The Denver Center for the Performing Arts Blog

Posts tagged Kent Thompson

Page to Stage to Video: ‘Shadowlands’ director and stars at Tattered Cover

The Denver Center Theatre Company’s “Shadowlands” explores “Narnia” creator C.S. Lewis’ spiritual crisis, and how it affected his writing canon after finally experiencing - and losing - romantic love late in life. This month’s “Page to Stage” forum at the Tattered Cover Book Store featured actors Graeme Malcolm and Kathleen McCall, along with director Christy Montour-Larson. The panelists tackled the origin of love, the commonality of grief — and remarkable 10-year-old castmate Charlie Korman. “Most therapies start out by saying, ‘You are not alone,’ ” Malcolm told host John Moore, former Denver Post theatre critic and now an associate director for the Denver Center. Video by David Lenk.

Join us next at noon on Tuesday, May 6, at the Bonfils Tattered Cover Book Store (2526 Colfax Ave.), when Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson and special guests discuss all that went into selecting the newly announced 2014-15 season. It’s free.

"Shadowlands" plays through April 27 in the Space Theatre at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. For information, call 303-893-4100 or go to the Denver Center’s web site.

New Denver Center season: The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Christopher Durang, Lord Of The Flies and more

We asked members of the Denver Center Theatre Company family to help introduce the 2014-15 season. Our guests include Kent Thompson, Bruce Sevy, Christy Montour-Larson, Sam Gregory, Charlie Miller, Emily Tarquin, Charlie Korman and Brianna Firestone. Video by John Moore.

By John Moore and Alexandra Griesmer

The Denver Center Theatre Company’s 2014-15 season, which includes the previously announced launching of the newly re-imagined classic Broadway musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown, also includes Lord of the Flies and the company’s first staging of a Christopher Durang play in its 36-year history, it was announced today.

The eight-show season, which opens Sept. 26, is entirely new to Denver audiences. It includes the world premieres of Appoggiatura, the tender story of an unusual American family that travels to Venice to become lost … and found, written by Pulitzer Prize-nominated James Still; and Benediction, which will complete Kent Haruf’s Plainsong trilogy. That’s a series of homespun stories set in the small fictional ranching town of Holt, Colorado, and adapted for the stage by Eric Schmiedl. Both plays were introduced to Denver audiences with staged readings at the Denver Center’s recent Colorado New Play Summit in February.

Scenesters video: Denver Center brings teen playwrights’ words to life

This video follows the three youth playwriting finalists from rehearsal to  their public readings by professional local actors at the recent Colorado New Play Summit. Video by John Moore.

By John Moore and Alexandra Griesmer

The first phase of the Denver Center’s first Regional Youth Playwriting Workshop and Competition culminated at the Colorado New Play Summit with professionally staged readings of the three finalists’ one-act plays. The staff of the Denver Center’s Education Department has now selected Laurain Park’s One-Sided Fish to be fully staged by Denver Center Theatre Academy students. There will be two performances on June 27 at the Conservatory Theatre. 

"Probably most people will have some kind of regret about their school days, and this story is about some of those regrets," said Park, a Korean-born freshman at the Alexander Dawson School in Lafayette. She modestly describes her play as a plain story that explores the thoughts and feelings of a shy girl learning about both assimilation and first love.

Page to Stage video highlights: Kent Thompson and John Moore

Check out these brief video highlights from John Moore’s wide-ranging, hour-long conversation with Denver Center Theatre Company Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson, recorded  on Feb. 11 as part of the Denver Center’s monthly Page to Stage discussions held at the Tattered Cover Bookstore on East Colfax Avenue.

The pair talk about the recent Colorado New Play Summit, the challenges Thompson faces in crafting his company’s upcoming  2014-15 season (expected to be announced on or around March 4), how the ongoing erosion of the mainstream media is affecting arts organizations like the Denver Center, and all manner of things “Hamlet.” Thompson directed the mainstage production that runs through Sunday, Feb. 23, at the Stage Theatre.

Summit Spotlight: ‘Benediction’

By John Moore

Set in the high plains of Eastern Colorado, Benediction completes the trilogy of playwright Eric Schmiedl’s stage adaptations of the popular novels by Kent Haruf.

Following Plainsong and Eventide, Benediction introduces audiences to new characters at the crossroads in the fictional town of Holt. Among them are dying old man who dreams of a reconciliation with a son he violently chased out of town more than 30 years before; a young orphan girl who is befriended by an elderly woman and her daughter; and a renegade big-city teacher who has been banished to Holt with his unhappy family.

While playing with the narrative form — Schmiedl largely sets aside the direct-address that marked his first two stage productions — there is something deeply familiar and resonating with the continuation of this Denver Center tradition. Though the characters are knew, the feeling is familiar.

Director Kent Thompson, whose commitment to bringing Haruf’s works to the stage dates back to 2006, describes Benediction as “an Our Town for our times.” 

Here’s our inside look at the making of this epic new work that rounds out the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit.

Featured in this video are Schmiedl and a cast of more than 15, including Mile Hartman, Joyce Cohen, Brian Shea, Lynnda Ferguson, Billie McBride, Tara Falk, Michael Santo and Tricia Moreland.

Favorite line: Lorraine: “You are not afraid … to be alone with him?”

Mary: “Oh, honey. This is my husband. I’ve been with this man most of my life. I know him better than I know anybody else in the world. There’s nothing here to scare me.”

Video by John Moore.

Please enjoy our other 2014 Summit Spotlight videos:

The Comparables

Appoggiatura

Zenith

Victory Jones and the Incredible One Woman Band

Summit Spotlight: ‘Zenith’

By John Moore

It seems hardly a day goes by when the media isn’t calling our attention  to yet another unspeakable act done by someone onto someone else … somewhere. Most often, such headline-grabbing crimes serve only to make us search in vain for an understanding of reprehensible human behavior. Kirsten Greenidge’s Zenith humanizes one such shocking crime, and explores the complex reasons why we do what we do.

Greenidge, who wrote “Zenith” as a Denver Center commission, was drawn to the real-life story of a woman who drove nearly 2 miles down the wrong way of a highway, causing a head-on collision that killed eight people, including herself and her children. 

"I started to think abut piecing together that life, and what happened, and why someone would decide to do that," Greenidge said. "No one knows exactly what went wrong, but it seems like it was a conscious decision on some level."

She added, however: “This is not her story. I just borrowed from that and put my own Kirsten Greenidge spin on it.”

Here’s our inside look at the making of this gripping new work that debuts with readings at the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit Feb. 7-9, 2014. Featured are Greenidge and actors April Matthis, Gabra Zackman, Candy Brown, Jason Bowen, Tony Todd and Allison Watrous.

Favorite line: “Glug, glug. That’s you drinking the Kool-Aid. That’s you dying the slow death of the mini-van.”

Video by John Moore.

Please enjoy our other 2014 Summit Spotlight videos:

The Comparables

Appoggiatura

Summit Spotlight: ‘Appoggiatura’

By John Moore

James Still’s Appoggiatura is a romantic fantasy in which an atypical American family travels to Venice and comes face-to-face with their pasts … and futures. It’s the story of three Americans with broken hearts who go Venice to get lost … and found.

Each is coping with loss. An older man and woman grieve the man they both loved; a granddaughter contemplates a wedding she no longer wants. They become lost in Venice, where, unbounded by time and with the help of a bumbling but sweet travel guide and a violin-playing Vivaldi, they discover how to heal.

Appoggiatura is a musical term. We are told it means to “lean in” - that note that happens right before a note resolves. “The feel of the play is that we are on the verge of resolving,” says Director Risa Brainin. Playwright James Still is a three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee.

Here’s our inside look at the making of this compelling new work that debuts with readings at the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit Feb. 7-9, 2014. Featured are director Brainin with actors Judith-Marie Bergen, Irwin Appel, Lenne Klingaman, Nick Mills, Julian Remulla,  Mehry Eslaminina and Randy Moore.

Favorite line:

"You knew Jack?"

"Yes, he was your son."

"And my moon … and my stars … and my lilacs."

Video by John Moore.

Please enjoy our other spotlight videos:

"The Comparables"

Summit Soliloquies, Day 8: Kirsten Greenidge

By John Moore

Today, we continue “Summit Soliloquies,” our video series leading up to the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit. Here, playwrights past and present talk to you about writing, the Denver Center, the Summit and more.

Day 8: Kirsten Greenidge, whose “Zenith” will be read at 3:30 p.m. today (Friday, Feb. 7) in the Ricketson Theatre. It’s about a wife and mother  who buys fully into the American Dream until, for reasons that escape her loved ones, she throws it all violently away.

Summit Soliloquies, Day 7: Eric Schmiedl

By John Moore

Today, we continue “Summit Soliloquies,” a week-long video series leading up to the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit. Here, playwrights past and present talk to you about writing, the Denver Center, the Summit and more.

Part 7: Eric Schmiedl, whose “Plainsong Trilogy” culminates with his adaptation of acclaimed novelist Kent Haruf’s “Benediction,” which will be read at the 2014 Summit at noon on Sunday, Feb. 9 in the Space Theatre.

Summit soliloquies, Day 6: Matthew Lopez

By John Moore

Today, we continue “Summit Soliloquies,” a week-long video series leading up to the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit. Here, playwrights past and present talk to you about writing, the Denver Center, the Summit and more.

Part 6: Matthew Lopez, whose “The Legend of Georgia McBride” was read at the 2013 Summit and is now being fully produced through Feb. 23. “It’s a model that should be replicated around the country,” Lopez tells us.

Video: Summit Soliloquies, Day 3: Caridad Svich

By John Moore

Today, we continue “Summit Soliloquies,” a week-long video series leading up to the upcoming 2014 Colorado New Play Summit. Here, playwrights past and present talk to you about writing, the Denver Center, the Summit and more.

Part 3: Caridad Svich, whose “The House of the Spirits” was read at the 2010 Summit and fully produced in 2011. It was the first major English-language staging of Isabel Allende’s best-selling novel. “It was a glorious and unique time in my writing life,” Svich tells us.

Photos: Opening Night of ‘Hamlet’

image

Hamlet, played by Aubrey Deeker, and director Kent Thompson.

By John Moore

Thursday night was the opening performance of the Denver Center Theatre Company’s “Hamlet,” set here in the environs of a crumbling World War I, where carnage both human and structural is strewn everywhere.

The cast features Aubrey Deeker as Hamlet, Amelia Pedlow as Ophilia, Kathleen McCall as Gertrude, Peter Simon Hilton as Claudius, John Hutton as King Hamlet’s Ghost, Shawn Fagan as Horatio, Jacob H. Knoll as Laertes, and a company that includes Anthony Bianco, Douglas Harmsen, Jeffrey Roark, Philip Pleasants, Benjamin Bonenfant, Michael Keyloun, Rodney Lizcaino, Stephanie Cozart, James O’Hagan-Murphy and Mackenzie Paulsen. The director is Kent Thompson.

"Hamlet" plays through Feb. 23 in the Stage Theatre. Call 303-893-4100 or click here for ticket information. All photos by John Moore.

Video: Summit Soliloquies, Day 2: Jason Grote

By John Moore

Today, we continue “Summit Soliloquies,” a week-long video series leading up to the upcoming 2014 Colorado New Play Summit. Here, playwrights past and present will talk to you about writing, the Denver Center, the Summit and more.

Part 2: Jason Grote, whose “Arabian Nights”-infused ‘1001’ was read at the 2006 Summit, fully produced in 2007 and later staged around the country. Grote, who now writes for “Mad Men,” talks about the Denver Center’s impact on his career.

The 2014 Summit is Feb. 7-9, 2014, in the Jones Theatre. For ticket information, click here. Video by John Moore.

Video series: Summit Soliloquies, Day 1: James Still, “Appoggiatura”

By John Moore

Today, we debut “Summit Soliloquies,” a week-long video series leading up to the upcoming 2014 Colorado New Play Summit where playwrights past and present will talk to you about writing, the Denver Center, the Summit and more.

Part 1: Three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee James Still, whose “Appoggiatura” is a scheduled 2014 reading for the Feb. 7-9 Summit.

Meet the cast video series: Hamlet, Aubrey Deeker

In this ongoing series, we briefly introduce you to the actors performing in our plays in a fun way. Episode 52: Meet Aubrey Deeker, a small-town “Preacher’s Kid” from Missouri who has grown up to play the title role in the Denver Center Theatre Company’s “Hamlet.” It will be performed through Feb. 23 in the Stage Theatre. Call 303-893-4100 or go to www.denvercenter.org. Video by John Moore. Run time: 2 minutes.

Coming next in our “Meet the Cast” video series: Meet Jacob H. Knoll, who plays Laertes in “Hamlet.”

Previous episodes: