Day 9 Christopher Page-Sanders True West Awards

Component GradientStart is not available in React's context. It is defined in agility, however. Please check React Dev tools for props.

'Christopher Page-Sanders strives for excellence, and he pushes people to become as good as he knows they can be. Every actor he works with learns and grows – and thanks him for it by the end of the process.'

– Betty Hart

By John Moore, Senior Arts Journalist

Choreographer Christopher Page-Sanders not only brought “The Scottsboro Boys” to the attention of the Vintage Theatre. He brought an authenticity to the musical that leaped out from every blood, sweat and tear-filled pore of it.

The Scottsboro Boys. RDG Photography“Christopher is a Black man who is willing to walk in the vulnerability of what it means to be a Black man, which was an essential component to ‘The Scottsboro Boys,’ ” Director Betty Hart said of the choreographer for her deeply impactful, pre-pandemic production.

The so-called “Scottsboro Boys” – a name steeped in its own inherent racism – were nine African American teenagers, ages 12 to 19, wrongly accused of raping two white prostitutes in 1931 Alabama. When the women were spotted by two policemen jumping out of the box car of a train, they got out of their predicament by claiming the young Black men gathered nearby had attacked them. The resulting trials and retrials sparked an international uproar, even as the defendants were forced to spend years battling the courts and enduring the harsh conditions of the Alabama prison system. Their death sentences were eventually overturned, but it would be 15 years before the last of the wrongly convicted men were released or escaped.

It was, simply put, one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in American history, and it helped give rise to the civil-rights movement. And it inspired two landmark Supreme Court decisions: That you can’t have a trial without legal representation, and that you must be judged by a jury of your peers.

The saga was made into an acclaimed Broadway musical in 2010 – three years before the last of the nine was finally, posthumously pardoned. It would be the final collaboration between John Kander and Fred Ebb, the writers of “Cabaret” and “Chicago.”

A married couple's Christmas in 'Wales'

Page-Sanders, originally from St. Louis, is best known in Denver for his work as a member of the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble and as Artistic Director of the NU-World Contemporary Danse Theatre, which he founded with his husband, Bashir Page-Sanders.

He first became known to the local theatre community directing successive Bob Wells musicals for the Littleton Town Hall Arts Center: “Sister Act” and “Ain’t Misbehavin” in 2018 and '19. When it was announced that Hart would be directing “Crowns” at the Vintage Theatre in 2019, Page-Sanders made himself available (and known) to Hart through a Facebook message. It worked.

The next year, Page-Sanders returned the favor when he pitched “The Scottsboro Boys” to Vintage Theatre Artistic Director Bernie Cardell. “He told Bernie, 'You need to get the rights to do this musical, and you need Betty to direct it,’ ” Hart said.

What Page-Sanders brought to “The Scottsboro Boys,” Hart said, was, firstly, “a tremendous amount of information. He is a choreographer who researches the way directors research – and that information fuels everything that he does.”

The musical opened on February 7, three months before the police murder of George Floyd but decades into ongoing injustices against Black Americans that made the current relevance of “The Scottsboro Boys” plain.

“You can’t see what was happening to those men in 1931 without seeing what is happening to Black men today,” Hart said.

The Scottsboro Boys. RDG PhotographyIn the previous year, Elijah McLain had been murdered in Aurora, and the Netflix drama "When They See Us" reminded us that Donald Trump, the current president of the United States, had paid for full-page newspaper ads calling for the death penalty for the five Black teenagers wrongfully accused of raping a Central Park jogger in 1989. Two days before "The Scottsboro Boys" closed, 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in her bed by police officers entering her Kentucky apartment. Since 2017, 59 percent of those shot to death by the police in the United States have been people of color, according to statista.com.  

The "Scottsboro Boys" cast of 13 called for an all-Black ensemble, save for one. And Hart wanted as many African American artists on her creative team as well.

“We could not have done the show that we did without diving into the waters of race and generations of racism," Hart said. "In that sense, Christopher brought something to the production that no white choreographer ever could have.”

'The Family Tree' offers live holiday comedy from safety of home

Despite the pandemic, 2020 has been a breakout year for Page-Sanders. He won the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Award for choreographing “The Scottsboro Boys.” He appeared in the video series “Amplify,” the Arvada Center’s proactive response to the Floyd murder (produced by Hart). In addition to running his own company, he was involved with several projects for Cleo Parker.

And on Friday, Page-Sanders will make his (virtual) debut as a theatrical director when Vintage Theatre starts streaming “From Vintage, With Love.” It’s a feel-good holiday offering conceived, created and directed by Page-Sanders, featuring Randy Chalmers, Elisha Horne, Isa Jane, Traci Kern and longtime Page-Sanders collaborator Mary Louise Lee.

“Christopher Page-Sanders is magic,” Kern said. “He creates such a safe space for you as an artist to explore and be vulnerable and find things inside of you that you didn’t even know you had.”

Kern describes “From Vintage, With Love,” as a staged concert with no dialogue, “but there is a storyline if you watch for it,” she said. “It’s about love and friends and family and dealing with all of the stuff that can come up around the holidays.”

Betty Hart's plan as Guild President: 'Build a bigger tent'

Had COVID not happened, Aurora Fox audiences would be enjoying Page-Sanders' work right now as the choreographer of "Black Nativity." But they can see hints of it in the company's online pivot, titled "The Music of the Black Nativity," a virtual concert event based on the work of Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. It's directed by Kenny Moten and Trent Hines, and features performances by Mosés Brown, Faith Angelise Goins-Simmons, Anna Maria High and Kenny Moten, with special appearances by Nyna Moore and Bashir Page-Sanders. Tickets are on sale at aurorafoxartscenter.org.

That Page-Sanders is one of only a handful of African Americans who have choreographed a theatrical musical in Colorado over the past 20 years (others on that short list including Candy Brown, Janice Guy-Sayles, Cleo Parker Robinson and Lawrence Curry) is one of the Colorado theatre community’s great shames. But Kern is confident we’ll soon be seeing a lot more from Page-Sanders as both a choreographer and director.

“If he’s not completely booked through end of 2021, then we are all missing out on the biggest opportunity ever,” she said.

Hart will be first in line.

“He’s an amazing human being,” she said. “He’s one of the kindest, most compassionate and giving people on the planet. He’s become a brother to me. I will collaborate with him anytime, anywhere.”

The Scottsboro BoysThe real Scottsboroo Nine.

'The Scottsboro Boys' cast

  • Preston Adams
  • Michael Bateman
  • Colette Brown
  • Dwayne Carrington
  • Randy Chalmers
  • Elisha Horne
  • Timothy Kennedy
  • Brandon Metoyer
  • Josiah Peters
  • Michael Peters
  • Christopher Razor
  • Jayvon Rollerson
  • Owen Zitek


  • Written by: David Thompson (book), John Kander and Fred Ebb (music and lyrics)
  • Director: Betty Hart
  • Choreographer: Christopher Page-Sanders
  • Musical Director: Lee Ann Scherlong
  • Production Manager: Biz Schaugaard
  • Dramaturg: Courtney Cauthorn
  • Assistant Director: Abner Genece
  • Scenic Design: Phil Cope
  • Lighting Director: Kevin Taylor
  • Sound Designer: Luke Rahmsdorff-Terry
  • Costume and Properties Designer: Erika Daun
  • Katie Williams: Puppetry
  • Stage Manager: Laura Owsley

Video bonus: Watch Christopher Page-Sanders in ‘Amplify’

Christopher Page-Sanders/At a glance

Bashir and Christopher Page-SandersChristopher Page-Sanders was trained in dance at the Center of Creative Arts (COCA) in St. Louis and the University of Missouri-Kansas City: Conservatory of Music and Dance. He is the Artistic Director of NU-World Contemporary Danse Theatre, which he founded with Bashir Page-Sanders. He has performed with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Hannah Kahn Dance Company, Owen\Cox Dance Group, Wylliams-Henry Contemporary Dance Company, Moraporvida Contemporary Dance Company and the Leah Glenn Dance Theatre, among others. As a choreographer and teacher, he has created concert dance work for: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Davis Contemporary Dance Company, Deeply Rooted’s ECS, COCADance, as well as teaching and lecturing at the Denver School for the Arts, Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center, William & Mary College and the Central Visual & Performing Arts High School. He currently serves as the Modern Dance Director for Park Hill Dance Academy. Locally, he has choreographed theatre productions for Town Hall Arts Center and Vintage Theatre Productions.

(Photo of Bashir and Christopher Page-Sanders by Satwian Watson.)

      Home,Reignite the Arts,Art at Home,Support Arvada Center Artists,Virtual Auction,Donate Now,Donate Now,Corporate Giving,Art Circle,2023-2024 Theatre Season,Renew,Visit Us,View All Events,Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express,Roland Bernier: In Other Words,Word Play,Animal Farm,Cleo Parker Robinson Dance presents Summer Suite,Big Band Royalty,Lola Montejo: After Another After,Floyd D. Tunson: Ascent,Anthony Garcia Sr: Pigment,A Tribute to the Boston Pops,The CJRO presents A Night of Sizzling Soul with Larry Braggs,Pink Martini featuring China Forbes,Carlou D,Pamela Webb: Hand + Hammer,Lauri Lynnxe Murphy: Seeing the Trees For the Forest,Pink Progression: Collaborations,Imprint: Print Educators of Colorado,528.0 Regional Juried Printmaking Exhibition,Wood.Works,Carley Warren: Three Pieces,Viral Influence: Art in the Time of Coronavirus,Brady Smith: (Don’t be embarrassed by) Your Trouble with Living,Melody Epperson: 100 Years + 1,Blurring The Line,Dawes,Melissa Etheridge,Narkita Gold: Black In Denver,Australian Pink Floyd,José González,Art of the State 2022,Into The Woods,Rockley Instrument Sale,Elle King,Madeleine Peyroux In Concert,One Sheet,The River Bride,Fine Art Market,Holiday Pottery Sale,The History of African American Music Part 3,Hazel Miller and the Collective: Christmas with Soul,Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,Colorado Abstract +10: A Survey,Gary Staab: Second Nature,Flora: Scientific Botanical Illustrations of Colorado Plants,Charlotte's Web,Art + Science,Jeffco Schools Foundation High School Art Exhibition,Arts For All Gala,Wendy Kowynia: Following the Thread,Spring Pottery Sale,Teacher Appreciation Concert,A Year With Frog and Toad,Damn Yankees,Bueno: Mark Bueno,Ramón Bonilla: The boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places for me.,Mary Poppins,A Tribute to Chick Corea with Eric Gunnison,Big Band Royalty: Nothin’ But the Blues,Latin Sounds From Legendary Artists,Swing, Swing, Swing: Benny and Beyond ,Denver Gay Men's Chorus: Divas, Icons and Justice Warriors,Big Draw Colorado,Drawn: From The Source,Keb' Mo',Collective Soul,Ben Folds,Lucero,Face Vocal Band,Mozart Under Moonlight,George Thorogood and the Destroyers,Toad the Wet Sprocket and Cracker,A Night at the Movies with the Colorado Symphony,The Denver Brass: In Pursuit of Leisure,Our Town,The Book Club Play,Indigo Girls,Boz Scaggs,The Ladies of Soul,Dining Partners,Amplify,Amplify Performers,Theatre,Upcoming Shows,2023-2024 Theatre Season,Performances for Students,Auditions,Million Dollar Quartet Auditions,The Laramie Project Open Auditions,Holiday Plays,Galleries,Current Exhibitions,Wood.Works Know Before You Go,Gallery Events,Upcoming Exhibitions,Art Sales,Art Submissions,Viral Influence Call for Entry,Big Draw Colorado,Sculpture Field,History Museum,Archive,Education,View All Classes,Summer Camps,Full Day,FAQ,Spring Break Camps,Classes for Kids,Classes for Adults,Ceramics,Front Range Youth Symphony,Dance Academy,Arts Day,Arts Day Outreach,Ageless Adults,Scholarships,Yesterado,Teen Intensive 2021,Yesterado,Field Trips and Outreach,ECE Field Trips,K-5 Field Trips,Middle and High School Field Trips,Outreach Programs,Preschool Partnership Program,Music and Dance,Jeffrey Siegel,Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra,Summer Concerts,AEDA Summer Concerts,Humanities,On Their Shoulders We Stand,Private Event Rentals,Caterers,Vendors,Straight Talk Series ,Straight Talk with Philip Sneed,COVID’s toll on Colorado theatre: 224 productions and counting ,Straight Talk with Lynne Collins,Straight Talk with Rod Lansberry,Straight Talk with Phamaly, Buntport, Colorado Shakes and Rocky Mountain Rep,Straight Talk with Creede Rep, Town Hall, Candlelight and Theatre Company of Lafayette,Straight Talk with Aurora Fox, BDT Stage, Cherry Creek Theatre and Misfits,Straight Talk with Su Teatro, Vintage, Backstage and Counterweight,Straight Talk with Local Theater Company, Theater 29, The Source and Equinox,Straight Talk with the Denver Center, Jesters Dinner Theatre, Glenwood Vaudeville Revue and Germinal Stage-Denver,Actors' union issues safety guidelines for re-opening,Straight Talk with square product, Forge Light, Springs Ensemble Theatre and Coal Creek Theatre of Louisville,Straight Talk with the Fine Arts Center, Miners Alley Playhouse, Dangerous Theatre and Lone Tree Arts Center ,Straight Talk with Lake Dillon Theatre Company, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and Northglenn Arts,Straight Talk with The Catamounts, Bas Bleu and Thingamajig,Straight Talk with Curious Theatre Company,Straight Talk with OpenStage, Firehouse and Adams Mystery Playhouse,Straight Talk with Platte Valley Players and Theatreworks,Straight Talk with Parker Arts, Stories on Stage and Thunder River ,Staight Talk 2 with Philip Sneed: This much is uncertain,Pivoting With,Pivoting with The Black Actors Guild,Pivoting with ... Emily Van Fleet and Nathan Jones,Pivoting With ... Tammy Franklin and the Curtain Playhouse,Pivoting With Nick Sugar and the Town Hall Arts Center,Pivoting With Helen Murray and the Aurora Fox,Pivoting with Edith Weiss and Christy Montour Larson,Pivoting With Scott RC Levy and the Fine Arts Center Theatre Company,Pivoting with Todd Debrecini for Halloween,Pivoting with Ashley Campbell,Pivoting with Meghan Anderson Doyle,Pivoting with Jenna Moll Reyes,Pivoting with Erik Fellenstein,Pivoting with Ray Bailey ,Pivoting with Tara Falk,Community News,Inside the Arvada Center,Director's Notes: A Midsummer Night's Dream,All About Printmaking Techniques,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Collin Parson ,Arvada Center Makes Masks,Christina Noel-Adcock,"Bright Star" cast unveils video as message of hope,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Christine Moore,Humans of the Arvada Center: Steven Cogswell,Humans of the Arvada Center: Ashi K. Smythe,City of Arvada to install new sculpture in Hoskinson Park,Humans of the Arvada Center Jessie Page,Here are the 2019-20 Henry Award nominations,Arvada Center to Offer Students World’s First Zoom Musical,Humans of the Arvada Center Cal Meakins,Humans of the Arvada Center: Adam Stolte,Supreme Court workplace ruling hits home for Lisa Leafgreen,'Time for talk is over': Arvada Center launch 'Amplify' series to raise black male voices,Humans of the Arvada Center Jon Olson ,New Arvada Center, Aurora Fox seasons reflect current complexities,It's virtually impossible not to have fun in our summer camps,News roundup: Who The Denver Actor's Fund DEAR Fund has helped,Humans of the Arvada Center: Abygail Rosales,Pink Progression Collaborations: Jina Brenneman and Margaret Kasahara,Pink Progression: Julia Rymer and Drew Austin,Revealing The Dialogue,Amplify Epiode 3 launches, series expanding to include black women,Photo Blog: Sweeney Todd Rehearsals,Humans of the Arvada Center: Gabriel Morales,Pink Progression: Sangeeta Reddy and Jodie Roth Cooper,Front Porch Series Kickoff,Cleo Parker Robinson dances back in the box with Arvada Center,Amplify turns the mic over to local Black women ,Beth Malone bringing 'joy bomb' to Arvada Center oon September 4,Theatre news: Live streaming panel Monday on a big new 'Idea',Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Emily King,Amplify Women Episode 2,Special Book Honors Special Dance Teacher,Arvada Center pivots to radio-play series for fall ,amplify-series-comes-to-powerful-conclusion,How COVID is impacting individual artists,Take a stroll through 'Sculpture in the Field',Arts In Education Week,Colorado Theatre News: Miscast pivots to CAST ,Essay: Was the Aurora Fox a safe house on Opening Night? ,Lessons from a summer of outdoor theatre in the time of COVID ,Humans of the Arvada Center: John Hamilton,Theatre news of the week: DCPA launches Recovery Fund,Zachary Andrews take a one-man bite out of 'Dracula',Spotlight Manos Soap,Doreen Montalvo in Denver: Compassion and grit,What to do: Theatre happenings for October 23,Betty Hart's presidential promise: Build a bigger tent,Theatre happenings October 30,Virtual theatre sprouts a new branch with Arvada Center's 'The Family Tree',Humans of the Arvada Center: Brenna Clendaniel and Sophia Koop,Theatre happenings November 12,the barnstormers are back,On being Black in Denver and all the colors that it brings,Getting to Know: Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales,Theatre happenings November 19: Companies entering cancellation mode,2021 in live theatre: A look into the Crystal Ball,2020 True West Awards: Buntpivot ,2020 True West Awards: Lily Bradford,2020 True West Awards: The Scenesters,2020 True West Awards: Podcastic,2020 True West Awards: Phamaly takes 'Honk' to Japan,2020 True West Awards: Christine Moore,2020 True West Awards: Alive Inside,2020 True West Awards: Michael Ensminger,True West Awards: They Wrote the Book,True West Awards: Rent-A-Pals,True West Awards: Of Spacious Skies,True West Awards: Christopher Page-Sanders,2020 True West Awards: Suffer the little children,2020 True West Awards: Spirit of Giving,2020 True West Awards: Secret Gardeners,2020 True West Awards: Denis Berkfeldt,2020 True West Awards: Amplify,2020 True West Awards: Reclaiming One Star,2020 True West Awards: William Hahn and Jessica Robblee,2020 True West Awards: Lisa Wagner Erickson,'The Family Tree affords actors rare chance to work during pandemic,SCFD: New picture of COVID carnage on metro nonprofits,New Arvada Center video offers diverse slate of holiday stories,20 for 20,Meet the Frasers,Bev Newcomb-Madden: Colorado's feisty, ferocious fairy godmother passes away ,Lucy Roucis' final act is a gutpunch,Reunite the Arts Collin Parson,Jodie Steeves and Nancy Terry,Reunite the Arts Lisa Leafgreen,Remembering John Gratkins,Reunite the Arts: From our CEO,Adapting the Great Gatsby,Small Mouth Sounds returns,Danielle Johnson Q&A,Reunite the Arts Lynne Collins,The Show Must Go On,Diana and Mike Kinsey,Get to Know Kazu Oba,Meet Suzanna Champion,The Gear of Million Dollar Quartet,FRYS and the Symphony,Get to Know Carlou D,Stories From the Studio,Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet Lares Feliciano,21 for 21,An interview with Geoffrey Kent: The Liar,Art of the State 2022 Awards,An interview with Jada Suzanne Dixon: Stick Fly,An interview with Jessica Robblee: Animal Farm,Fast Facts About Kinky Boots,Costume Department Boots Up,Rod A Lansberry Announces Retirement from Arvada Center,Lynne Collins Named Artistic Director of Arvada Center Theatre,Getting to Know José González,2022 Henry Award Nominations,Getting to Know Joan Osborne and Madeleine Peyroux,Sit Under the Stars at the Front Porch Series ,The Many Sounds of Carlou D,The Tunes of the Daniella Katzir Band,Setting the mood: Into the Woods Set Designer Brian Mallgrave,Into the Woods Directors Note,The River Bride Director's Note,What is Magical Realism?,Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet Ana María Hernando,The CJRO Sessions featuring Robert Johnson,Meet Ceramics Artist Luanne Burke,From student to teacher: Hadley’s story,Tackling the Beast,Be Like Belle on Colorado Gives Day,Things to Know About Our Town,Creating the Look of Our Town: A Q and A with Set Designer Brian Mallgrave,Whatever Lola Wants - A Deep Dive into the Damn Yankees Signature Song,Selling Your Soul - A Pop Culture Favorite,The Book Club Play Reads,Metatheatre Elements in Our Town - When a Play Knows It's a Play,90s Throwback Vibe with Arvada Center 2023 Summer Concert Series,Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra at the Arvada Center,Arts Advocacy,Volunteer,About Us,Ticketing Policies,Group Tickets,Ticket Discounts,Contact Us,Accessibility,Health and Safety,Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access,Careers,Know Before You Go,Tours,Adopt an Actor 2023,Adopt An Artwork,Temp,Virtual Theatre FAQ,New Website ,Pink Progression Events,On Demand Troubleshooting,Blog,Lorem ipsum,Lorem ipsum 2,Newk’s,Steuben’s Arvada,The Family Tree FAQ,Home for the Holidays,Land Acknowledgement,What To Expect at the Theatre,One Sheet Music,Gift Certificates,Gala,Gala Sponsors,Errors,404,The Family Tree Dining Offers,Privacy Policy,Our Town Synopsis,Concessions