Humans of the Arvada Center


House Manager

Steven Cogswell at an Arvada Center volunteer appreciation event. Photo by Sarah Kolb.

NOTE: As we look to reopen our doors and reignite the arts, one thing becomes clear: The key to our creativity is our people. Songs are not sung, sets are not built, choreography is not taught, and canvases are not painted on their own. In our new “Humans of the Arvada Center” series, we are highlighting the heartbeat of the Center: The people who make up the Arvada Center family.

By John Moore and Leslie Simon

Steven Cogswell had severe undiagnosed asthma in elementary school, so he spent most of his recesses indoors.

“I was pretty bright, so they had me do self-directed studies out in the hallway,” said the Arvada Center’s longtime House Manager. “This made for some understandably lackluster social skills, so my parents encouraged me to try out for a school play.

He was cast in that play … “And found my people,” he says.

Theatre people.

Steven graduated from Green Mountain High School and went on to become an opera vocal-performance major at the acclaimed University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. “I loved singing [Robert] Schumann and [Franz] Schubert, but I realized there wasn’t a career in that – at least for me,” he said.

Steven Cogswell at the Arvada Center's 40th anniversary celebration.So Steven “traded in Schumann and Schubert for Lerner and Loewe.” And he’s been on the roller coaster that is a life in the arts ever since.

“Like so many in the theatre world, I have made my living in many ways,” he said. “As a musical-theatre performer, voice teacher, waiter, singing waiter, accountant, box-office representative, massage therapist, director … anything that would pay the bills.” As a House Manager, Steven is akin to a hotel concierge in a hotel. And his more than two decades as a performer turned out to be perfect training for the job.

(Pictured at right: Steven Cogswell at the Arvada Center's 40th anniversary celebration. Photo by Matthew Gale.)

As a performer, Steven has been performing since childhood. In fact, he and Arvada Center President and CEO Philip Sneed were both in a production of "Oliver!" together at the old Bonfils Theatre (now the Tattered Cover Bookstore) in 1977. Steven made 35 appearances over six years at Ye Olde Wayside Inn Dinner Theatre in Berthoud. In Denver, he was a longtime member of the Country Dinner Playhouse’s legendary group of “Barnstormers” – a rotating group of hosts who served dinner and provided pre-show musical entertainment. He also performed in many Country Dinner Playhouse productions including “Phantom,” Oklahoma!” and “Guys and Dolls.” In 2004, he played a gender-bending Kit Kat Girl in BDT Stage’s “Cabaret,” which featured Arvada Center Director of Scenic Design Brian Mallgrave as the Emcee. He also played Enoch Snow in “Carousel” for the Boulder Theatre, and a brother in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Some of his favorite roles have included playing Don Quixote in “Man of La Mancha,” King Arthur in “Camelot” and Conrad Birdie in “Bye Bye, Birdie.”

"Steven is a really smart guy, and he can assess a situation in a split-second.” – Melanie Mayner

As a director, Steven’s credits have included a 2009 production of “Phantom” at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse that The Denver Post said “delivers the production that at last realizes the potential envisioned when this $6.2 million gem of a dinner theatre opened in Johnstown 16 months ago.” For that show, Steven was nominated for the 2009 Denver Post Ovation Award for Outstanding Direction (alongside the Arvada Center’s Rod Lansberry for “Miss Saigon"). Steven followed that with a four-star production of “My Fair Lady,”  for which he also was honored by The Post’s Ovation Awards. Steven’s eclectic pursuit of knowledge has included studying at the Lang Institute for Canine Massage and Boulder College of Massage Therapy. He has spent many hours as a volunteer for the Denver Dumb Friends League.

Throughout his career as a performer, Steven was drawn to patron services, including stints in the box office at Henry Lowenstein’s Denver Civic Theatre and the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse before his career path led him to the Arvada Center.

“I am so fortunate that I was hired to be the House Manager at the Arvada Center,” he said, “and have now been here for almost 10 years.”  

House Managers welcome the public to the theatre and oversee their safety and well-being before, during and immediately after any show. Melanie Mayner, the Arvada Center’s Director of Audience Experience, said Steven’s life in the theatre, his smarts – “and having the softest heart in the world” – have made him perfect for the job.   

Shop local and support Arvada Center artists during the COVID19 shutdown

“There is 15 minutes of crazy every night,” Mayner said of the quarter-hour before a performance begins. “There is so much going on, and you really have to think on your feet. Steven is a really smart guy, and he can assess a situation in a split-second. He’s a good problem-solver, he stays calm, and he’s just lovely to our patrons, our box-office staff and our ushers. He can make it look so seamless that you would never guess how many moving parts there are.”

Working at the Arvada Center, Steven says, “lets me continue my love affair with the arts, and I especially love working alongside our amazing volunteer ushers. “I have learned first-hand the arts can help us be more human. And after all these years, I’m proud to still be a part of that.”

Video bonus: Meet Steven Cogswell

To learn more about the Arvada Center's theatre programming, go to

To follow the Arvada Center's #HumansOfArvadaCenter campaign, go to














Home,Reignite the Arts,Art at Home,Support Arvada Center Artists,Virtual Auction,Donate Now,Corporate Giving,Subscribe,AC Flex Package,YP Access,Four Play Package,Visit Us,COVID-19 Entry Policies,View All Events,Gift Certificates,Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express,528.0 Regional Juried Printmaking Exhibition,Imprint: Print Educators of Colorado,Pink Progression: Collaborations,Stories and Songs to Celebrate the Season,Black in Denver,Carley Warren: Three Pieces,Wood.Works,Small Mouth Sounds,Race and the Myth of Rock'n'Roll,Million Dollar Quartet,Amplify with Cleo Parker Robinson,Viral Influence Art in the Time of Coronavirus,Brady Smith: (Don’t be embarrassed by) your trouble with living,Melody Epperson: 100 + 1: Women and the Vote,Simply Swingin’: Great American Crooners,Brazil Calling: Featuring the Music of Antônio Carlos Jobim,Big Band Royalty: Dukes, Counts and Barons of Jazz ,Colin Hay Testing,Kinky Boots,Rockley Piano Sale,Coffee Concerts: Moonlight Sonata,Keyboard Conversations: The Glorious Music of Chopin,Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema,Word Play,I Do! I Do!,Roland Bernier: In Other Words,Jazz Classics: The Music You've Been Missing,Elf - The Musical,Amplify: A Breakbeat Testimony,Sylvia,The Liar,Stick Fly,Animal Farm,Dining Partners,Amplify,Amplify Performers,Theatre,main stage musicals,Black Box Plays,Theatre for Children,Auditions,Million Dollar Quartet Auditions,Holiday Plays,Galleries,Current Exhibitions,Wood.Works Know Before You Go,Gallery Events,Upcoming Exhibitions,Art Sales,Art Market,Art Submissions,Viral Influence Call for Entry,Sculpture Field,History Museum,Education,Dance Class FAQ,View All Classes,Summer Camps,FAQ,Full Day,Summer Camp Performances,Classes for Kids,Classes for Adults,Ceramics,Front Range Youth Symphony,Dance Academy,For Educators and Community Groups,Arts Day,Arts Day Outreach,Ageless Adults,Scholarships,Teen Intensive 2021,Yesterado,Music and Dance,Jeffrey Siegel,Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra,AEDA Summer Concerts,Humanities,On Their Shoulders We Stand,Private Event Rentals,Humans of the Arvada Center,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,Barbra Streisand,Governor's mask mandate does not apply to Candlelight actors,Pink Progression: Collaborations: Grow Love and Moe Gram,Director's Notes: A Midsummer Night's Dream,All About Printmaking Techniques,Watercolor Class,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Collin Parson ,Arvada Center Makes Masks,Earth Day Craft,Christina Noel-Adcock,"Bright Star" cast unveils video as message of hope,Podcast: B+ with Geoffrey Kent and Jessica Austgen ,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 ,The 5 Most Screwed Job Titles in COVID-era theatre,June in Colorado Theatre: 'The Reckoning' has begun,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,Colorado Springs reaches the Mountaintop at 2020 Henry Awards,Photo Blog: Sweeney Todd Rehearsals,Humans of the Arvada Center: Gabriel Morales,Deeper Dive: A closer look at Million Dollar Quartet,Deeper Dive: A closer look at Small Mouth Sounds,Pink Progression: Sangeeta Reddy and Jodie Roth Cooper,Deeper Dive: A closer look at Private Lives,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',Deeper Dive: A closer look at They're Playing Our Song,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,Denver Film moving forward with longer, smaller, virtual 2020 festival ,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',Trick Art Treat coming to Arvada Center parking lot ,What to do? Theatre happenings for October 16,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,A Married Couple's Christmas in Wales,2021 in live theatre: A look into the Crystal Ball,Senior Art Kits,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,International Women's Day,Reunite the Arts Lisa Leafgreen,The Con Must Go On,Clear Fork Cider Spotlight,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,Reunite the Arts Rod Lansberry,Meet Suzanna Champion,Getting to know Eric Many Winds Herrera and Red Feather Woman,The Gear of Million Dollar Quartet,Music for the Young and Young at Heart,FRYS and the Symphony,Get to Know Carlou D,Stories From the Studio,Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet Lares Feliciano,Arts Advocacy,Volunteer,About Us,Ticketing Policies,Contact Us,Ticket discounts,Accessiblity,Health and Safety,Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access,Digital Magazine,Careers,Entry,Tours,Art of the State Submissions,Adopt an Actor 2022,Dinner and a Show,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,Gala,Errors,404,The Family Tree Dining Offers,Privacy Policy