True West Award Camelot

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

'It’s important to do what we can to take care of the artists who were hit so hard by this pandemic.'

– 'Camelot' Director Pat Payne

By John Moore, Senior Arts Journalist

Candlelight Dinner Playhouse drew both cheers and some concern in June when it became the first theatre company in Colorado to return to live indoor theatre productions since the COVID shutdown began in March. But as it was coaxing smaller and socially distanced audiences back to state’s largest dinner theatre, it also was bringing employment back to dozens of sidelined cast and crew.

And when it came time to present a smaller-cast production of “Camelot” in September, the creative team used the opportunity to raise money for their fellow artists. And not a little bit of money, either.

Bob Hoppe in 'Camelot.' RDG PhotographyThe actors asked audiences that never exceeded 150 in the 350-seat theatre in Johnstown to offer whatever they could spare to help The Denver Actors Fund continue its mission of providing a variety of financial and practical services to Colorado theatre artists in medical need – more than a dozen of whom have appeared on stage at the theatre located about 50 miles north of Denver.

(Pictured at right: Bob Hoppe in 'Camelot.' RDG Photography.)

Candlelight was able to do what so many other theatres in Colorado still can’t – produce live indoor theatre – in large part because it’s a spacious, 22,000-square-foot gem that covers 3 1/2 acres of land. And because it received a variance from the state’s “Safer at Home” orders based on being located just inside the Larimer County border. (That exception was revoked and Candlelight joined the state's other temporarily closed theatres late last month because of rising COVID positivity rates statewide.)

But while “Camelot” was running in repertory with “Always … Patsy Cline” from September 3 through October 20, Candlelight’s mighty mini-audiences responded to the call, donating a jaw-dropping $16,677 to The Denver Actors Fund, which in 2020 alone has provided more than $250,000 to Colorado theatre artists either in medical need or thrown out of work (on stage and in real life) by the pandemic. It was all the more welcome during a year when other opportunities to raise funds have been scant with so few plays and musicals taking place.

Three of the eight ‘Camelot’ cast members know first-hand the importance of the safety net the DAF stretches across Colorado. In the past year, Sarah Forman (Reveler/Tom) has had $6,500 in medical expenses paid by the DAF, Cole Emarine (Mordred) $3,000, and Scott Hurst Jr. (Lancelot) $1,000.

True West Awards Pat Payne“It was the cast of ‘Camelot’s’ idea to raise money for their fellow artists,” said Candlelight Dinner Playhouse Production Manager (and ‘Camelot’ Director) Pat Payne (pictured at right). “It’s important to do what we can to take care of the artists who were hit so hard by this pandemic. We all knew how blessed and lucky we were to be able to be open during this time, and we wanted to do what we could to help out.”

How Candlelight was allowed to re-open before other theatres

Candlelight Dinner Playhouse now has raised nearly $35,000 for The DAF since March 2019. That’s when the repertory casts of “Motones vs. Jerseys” and “Nunsense” waged a friendly fundraising competition that exceeded $17,000.

“I am so proud of our staff and co-workers, and the amazing generosity of our patrons,” Payne said. “It is so weird to be making theatre right now. But this is a great piece of goodness coming out of that big dinner theatre up north!”

The Denver Actors Fund exists primarily because of efforts like those at Candlelight and other theatres across the state, including the Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden, BDT Stage in Boulder, Colorado Springs TheatreWorks, Firehouse Theatre and, well … dozens more. Even during the pandemic, artist-driven concerts and other creative events have kept funds coming in.

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

The spirit of giving at Candlelight extended beyond ‘Camelot’ when cast member Stephen Charles Turner followed up that production by hosting a virtual fundraising reunion of the Country Dinner Playhouse’s Barnstormers, raising another $1,500.

With today being Colorado Gives Day, a lifeline to thousands of nonprofits across the country, it seemed appropriate that today’s True West Award acknowledge all of those who give back.

Candlelight Socially Distanced

A look at the 'socially distanced' seating at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.  Photo courtesy Pat Payne.

"Camelot" cast:

  • Sarah Forman
  • Hugh Butterfield
  • Stephen Charles Turner
  • Eric Heine
  • Cole Emarine
  • Bob Hoppe
  • Susanna Houdesheldt 
  • Scott Hurst


  • Director: Pat Payne
  • Choreographer: Cole Emarine
  • Music Director: Phil Forman
  • Band: Phil Forman, Christopher Norwood, Gabriele Meriwether and John Meriwether
  • Scenic and Lighting Design: Shauna Johnson
  • Costume Design: Judith Ernst and Liz Hoover
  • Props: Becky Emarine Warner
  • Sound: Kyle Harper
  • Technical Director: Dave MacEachen
  • Scenic painter: Joel Adam Chavez
  • Master Electrician: Nathaniel Quinn
  • Stage Manager: Lindsey Longcor

True West Award Patsy Cline"Always, Patsy Cline" cast:

  • Jalyn Courtenay Webb
  • Charlotte Campbell


  • Owner/Executive Producer: Dave Clark
  • Director of Administration: Bobbi Martin
  • Production Manager: Pat Payne
  • Technical Manager: Shauna Johnson
  • Kitchen Manager: Nick Malizia
  • Service Manager: Allison Hatch
  • Events Manager: Alli Malvaney
Home,Reignite the Arts,Donate Now,Donate Now,Corporate Giving,Art Circle,2024-2025 Theatre Season,Renew,Visit Us,View All Events,Roland Bernier: In Other Words,Word Play,Lola Montejo: After Another After,Floyd D. Tunson: Ascent,Anthony Garcia Sr: Pigment,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,Narkita Gold: Black In Denver,Art of the State 2022,One Sheet,Colorado Abstract +10: A Survey,Gary Staab: Second Nature,Flora: Scientific Botanical Illustrations of Colorado Plants,Art + Science,Jeffco Schools Foundation High School Art Exhibition,Wendy Kowynia: Following the Thread,Bueno: Mark Bueno,Ramón Bonilla: The boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places for me.,Drawn: From The Source,Day of African Culture,Big Draw Colorado,Rockley Instrument Sale,Allyship & Advocacy in Action: Supporting the LGBTQAI+ Community,Beautiful - The Carole King Musical,Fine Art Market,Holiday Pottery Sale,A Year With Frog and Toad,Kaleidoscope,Spring Pottery Sale,53rd Annual Jeffco Schools Foundation High School Art Exhibition,Matt Christie: Between Then and Now,Robin Cole: Genesis,3rd Law Dance/Theater,Emilio Lobato: A Mi Manera A 40-Year Survey,Latitude 37° Art of Southern Colorado,The Laramie Project,The Laramie Project Talkbacks with Judy and Dennis Shepard,Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella,Hazel Miller and the Collective: Christmas with Soul,Noises Off,Sue Oehme Inclusions,Artist Proof: Print Process at Oehme Graphics,Salon des Refusés: Rejects Pop-Up and Performance Event,So…You Want to be a Public Artist: Navigating Rejection in Art,Voices of Honor,Standing for Humanity in Gaza and Israel ,Colcha Embroidery of the San Luis Valley,Denver Gay Men's Chorus: Shout!,inFORMed Space: Perspectives in Sculpture,Spin Doctors with Cracker,Orquesta Akokán with Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen,Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble: Prisms,I Regret to Inform You…Rejected Public Art,Denver Brass presents: Brass, Camera, Action,Kingfish,Corinne Bailey Rae,CJRO Presents: Lady Sings the Groove with Tatiana LadyMay Mayfield,Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder,Mozart Under Moonlight,Melissa Etheridge: I’m Not Broken Tour,Yola,Preservation Hall Jazz Band,The High Kings and Gaelic Storm,Big Richard,Lyle the Crocodile,Clybourne Park,Once Upon A Mattress,A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder,Dracula: A Feminist Revenge Fantasy, Really,New Album Release: Golden Lady with Tatiana LadyMay Mayfield,Summertime in Winter: The Music of Gershwin and more, Community Cultural Celebration and Concert with Baaba Maal,Guitar Gods: Metheny, Montgomery, and More,Tower of Power,A Tribute to Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops,Waitress - Audio Described Performance,Waitress - ASL Performances,Dracula: A Feminist Revenge Fantasy, Really - ASL Performances,Dracula: A Feminist Revenge Fantasy, Really - Audio Described Performance,Once Upon A Mattress - Sensory Friendly Performances,Once Upon A Mattress - ASL Performances,Once Upon A Mattress - Audio Described Performance,Lyle the Crocodile - Sensory Friendly Performance,Lyle the Crocodile - ASL Shadow Interpreted Performances,Clybourne Park - ASL Performances,Clybourne Park - Audio Described Performance,A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder - ASL Performances,A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder - Audio Described Performance,Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812,Waitress,Honeymoon In Vegas,Funkin’ it Up,MUGSHOT: Artistic Drinking Vessels,Bebe Alexander: Impact & Influence,Wright Place, Wrong Time: Triumphs & Flops for Mid-Century Modern Table,Accessibility Events,Amplify,Theatre,Upcoming Shows,Group Tickets,2024-2025 Theatre Season,Renew,Performances for Students,Auditions,Galleries,Current Exhibitions,Gallery Events,Upcoming Exhibitions,Art Sales,Art Submissions,Art Market Application,Sculpture Field,History Museum,Archive,Education,View All Classes,Summer Camps,Full Day,Summer Camp Performances,FAQ,Spring Break Camps,Classes for Kids,Classes for Adults,Ceramics,Front Range Youth Symphony,Dance Classes,Links and Forms,Arts Day,Arts Day Outreach,Ageless Adults,Scholarships,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,Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra,Summer Concerts,Humanities,Private Event Rentals,Caterers,Vendors,Arvada Center News,Getting to Know The Big Tuna,Getting to Know: Keith Ewer and his Hammered Dulcimer,Understanding Farce in Theatre,2024 Summer Concert Series Playlist Volume 1,2024 Summer Concert Series artists and who they sound like,Getting To Know - Yola,Introducing the opening acts of the Arvada Center 2024 Summer Concert Series,Adapted for the stage - the previous lives of the 2024-2025 theatre season,Inside the Arvada Center,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Collin Parson ,Christina Noel-Adcock,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Christine Moore,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,Humans of the Arvada Center Cal Meakins,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 ,Revealing The Dialogue,Amplify Epiode 3 launches, series expanding to include black women,Humans of the Arvada Center: Gabriel Morales,Cleo Parker Robinson dances back in the box with Arvada Center,Amplify turns the mic over to local Black women ,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Emily King,Amplify Women Episode 2,amplify-series-comes-to-powerful-conclusion,Humans of the Arvada Center: John Hamilton,On being Black in Denver and all the colors that it brings,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,Meet the Frasers,Reunite the Arts Collin Parson,Jodie Steeves and Nancy Terry,Reunite the Arts Lisa Leafgreen,Remembering John Gratkins,Reunite the Arts: From our CEO,Danielle Johnson Q&A,Reunite the Arts Lynne Collins,The Show Must Go On,Diana and Mike Kinsey,Meet Suzanna Champion,The Gear of Million Dollar Quartet,Stories From the Studio,Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet Lares Feliciano,An interview with Geoffrey Kent: The Liar,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,Setting the mood: Into the Woods Set Designer Brian Mallgrave,What is Magical Realism?,Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet Ana María Hernando,Meet Ceramics Artist Luanne Burke,From student to teacher: Hadley’s story,Tackling the Beast,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,Opening Acts of the Arvada Center 2023 Summer Concert Series,Getting to know Baaba Maal,Big Draw Highlights,The Music of Keb' Mo,Getting to Know Lucero,Listen to the hits of Carole King with this playlist,Carole King: The Writer Behind The Music,Songs inspired by Matthew Shepard,Summer Internship at The Arvada Center,Arvada Center journeys to Southern Colorado : A Photo Diary,Arvada Center and Colorado Chapter of Free Mom Hugs share the love,Costume Inspiration for Cinderella with Costume Designer Madison Booth,The Many Faces of Cinderella,Arvada Center awarded Social Impact Theatre Grant from Biller Family Foundation,The music that influenced the music of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,Volunteer,Accessibility,Web Accessibility,About Us,Ticketing Policies,Authorized Ticketing,Ticket Discounts,Contact Us,Health and Safety,Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access,Careers,Tours,Temp,Land Acknowledgement,What To Expect at the Theatre,One Sheet Music,Gift Certificates,Privacy Policy,Gala,Gala Sponsors,Errors,404,Concessions