2020 True West Awards

20 Days, 20 Bouquets

The True West Awards, now in their 20th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 20 achievements from 2020 without categories or nominations.

The awards program serves in large part as a journalistic year in review, telling or retelling the best stories of the year. In years past, the format has been "30 days, 30 bouquets" - but for all kinds of reasons, it just feels more appropriate to offer "20 days, 20 bouquets" in the 20th year of 2020. 

Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S. by American Theatre magazine in 2011. His daily coverage of the Colorado theatre community can be found at arvadacenter.org. 

2020 True West Awards: Lily Bradford

As if scrambling to stage any intimate play in a dark Boulder backyard during a pandemic summer weren’t enough of a challenge, Lighting Designer Lily Bradford was also tasked, literally, with turning an inside play out.

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2020 True West Awards: The Scenesters

Over the past seven years, DCPA Education’s regional student playwriting competition has inspired the creation of 1,065 one-act plays. And 22 of the best student-submitted plays have been be presented as readings at the Denver Center's annual Colorado New Play Festival.

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2020 True West Awards: 'Upside Down Tulips' podcast

Acclaimed local theatre directors Christy Montour-Larson and Edith Weiss didn't just put out a gardening podcast to pass the pandemic time. They created Colorado's newly named "Best New Podcast" for 2020. 

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2020 True West Awards: Phamaly takes 'Honk' to Japan

Members of Denver’s acclaimed “disability-affirmative” theatre company certainly found their a common humanity with hundreds of Japanese strangers in February, when they traveled to Tokyo for two goodwill stagings of “Honk” as part of the international True Colors Festival celebrating diversity and inclusion.

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2020 True West Awards: Buntpivot

As soon as it became evident that unconventional theatre was going to be the only kind of theatre in 2020, it stood to reason Denver’s decidedly unconventional Buntport Theater would be first to hop out into the wide-open field of new creative discoveries.

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2020 True West Awards: Christine Moore

2020 is officially "The Year of the Stage Manager” in professional theatre. But when you consider the impressive body of work the Arvada Center's resident Stage Manager has managed to put in despite the shutdown, perhaps 2020 should be renamed “The Year of Stage Manager Christine Moore.”

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2020 True West Awards: DU Prison Arts Initiative

Some of the most powerful theatre in Colorado over the past two years has been performed in our prisons through a remarkable program called the DU Prison Arts Initiative. And a whole lot of it took place over three hours on the night of November 21 alone for a virtual showcase called 'A/Live Inside.'

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2020 True West Awards: Michael Ensminger

Veteran stage photographer Michael Ensminger snapped an image from The Catamounts’ “Shockheaded Peter” that managed to capture and convey the tone, style and even the overall significance of the production. All in a single frame.

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2020 True West Awards: They wrote the book

Actors Susannah and Chloe McLeod weren't about to let the pandemic pass without turning it into a creative outlet. Their photo book 'Quarantine Week by Weak' chronicles their stir craziness in a fun and clever way.

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2020 True West Awards: Rent-A-Pal

After appearances in more than 100 short films and small features over the past 20 years, the new film 'Rent-A-Pal' is a career-defining moment for Brian Landis Folkins as a complex character actor.

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2020 True West Awards: 'Of Spacious Skies'

Many local theatre companies have scrambled in magnificent ways to bring original programming to their culturally starved audiences. But no one has pulled off a creative endeavor as large as 'Of Spacious Skies,' a 12-part original-play series exploring the history of El Paso County.

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2020 True West Awards: Christopher Page-Sanders

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.

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2020 True West Awards: The children of 'Shockheaded Peter'

The Catamounts’ "Shockheaded Peter" was based on a German book of poems where … oh, how shall we say it? … bad things happen to children who misbehave. But the tiny pros in the cast clearly had the time of their lives portraying naughty children who often lose theirs.

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2020 True West Awards: Spirit of Giving

Candlelight Dinner Playhouse was one of the only indoor theatres in Colorado that was able to play on as the COVID shutdown took hold. But the cast and crew used the opportunity to raise an astonishing amount of money to support their fellow actors statewide.

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2020 True West Awards: Secret Gardeners

The Town Hall Arts Center salvaged a postponed staging of 'Almost Heaven' by moving it to the lovely outdoor environs of The Hudson Gardens, but it took a heroic nightly effort by an uncommon crew that included the company's Education, Marketing and Development managers, along with volunteers and other staff.

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2020 True West Awards: 'Amplify'

'Amplify” was the Arvada Center's proactive response to the racial reckoning in America that has arisen from the murder of George Floyd.

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2020 True West Awards: Denis Berkfeldt

Truth was just strange as fiction when longtime Democratic politico Denis Berkfeldt took on – and conquered – the role of dishonored Republican President Richard Nixon in Vintage Theatre’s 'Frost/Nixon.'

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2020 True West Awards: 'Reclaiming One Star'

No one who attended the Colorado New Play Summit in February could have realistically expected the team’s 88-years of entrenchment to crumble just a few months later. It’s just nice when the timing on these things works out just right.

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2020 True West Awards: William Hahn and Jessica Robblee

Even had more than 500 Colorado theatre productions not been canceled this year, theatregoers surely would still be remembering Jessica Robblee and William Hahn's performances in the Miners Alley Playhouse's "Frankie and Johnny at the Clair de Lune."

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2020 True West Awards: Lisa Wagner Erickson

Local playwright Lisa Wagner Erickson co-founded Theater 29 as a space where a network of self-producing playwrights would have the freedom to create, collaborate, develop and produce their own plays. The COVID shutdown has barely slowed her down.

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