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.
The set utilizes 25 line sets, 20 chain motors, and more than 10,000 pounds of stage weight.
It takes more than 60 people on stage and off to run each performance.
The Electrics Department uses 6 tanks of liquid carbon dioxide per week to create the low-ground fog effect and uses 8 fire extinguishers per week for the Feet of God “blast off” effect.
The orchestra uses a Spama-horn, an instrument specially developed for and used only in Spamalot.
There are more than 75 wigs (including facial hair) in the show, all hand-tied and made of human hair, yak hair, and synthetics supplied from New York, California, and London.
The mud make-up is a formula specially designed for Spamalot.
The poorest peasants’ costumes in the show are actually made of raw silk.
3 feet of “blood” has to be ironed prior to each performance.
There are over 100 undergarments in the show, including 30 pairs of men’s fishnets and 56 cod pieces.
The Lady of the Lake’s costumes are all comprised of hand-strung glass beads.
The costumes are not only made of a wide variety of fabrics, but many are made of molded ABS plastics, and even nuts and bolts. You are as likely to see a costumer with power tools as you are a sewing machine.
It’s a guarantee that one knight will lose their head every night.
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.
Abagnale’s adventures were immortalized, and somewhat fictionalized, in Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film Catch Me If You Can, with Leonardo DiCaprio starring as the young con man and Tom Hanks playing the FBI agent who pursued him. The movie, based on a ghost-written autobiography, inspired a 2011 Broadway musical of the same name – score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, book by Terrence McNally, direction by Jack O’Brien and choreography by Jerry Mitchell – which is now touring the country.
It’s easy to understand why great storytellers have been attracted to this period in Abagnale’s life. His capers were colorful, improbable, glamorous, ingenious and exciting. With each chase, with each con, there also was the element of suspense: Would he get away with it? How would he get away with it? It’s a tale that practically begged to be told on screen and on stage.
Abagnale’s life on the lam is the most entertaining part of his story – but it’s not the best part of his story. It may not even be the most remarkable part of his story. What Abagnale has done since leaving behind his life of crime is both mind-boggling and inspiring. He has used his knowledge as a counterfeiter and scam artist to stop criminals and protect law-abiding citizens, initially working with the FBI – which was part of his parole agreement – and then by developing a host of fraud prevention programs that are used by more than 14,000 financial institutions, corporations and law enforcement agencies. “Those are the amazing things to me about my life,” he says, “not what I did so many years ago.”
He didn’t set out to be a con artist when he ran away from home to New York City following his parents’ divorce. “It started out as survival,” he says. “I was 16 and tried to get jobs working in a store, like a delivery boy, and I realized they weren’t going to pay me anything. I knew I looked older, and I thought that if I lied about my age, if people thought I was ten years older, they’d pay me more.”
But as the film and musical indicate, Abagnale was resourceful and very smart, and he began to figure out ways – none of them legal – to make great sums of money, more than he ever dreamed. “I’ve always said that the two reasons for my success were that I was very creative and very observant,” he says. “I saw things that no one paid attention to. I was able to look at things and figure out ways around them. I think I got away with a lot of things because I was an adolescent; I had no fear of being caught. And like most adolescents, I wasn’t thinking about the consequences.”
He didn’t have nearly as much fun as the Frank Abagnale of stage and screen. “It’s a very lonely life,” he says. “Everyone you meet thinks you’re somebody else. I couldn’t confide in anybody. I was this teenage boy out on his own, and I cried myself to sleep many nights. Everyone I associated with thought I was their peer, but they were ten years older than I. So I was constantly having to act like an adult.
“I was also being chased, and I knew I had to stay one step ahead,” he continues. “At one point it became a game between me and the FBI agent as to who was going to outsmart who. But you grow up and mature and you realize you don’t want to live the rest of your life like that. I always knew I’d get caught: I didn’t have it in me to give myself up, but I knew it was a matter of time before they would catch up with me. And there’s great relief when you’re caught because it’s over. When I look back on my life, even knowing where it has brought me, I would never want to have to live that over again.”
Abagnale was 21 years old and living under an assumed name in France when the French police caught him and imprisoned him for six months under horrific conditions. He then spent six months in a Swedish jail, and was subsequently deported to the United States. Before American authorities could take him into custody he ran away again, escaping through the service area of the plane – not by disemboweling a plane’s toilet, as in the movie. “I was desperate, but not that desperate,” he says. He was desperate because he was terrified. “I thought I might go to prison for 20 years or for the rest of my life. Having experienced prison, I got very scared, and that’s why I tried to escape. I had no idea whether American prisons were like French prisons.”
He was eventually caught and sentenced to 12 years in jail. But after four years he was paroled, on the condition that he would use his expertise teaching and working undercover for the FBI. “I didn’t come out of prison saying, ‘I’m a changed person, I will never do this again,’” he says. “The truth is that this was a way to get my freedom. I didn’t know what I would do, or whether I would go straight.”
It was during one of his undercover assignments that Abagnale met Kelly, the woman who would become his wife. “She was working on her master’s degree, writing a paper and doing an internship at this institution where I was undercover,” he says. “I met her under this phony name, and started dating her. On my last day, I took her to the park and said, ‘I would really like to continue to see you, but I have to explain that I’m not this person, this is not what I do for a living. I work for the government and I’ve been here on assignment.’ I broke protocol, which you’re never supposed to do. But she listened to me, and she literally changed my life. She believed in me, she had faith in me, and she married me against the wishes of her parents, who eventually came to love me. She saw something in me that other people probably never saw. She gave me three beautiful children. I am who I am and I am and where I am because of the love of a woman, and the respect three sons have for their father. “
With Kelly in his life, Abagnale’s redemption truly began. When his obligation to the FBI was completed, he was asked to remain on. “I didn’t want to stay on as an employee of the government, because there were things I wanted to do that I’d be restricted from doing, like writing books and educating people about crime,” he says. “I also had a lot of technology ideas that I wanted to develop, but I knew that if I did them while working for the government, the technology would become government property.” So he became a contract employee, working as a consultant and teaching at the FBI Academy – where one of his students was his oldest son, now an FBI agent.
Abagnale works with the FBI to this day, and became lifelong friends with the agent who relentlessly pursued him, Joseph Shea – known as Carl Hanratty in the movie and the musical – who died in 2005. He has his own business, Abagnale & Associates, a security consulting firm, and is considered to be a leading authority in the field. He is a dynamic, much sought-after lecturer, and a self-made millionaire – legitimately. Just as surprising, he serves on the advisory board of Wild Wings International, the philanthropic organization of former Pan Am flight attendants. “Who would have dreamed that?” he says. “Only in America could something like this happen.”
Yet he lives with his past everyday. And although three presidents have offered to pardon him, he has turned them down. “I respectfully declined,” he says, “because I truly believe that a piece of paper cannot excuse my actions. I don’t think it works that way. I made some mistakes in my life and I have to live with them. I know people are fascinated by what I did between the ages of 16 and 21. But what amazes me is where my life went when I came out of prison. I try to do the right thing, and I hope that in the end I’ll be judged for that.”
Catch Me if You Can plays Denver’s Buell Theatre Feb 26-March 10. Tickets: 303.893.4100.
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.
Memphishas 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.
“That was the final cherry on top,” says Joe DiPietro, who wrote the book and lyrics for the show. Director Christopher Ashley pointed to another Memphis milestone—the recent release by the Tonner Doll Company of a pair of figurines based on the show’s lead characters, Felicia and Huey—as a personal highlight. “This is my first line of dolls,” Ashley deadpans.
Not that Memphis simply arrived out of the blue to open cold in the glare of Broadway. Instead, its heartening success can be traced back through a long period of gestation and tryouts. The show began in the early 2000s as the brainchild of producer George W. George (son of cartoonist Rube Goldberg, incidentally), whose idea for a musical about the intersection of rock and race in the 1950s was inspired by the real-life stories of Memphis deejay Dewey Phillips and his Cleveland counterpart Alan Freed—white men who helped integrate musical tastes at a time when actual racial integration was making significant if fitful strides.
As soon as DiPietro (best known for the hit Off-Broadway musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change) heard George’s idea, he was hooked.
“It was a story I hadn’t heard before, and one I felt I had to tell,” says DiPietro, who was soon joined by composer David Bryan, the keyboardist from popular 80s pop/rock band Bon Jovi. The true-life stories that inspired the show, though, stood some tweaking en route to the stage.
“God isn’t a great dramatist,” DiPietro quips. “Dewey Phillips was essentially the first shock jock; he talked crazy on the radio like no one had before. And he was the first guy to play rhythm and blues on the radio at a time when it was unheard of, even dangerous to an extent.”
So far so good—but Phillips also “was a big drinker. He had a very dark life and a very early rock’n’roll death. We wanted to tell a story with a broader scope—an epic story.”
In a bid to simultaneously soften some of the character’s edges and heighten the significance of his boundary-breaking career, DiPietro created Huey Calhoun, a high-spirited hillbilly deejay in love with African-American music—and, before long, an actual African-American musician, in the person of singer Felicia Farrell. This across-the-tracks romance transpires at a time when anti-miscegenation is not only still the letter of the law, but very much the spirit of the majority white population as well.
“That gave us a very human hook for our story,” DiPietro says, fully conceding that in this aspect he borrowed a page from some very non-rock’n’roll forebears. “Rodgers & Hammerstein also placed their stories in dramatic times and put a big love story in the center.”
The biggest liberties taken, DiPietro admits, were less in the storytelling than in the music department.
“David interpreted early rock’n’roll through his modern ears,” says DiPietro. “The score is not rockabilly, and there are chord progressions that may not have been happening at the time.” Indeed, Bryan’s songs evoke a whole range of rock and pop sounds from authentic 1950s rock to Motown soul and even funk.
Director Ashley chimes in, “The clothes are very faithful to the era, and you can’t see a prop on stage that isn’t faithful to the time. But musically we really did decide that in capturing the essence of the music, we wanted to give ourselves permission to use chords and a musical vocabulary that were not strictly from that time.”
DiPietro makes another Rodgers & Hammerstein analogy. “It’s like in The King and I—that’s not actually Eastern music, but a Western interpretation of what it would have sounded like.”
One period norm that couldn’t be fudged was segregation, which meant that the cast size grew a bit along the way, the better to accommodate scenes in which a clear separation between groups of white and black characters was an important story point.
“In the early days of the show’s development, because it was practical, the onstage television scenes had a mixed black and white dance chorus,” says Ashley, referring to scenes involving an “American Bandstand”-style variety show hosted by Huey. It became clear that such corner-cutting wouldn’t do. “It would have been completely unacceptable for black and white people to dance together in that time; a black person touching a white person onscreen would have shut the show down.”
While the show’s vision of racial harmony is ultimately uplifting and forward-looking, in restaging the racial divisions of the time, the creators had to navigate some awkward moments in rehearsal.
“The language you use is very tricky,” says Ashley. “In rehearsal, we played with a lot of different names—including some really offensive ones—for the two groups. We finally settled on ‘Beale Street’ for the black community and ‘Main Street’ for the white community.”
After productions at North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, Massachusetts, and TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, California, in 2003 and 2004, Memphis had a pre-Broadway co-production. This took place at California’s La Jolla Playhouse (2008), where Ashley is the Artistic Director, and at the 5th Avenue Musical Theatre in Seattle (2009).
Though its clear Broadway triumph clearly bucked some of Broadway’s trends toward stars and adaptations, Memphis may in fact have been the beneficiary of a kind of brand recognition, after all. “The title was always Memphis,” DiPietro says. “It’s one of three American cities that when you hear the name you think of music—the others being Nashville and New Orleans.”
Of course, the home of Graceland, Sun Records, and Beale Street blues also happens to be a historic site of America’s civil rights struggle, and the city where that movement’s most iconic warrior was slain. As DiPietro puts it, “A lot of people, when they hear the title, think it’s about Elvis Presley or Martin Luther King Jr.”
For a show about rock and race, those twin expectations aren’t very wide of the mark.
“The musical’s not about either of them,” says Ashley of Memphis’ two fallen Kings. “But it couldn’t have happened without either of them.”
Memphis plays Denver’s Buell Theatre October 9-21, 2012. Tickets: denvercenter.org or 800/641-1222.
Rob Weinert-Kendt is associate editor at American Theatre, and has written about theatre and the arts for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Variety, The Guardian and The San Francisco Chronicle. This article originally appeared in Applause magazine.
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.
Charles Addams is most widely known for his characters that came to be called The Addams Family, a group that evolved into multiple television shows, motion pictures and now this Broadway musical. Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Wednesday, Pugsley, Grandma and Lurch existed in various forms and aspects of Addams’ cartoons dating back to the 1930s but were not actually named by him until the early 1960s, when the television series was created. Surprisingly, The Addams Family characters appear in only a small number of the artist’s several thousand works. The majority of his cartoons are occupied by hundreds of other characters, but there is little doubt that those that come to life on this stage are his most beloved creations.
Over 15 books of his drawings have been published around the world, including the new collection, The Addams Family: An Evilution, the first complete history of The Addams Family, including more than 200 cartoons, many never previously published. The collection also includes Addams’ own incisive character descriptions (originally penned for the benefit of the television show producers) that remind us where these oddly lovable characters came from and, in doing so, offer a lasting tribute to one of America’s greatest humorists.
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