Arvada Center Blog

Arvada Center spring musical is an iconic rock opera!


Jesus and his apostles are in the building until Easter – and the music they’re singing comes straight from the 1970’s! Jesus Christ Superstar opens Friday, March 24 and runs until April 16! Watch a sneak peek in the video below. Tickets are on sale now!

Sensational or sacrilegious – and definitely controversial – Jesus Christ Superstar centers on the character of Jesus Christ as a social and political rebel. Filled with iconic music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, the musical is loosely based on the Gospels’ accounts of the last week of Jesus’s life. Adapted from a rock opera concept album, Jesus Christ Superstar was nominated for 5 Tony Awards when it opened on Broadway in 1971.


All photos: M. Gale Photography 2017

Attend Talk Backs with the director, designers and members of the cast after three performances: Tuesday, March 28, Thursday, April 6 and Saturday, April 15 after the evening performances.

And stay after select performances for social Happy Hours with the cast! The bar will be open and snacks will be provided. Happy Hours will be held  Friday, March 31 after the 7:30 p.m. performance, Sunday, April 9 after the 2 p.m. performance and Wednesday, April 12 after the 1 p.m. performance.


The cast features Billy Lewis, Jr. in the lead role of Jesus of Nazareth. He was last seen as Mason McCarthy on the FOX television show Glee, as well as Claude in the national tour of Hair.


Additionally, the cast features Matt LaFontaine (Judas Iscariot), Jenna Bainbridge (Mary Magdalene), Stephen Day (Caiaphas), Joe Callahan (Annas), Markus Warren (Pontius Pilate) and Wayne Kennedy (King Herod).

The ensemble includes Adam Estes, Aaron M. Davidson, Michael Bouchard, Reace Daniel, James Francis, Barret Harper, Tyler Nielson, Damon Guerrasio, Drew Horwitz, Brett Ambler, Rob Janzen, Jeremy Rill, Norrell Moore, Satya Chavez, Sheryl McCallum, Rae Leigh Case, Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, Sarah Rex and Piper Arpan.





Bus Stop opens Friday!


The Arvada Center’s Black Box repertory theatre series kicks off this weekend! Bus Stop, directed by Allison Watrous, opens this Friday.


Jenna Moll Reyes as Elma and Emily Van Fleet as Cherie. Matt Gale Photography 2017

Bus Stop is written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright William Inge, known for his portraits of small-town life in America’s heartland. Bus Stop is a drama infused with comedy and honesty, and was nominated for four Tony Awards when it opened in 1955.


Geoffrey Kent as Will and Josh Robinson as Carl


The play takes place inside a street-corner restaurant in a small Kansas town after a blizzard has forced an inter-state bus is forced to stop for the night. The restaurant fills up with an eclectic cast of characters, each bringing their personalities and problems with them as they seek refuge.


Josh Robinson as Carl and Kate Gleason as Grace

Central to the story is Bo, a boastful but innocent cowboy who plans to get Cherie to the altar, kicking and screaming if necessary. But Cherie, a worldly nightclub singer, has plans of her own and they don’t include Bo! As the night goes on, these snowbound strangers share their secrets and dreams. William Inge mixes moments of uproarious comedy and heartbreaking tenderness to explore the many nuances of love and longing.


Sean Scrutchins as Bo

Bus Stop marks the launch of the Arvada Center’s spring repertory theatre season. It’s presented by members of the Center’s new ensemble company of actors, directors, technical artists and designers, and performed as part of the Center’s three-play repertory rotation. Play the video below to meet the actors!


Bus Stop Cast

Emily Van Fleet – Cherie

Sean Scrutchins – Bo

Sam Gregory – Dr. Lyman

KIate Gleason – Grace

Jenna Moll Reyes – Elma

Michael Morgan – Virgil

Geoffrey Kent – Will

Josh Robinson – Carl


Sam Gregory as Dr. Lyman

In addition to director Allison Watrous, the creative team includes Clare Henkel (Costume Design), Jason Ducat (Sound Design), Brian Mallgrave (Scenic Design), Shannon McKinney (Lighting Design) and Megan O’Connor (Wig Design). The Artistic Director of Plays is Lynne Collins.


Sean Scrutchins as Bo and Michael Morgan as Virgil

Bus Stop opens Friday and runs until April 15. Tickets for opening night are almost sold out – but you can come see it opening weekend!

Visit our website for information on upcoming Black Box productions The Drowning Girls and Waiting for Godot!

Arvada Center Bus Stop Cast M. Gale Photography 2017

A Year With Frog and Toad opens today!


The cast of the Arvada Center’s spring children’s theatre production are ready to hop, slither, crawl and fly their way across stage! A Year With Frog and Toad, an adaption of the beloved children’s stories by Arnold Lobel, opens today.


Brandon Bill (Frog) and Matt LaFontaine (Toad) – all photos M. Gale Photography 2017

The musical features bright, intricate costumes and an upbeat and humorous score. It’s perfect for kids of all ages.

Arnold Lobel’s daughter Adrianne Lobel commissioned a musical based on her father’s treasured characters, a friendly Frog and uptight Toad. It was written by a pair of brothers, Robert and Willie Reale, and Adrianne Lobel designed the original set based on her father’s art.


Maggie Tisdale, Carter Smith, Lindsay Weidig, Ben Griffin and Melissa Morris (left to right)

The musical broke new ground by bringing professional children’s theatre to Broadway and was nominated for 3 Tony Awards – including Best Musical.

A Year With Frog and Toad follows the woodland adventures of two amphibious friends, a worrywart toad, and a perky frog, with their assorted colorful hopping, crawling and flying companions, over the course of a year.


Lindsay Weidig, Carter Smith, Maggie Tisdale, Ben Griffin and Melissa Morris

The two best friends celebrate and rejoice in their differences that make them unique and special. Part vaudeville, part make-believe, all charm, A Year With Frog And Toad tells the story of a friendship that endures, weathering all seasons.


Brandon Bill (Frog) and Matt LaFontaine (Toad)

The jazzy, upbeat score of A Year with Frog and Toad bubbles with melody and wit, making it an inventive, exuberant and enchanting musical for the whole family. A Year With Frog and Toad opened February 2, and it runs until May 19. For details on performance dates and to purchase tickets, visit our website.

Accessibility is important to our children’s theatre program. Select performances of A Year With Frog and Toad will be Audio Described for the sight impaired, and Shadow performed for the hearing impaired. Shadow – interpreted theatre utilizes specially trained American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters to perform as “shadows” on stage alongside actors.


A Year With Frog and Toad Cast

Brandon Bill – Frog
Matt LaFontaine – Toad
Melissa Morris – Mouse, Ensemble, Lady Bird, Squirrel, Mole
Ben Griffin – Lizard, Ensemble, Man Bird, Squirrel, Mole
Lindsay Weidig – Ensemble, Lady Bird, Squirrel, Mole
Maggie Tisdale – Turtle, Ensemble, Lady Bird, Squirrel, Mole
Carter Smith – Snail, Man Bird, Mole

The music is directed by David and Julie Payne, with musical direction by Keith Ewer and choreography by Piper Arpan. The Arvada Center Artistic Producer is Rod A. Lansberry.


Marlowe Awards recognize Sister Act, Tartuffe

Every year, local theatre reviewer David Marlowe presents his picks for the best performances and technical achievements in the Denver theatre community. The 2016 Marlowe Awards have been announced, and Arvada Center artists and productions staff won four of them! Click here to read the complete list of awards, and congrats everyone!


Best Supporting Actress – Jessica Austgen, Tartuffe


Matt Gale Photography

Outstanding Sound Design – Morgan McCauley, Tartuffe


Matt Gale Photography

Choreography – Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, Sister Act


P. Switzer Photography

Best Production of a Play – Tartuffe


Matt Gale Photography

2016 True West Awards recognize Center actors & designers!

The Arvada Center has the opportunity to work with so many talented members of the Colorado theatre community every year – and this year, six actors and one designer involved in our productions were recognized in the 2016 True West Awards! Congrats to these talented people – look for their work in upcoming Arvada Center productions in 2017.

Michael Morgan


Michael Morgan starred in the Arvada Center’s fall Black Box production of Tartuffe. He’s a member of the Center’s Black Box Repertory company and will be appearing in Bus Stop, which opens in February. Artistic Director of Plays Lynne Collins calls him an “actor’s actor — You watch him and you can’t help but go away thinking you really know whatever guy he’s playing. He’s just very relatable and accessible to an audience.”


Leslie O’Carroll and Steve Wilson


The husband and wife duo took on an interesting task this year. O’Carroll appeared as Madame Pernelle in Tartuffe, but almost turned down the role because of a schedule conflict until Lynne Collins suggested her husband, Steve Wilson, step in. The actor swap fit perfectly into Moliere’s comedic masterpiece, as a husband stepped into his wife’s shoes.


Jake Mendes


New to the Arvada Center stage, Jake Mendes took on the role of Simon Bright in the Center’s world premiere musical I’ll Be Home for Christmas. But theatregoers may have seen him elsewhere – even if they didn’t recognize him. He also appeared in Little Shop of Horrors at Miner’s Alley Playhouse, and as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in StageDoor Theatre’s Rocky Horror Picture Show. 


Diana Ben-Kiki


If you saw Tartuffe, you saw Diana Ben-Kiki’s handiwork firsthand on the heads of the actors onstage. The Denver Center’s “Wig Goddess” produced over 130 heads of hair this year, including productions of Sweeny Todd, Frankenstein and A Christmas Carol as well as Tartuffe. 


Sharon Kay White


Sharon Kay White brought her voice and comedic talents to two Arvada Center productions this year – she appeared as Sister Mary Patrick in the fall musical Sister Act and belting variety-show star Carol Marie in  I’ll Be Home for Christmas. She was one of a few actors involved in the world premiere musical from its first staged reading.


Sam Gregory


Alongside Michael Morgan, Sam Gregory’s hilarious take on Tartuffe‘s hapless patriarch Orgon had audiences laughing. Another repertory company member, Gregory will appear in two upcoming Black Box productions in 2017. He plays Dr. Lyman in Bus Stop, and stars as Vladimir in Waiting for Godot, opening in April.