Something old is new again


Cast of Trifles.

The cast of 'Trifles,' from left: Abner Genece, Kevin Hart, Sheryl McCallum, Emma Messenger and Philip Sneed.

Tickets now available to hear 'Trifles,' Dracula'

By John Moore, Senior Arts Journalist

The Arvada Center is moving forward by throwing back.

Radio plays are at once something old, something new, something borrowed and something rarely blue. But, unlike weddings, this nostalgic storytelling form marries two very contemporary objectives for the Arvada Center in 2020: How to continue to deliver professionally produced stories for culturally starved audiences – without putting their lives at risk.

This fall, Arvada Center Artistic Director of Plays Lynne Collins will be rolling out a series of short, homemade audio plays that will be available to listeners on multiple listening platforms.

“What I love is that, in these pandemic days, these plays represent a new way to tell stories that doesn’t involve looking at a screen – which I think will be pretty appealing to lot of people right now,” said Collins. “They’re portable, so people can listen while walking or driving or exercising.”

Imagine that: Live theatre … without having your eyes glued to an electronic device. That’s so B.C. (Before Coronavirus.)

“I think we owe it to our audiences who have been loyal and engaged with us for so long to bring a little of what we do to the people who are missing it most. It’s our duty,” said Collins. “Radio plays are well within the wheelhouse – and that’s telling a story with really good actors.”

Radio dramas reached widespread popularity a century ago and by the 1940s were one the leading forms of popular entertainment in the world. They began losing their audience with the advent of TV, but never fully went away. Many pop-culture experts consider them the precursor to the modern podcast.

Click here to pre-order tickets to the radio plays

The Arvada Center’s new series launches September 21 with a 30-minute audio adaptation of Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles.” That’s a 100-year-old pre-feminist mystery about a man who is found dead in his bed with a rope around his neck – and a wife who claims to have slept through the murder. Glaspell was an Iowa journalist who covered the real-life case in 1900. When she later based her play on the crime, she changed the murder weapon from an axe.

Radio Plays. Photo by Sarah Kolb. In the play, the County Attorney, Sheriff and a local farmer investigate the crime. (In other words – all the men.) But it is the wives they bring along who quietly put the puzzle pieces together. The all-star cast features Arvada Center favorites Abner Genece, Kevin Hart, Sheryl McCallum, Emma Messenger and Arvada Center CEO Philip Sneed – who was once a rather prolific actor himself.

“It’s a really good script, with all the tension you would expect from an old-fashioned radio yarn,” said Messenger. “But it’s also got a current message about women. The play exposes the way men so easily dismiss women and overlook the small details. The women realize it’s the trifles that hold the key.”

'We owe it to our audiences to bring a little of what we do to the people who are missing it most.' – Lynne Collins

Zachary Andrews quote“Trifles,” which was recorded by Arvada Center Production Manager Jacob Kenworthy and Sound Designer Jason Ducat under strict social distancing guidelines, will be available to listeners for three weeks, followed by something very different in tone and presentation: Actor and playwright Zachary Andrews performing the world premiere of his cutting-edge adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” … all by himself.

“I think this is probably the most faithful adaptation of ‘Dracula’ you'll find anywhere,” said Andrews, a longtime member of the Arvada Center’s Black Box Repertory Theatre acting company. “It faithfully delivers the original story, with 95 percent of it coming from the original text. The novel is a collection of journal entries, telegrams and letters, and I have condensed them down from a 17-hour novel into a unique, 60-minute piece of audio theatre. So it moves like lightning – and is supported by all this immersive music and sound that I have also composed and designed.”

Collins describes Andrews' creation as "a less traditional radio play that is cinematic in scope with modern, original music and a big soundcscape." 

Stoker’s masterpiece of horror follows a young solicitor named Jonathan Harker, who travels to Transylvania to close a real-estate deal with the wealthy nobleman Count Dracula. Things quickly descend into a Gothic nightmare as a determined group of friends battle an ancient evil that threatens not only their lives, but the world. 

“As theatre remains in lockdown, making ‘Dracula’ has been a chance for me to explore and develop new forms of expression, while immersing myself in creating a singularly immersive telling of this story," Andrews said.

Andrews said he’s “both humbled and excited that the Arvada Center is trusting me with every aspect of this project. I hope it sends a chill down your spine for Halloween, and that listening to it lets loose your imagination in a world perhaps even stranger than our own.”

Sheryl McCallum. Radio Plays. Photo by Sarah Kolb. For Messenger, a multiple-award-winning actor who hadn’t gone more than two months without being in a play since moving to Denver in 2010, the thrill of simply walking back into the Arvada Center’s Black Box Theatre for the first time since the COVID shutdown was indescribable.

“The theatre is a sacred space,” Messenger said. “Just to be in that room with those other wonderful actors, and to have an incredible director guiding you, it’s like you forget how long it's been.”

The Arvada Center hopes to bring live theatre back to audiences in February with the launch of a four-production season. In the meantime, Collins believes the fall radio series “will be an important way to tell our audiences we’re still here, and that we are still reaching out to them."

It’s also a chance to give her actors and creatives a chance to stretch their muscles – “and pay some people,” she said. “I am very interested in putting some money into the pockets of the artists who have been so devastated by all of this.

“We are all just so hungry to make some art. This is what we do, and we are all missing it."

John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S. by American Theatre Magazine during his time at The Denver Post. He also is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund, and is now contributing reports on the arts community for ArvadaCenter.Org. Reach him at

Arvada Center Fall Radio Play Series

Radio plays logo by Pierce Murphy

Artwork by Pierce Murphy.


  • Written by Susan Glaspell
  • Directed by Lynne Collins
  • Featuring Abner Genece, Kevin Hart, Sheryl McCallum, Emma Messenger and Philip Sneed
  • Available for listening September 21 through October 11
  • Running time: 30 minutes
  • Tickets now available for advance purchase at ArvadaCenter.Org


  • Written and performed by Zachary Andrews
  • Running time: 60 minutes
  • Available for listening from October 12 through November 1
  • Tickets now available for advance purchase at ArvadaCenter.Org
  • Age recommendation: 12 and older for some descriptions of violence

NOTE: Ticket-purchasers will be allowed to name their own price, starting at $10. They will be sent a private link to the play, which then can be accessed on any device. The hosting service is Vimeo, a video platform, so that those with varying hearing needs can read the play via closed-captioning.

Actors record the radio play 'Trifles' at the Arvada Center. Photos by Sarah Kolb.

Actors record the radio play 'Trifles' at the Arvada Center. Photos by Sarah Kolb.

Read more about the Arvada Center's planned return to live theatre in 2021
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