Gershwin Theatre twenty (20) times during the course of its run. It regularly grosses in excess of $1.7 million each week.
For the week ending January 2, 2011, the Broadway production of WICKED grossed $2,228,235, the highest one-week box office take in Broadway history.
2011 was the record-breaking 8th consecutive year in which WICKED is Broadway’s highest grossing show.
WICKED has grossed a combined total of $1.8 billion for its North American companies.
Current advance sales for the Broadway production of WICKED are approximately $22 million in the show’s ninth year on Broadway. It is unprecedented for a show to maintain that level of advance sales so long after its initial debut.
On national tour (which has been traveling across North America for 490 weeks), nearly 10 million people have seen WICKED. There are currently two North American touring companies.
Since it began in March 2005, the national tour of WICKED has broken the house record in every single city in which it’s played.
The three North American companies of WICKED cumulatively gross in excess of $4.8 million per week.
WICKED has won 35 major awards, including the Grammy Award, the Olivier Award, three Tony Awards and six Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical.
In November 2006, the Grammy Award winning (Best Musical Show Album) original cast recording of WICKED was certified “Platinum” by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and it now has sales of over 2 million copies in print (“Double Platinum”).
The novel “Wicked” by Gregory Maguire, published in 1995, has sold 5 million copies, with 4.5 million of those sold since 2003 when the musical opened. Buoyed by the musical’s success, the novel still appears on bestseller lists 16 years after its initial publication.
WICKED returns to Denver’s Buell Theatre for its fourth engagement, running April 11-May 20, 2012
By Brendan Lemon
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, now embarked on a lavish and visually re-imagined new tour presented by NETworks, is one of best-loved of all musicals. It’s easy to understand why. Its classic story — of a beautiful village girl, Belle, who is first repelled by, then attracted to a gruff yet big-hearted Beast —is indeed, as one of the show’s numbers has it, “a tale as old as time.” The songs (music by Alan Menken; lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice) are almost criminally tuneful. And the musical’s appeal crosses age barriers: truly, “Beauty” is an experience that can be enjoyed by child and adult alike.
Many of the songs – the charming “Belle,” the infectious “Something There,” and the spectacular hospitality anthem “Be Our Guest” – were written for the 1991 animated movie, which was the first – and until 2010, the only – animated film ever to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. The movie’s status not just in cinematic history but in critical lore was cemented when the New York Times’ then-theater critic Frank Rich, called Beauty and the Beast the best musical of the year – in any format.
Disney took the cue, and soon started things rolling for the live adaptation. Several new songs, as well as the book by Linda Woolverton, were written for the stage version, which opened on Broadway at the Palace Theater on April 18, 1994, and went on to become the seventh-longest running production in Broadway history.
Rob Roth, who directed the Broadway premiere and is back at the helm for the new tour, says that the “story of the show is about seeing past the exterior of a person and into his or her heart.” He says that conveying that feeling is key to any production of “Beauty.” What’s fresh about the tour, he adds, is not just the timeless moral but a new approach to the visuals.
“So few directors have the opportunity to work on a show several years later in a new form,” Roth says. “I’m lucky that way, and I’m also lucky because I never get bored with ‘Beauty.’”
Stan Meyer, the scenic designer both for the 1994 Broadway version and for the new production, says that the former staging was, essentially, the 1991 movie made live. The latter is “a departure from that.” He explains: “We did a lot of research that involved eastern-European wood carving and gilded manuscripts. The new version is an illuminated manuscript come to life.”
Audiences will delight in the eye-popping storybook shapes and colors that Meyer and the other original-version designers (Ann Hould-Ward: costumes; Natasha Katz: lighting) have re-imagined. The production’s look, adds Meyer, “is more evocative of whimsy and very, very romantic.”
DIsney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST plays Denver, CO (Buell Theatre) March 14-18, 2012. Tickets: 303.893.4100, 800.641.1222, Groups 10+ 303.446.4892, TTY 303.893.9582