Curious Theatre to Open RANCHO MIRAGE on Halloween

Curious Theatre to Open RANCHO MIRAGE on Halloween

Curious Theatre Company, in association with the National New Play Network (NNPN), presents Steven Dietz's Rancho Mirage, directed by Artistic Company Member Christopher Leo. The production runs October 31 - December 7, 2013 at 1080 Acoma Street, Denver. The opening night is November 2, 2013, at 8 p.m.

From the playwright of Yankee Tavern comes a World Premiere of hilarious proportions. When six longtime friends gather for one final dinner party, the evening unfolds with sidesplitting surprises, alarming secrets and shocking bombshells that none of them will soon forget. Dietz's dark comedy asks what connects us when our youth, our dreams and our last bottle of wine are gone?

The National New Play Network created the Continued Life of New Plays Fund (CLNPF), to develop an alternative-producing model, and change the way theaters and audiences understand the term "world premiere." A flagship program, CLNPF supports three or more theaters that choose to mount the same new play within a twelve-month period. The result is a "Rolling World Premiere" through which the playwright develops a new work with at least three different creative teams, for three different communities of patrons, ensuring the resulting play is of the highest possible quality. And, with a minimum of three productions in a single year, the play attains the momentum it needs to join the repertoire of frequently-produced new American works.

"It's always an exciting venture to participate in a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere, and to play our own role in launching an exciting new play into the American Theatre. And it's doubly exciting to collaborate again with playwright and Denver native Steven Dietz, who with this show now ranks as the most-produced playwright in the history of Curious," says Producing Artistic Director Chip Walton. "At once both hilarious and thoughtful, Rancho Mirage is a great showcase for our artistic company members, as well as a theatre experience for our audiences that you won't find anywhere else in Colorado."

The cast includes Curious Artistic Company Members Bill Hahn*, C. Kelly Leo*, David Russell, Erik Sandvold*, and Karen Slack along with Emily Paton Davies and Devon James.

The creative team includes Curious Artistic Company Members Christopher Leo*, Kevin Brainerd** and Richard Devin as well as Ann Piano, Brian Freeland and Kristin Hamer.

Christopher Leo* (Director) has been a Curious Artistic Company Member since 2003 and has directed Circle Mirror Transformation (Best Theater Production, Westword's Best of Denver, The Denver Post's Best Production of a Comedy Ovation Awards nomination, The Denver Post Best Director Ovation Awards nomination ) End Days (The Denver Post Best Production of a Drama Ovation Awards nomination),the first five seasons of Denver Stories, Arcadia, Red Herring, A Folded Flag, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, Four Dogs and a Bone, Pig (Back Stage West Garland citation for Direction, Westword's Best of Denver), Betrayal, The Common Pursuit, Leonardo's Last Supper and Noonday Demons. As an actor at Curious he has appeared in Paris on the Platte (The Denver Post Ovation Award nomination), Inventing Van Gogh (Westword's Best of Denver Best Supporting Actor in a Drama award), as The Man in Nickel and Dimed (Out Front Colorado's Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy award) and as Limping Man in Fuddy Meers. He has also appeared in Cyrano de Bergerac (Denver Center Theatre Company), In the Heart of America (Denver Drama Critics' Circle Best Supporting Actor), American Buffalo (Westword's Best of Denver Best Actor award, DDCC Best Actor Nomination), The Elephant Man (DDCC Best Actor nomination), Buried Child, Tartuffe, Marat/Sade, The Homecoming, Hurlyburly and Major Barbara. He attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and has a BA in English Literature from CU-Denver. He is a proud member of the Actors' Equity Association.

Steven Dietz (Playwright) has written thirty-plus plays that have been produced at regional theaters across the United States, as well as Off-Broadway. International productions of his work have been seen in England, Japan, Germany, France, Australia, Sweden, Russia, Slovenia, Argentina, Peru, Greece, Singapore and South Africa. Recent plays include the widely-produced thriller, Yankee Tavern; the Steinberg Award finalist, Becky's New Car; the Pulitzer-nominated Last of the Boys (produced by Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago); and the Edgar Award-winning Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure (from William Gillette and Arthur Conan Doyle). Other plays include Fiction (produced Off-Broadway by Roundabout Theatre Company), Shooting Star, Inventing Van Gogh, The Nina Variations, Private Eyes, Halcyon Days, God's Country and Lonely Planet (PEN-USA Award for Drama). Mr. Dietz's work as a director has been seen at many of America's leading regional theaters. He divides his time between Seattle and Austin, where he is a professor at the University of Texas.

Emily Paton Davies (Pam Caldwell) returns to Curious after appearing in Dead Man's Cell Phone. Emily has performed with theatre companies throughout Colorado for more than a decade. She has received critical acclaim from The Denver Post, Westword, Rocky Mountain News, Out Front Colorado and other publications. Emily received her second Henry Award nomination in 2012 from the Colorado Theatre Guild for Outstanding Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Beth in A Lie of the Mind (Paragon Theatre), she won the 2007 Henry Award in the same category for her work in Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (Paragon Theatre).

Bill Hahn* (Nick Dahner) is an Artistic Company Member at Curious Theatre Company where he appeared as Max in Becky Shaw, Everett K. Olsen in The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Gordon in Dead Man's Cell Phone, Dorian in Opus and Ralph in Frozen. Other local roles include James Nagamanee in Escanaba: 1922 (The Aurora Fox Art Center), the doomed physicist Harold in K2 (The Aurora Fox Art Center), Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird (Denver Center Theatre Company) and Mike in A Lie of the Mind (Paragon Theatre). His feature film credits include Looking for Sunday, Skills like This and the title character, Will, in A Test of Wills. Over the past few years he has been the recipient of a Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award, The Denver Post Ovation Award and Westword's Best of Denver.

Devon James (Julie) returns to Curious Theatre Company after portraying Mandy in Time Stands Still. Her other local credits include Annelle in Steel Magnolias (Senior Housing Options), Lisa in Collected Stories (Miners Alley Playhouse), Emily in Dividing the Estate (Arvada Center), Garland/Grammy/FBI/ Pregnant Mouse/Bully in Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse (Denver Children's Theatre), Understudy/Ellie Dunn/Servant in Heartbreak House (Denver Center Theatre Company) along with various roles in Curious New Voices and The Athena Project. Devon is represented by Radical Artists Talent Agency and teaches for The Aurora Fox Art Center/Denver Center Theatre Academy. She holds an MFA from the University of Southern Mississippi and a BFA from the University of Central Oklahoma.

C. Kelly Leo* (Diane Dahner) is an Artistic Company member at Curious Theatre Company where she recently appeared as Jenna/Ellen in Maple and Vine and previously as Betsy/Lindsey in Clybourne Park, Hermia in Dead Man's Cell Phone, Lil' Bit in How I Learned to Drive and Claire in Proof. Other favorite roles include Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible (Arvada Center), Babe in Crimes of the Heart (Town Hall Arts Center), Viola in Twelfth Night (Phoenix Theatre), Antigone in Antigone (Germinal Stage Denver), Lemon in Aunt Dan and Lemon (Germinal Stage Denver) and Marigold in The Common Pursuit (CityStage Ensemble). Her work has been recognized by The Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards, BackStage West Magazine, Best of Westword, The Denver Post Ovation Awards, Out Front Colorado's Marlowe Awards and Denver Drama Critic's Circle. Leo has a BFA from the University of Colorado.

David Russell (Trevor Neese) is an Artistic Company Member at Curious Theatre Company, where recently he was seen in the role of Richard in Time Stands Still. Previous appearances with Curious include Opus, Curse of the Starving Class, End Days, Take Me Out and The Rest of the Night. Scenic Design credits at Curious include Praying for Rain and Coyote on a Fence. Scenic build credits are numerous. Russell has been active in Denver theatre since 1995, appearing in The Blue Room, Poor Superman, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Psycho Beach Party (The Theatre Group), I Hate Hamlet, Philadelphia Story (Arvada Center), The Young Man from Atlanta (The Aurora Fox Art Center) and Prometheus (Denver Center Theatre Company).

Erik Sandvold* (Charlie Caldwell) is a member of Curious Theatre Company's Artistic Council. Among the many shows in which he has appeared at Curious are God of Carnage, 9 Circles, Clybourne Park, Up, Homebody/Kabul, Opus, Rabbit Hole, The War Anthology, Fuddy Meers, Closer, Take Me Out (The Denver Post Ovation Award, Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedic Role) and I Am My Own Wife (The Denver Post Ovation Award, Best Solo Performance). Sandvold has worked often with other leading theatre companies in Colorado, in productions such as When We Are Married, Well, Plainsong, The Diary of Anne Frank, A Flea in Her Ear (Denver Center Theatre Company), Moonlight and Magnolias, Arsenic and Old Lace, 1940's Radio Hour (Arvada Center), Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night and The Rivals (Colorado Shakespeare Festival). Erik performed the new, one-actor musical Bubs (The Denver Post Ovation Award, Best Solo Performance) at The New York International Fringe Festival and narrated all the Harry Potter books for The Library of Congress. He is an alumnus of Northwestern University.

Karen Slack (Louise Parker Neese) is an Artistic Company Member at Curious Theatre Company and has appeared in several productions including The Long Christmas Ride Home, 9 Parts of Desire, Eurydice, Homebody/Kabul, 9 Circles, Maple and Vine and most recently God of Carnage. Slack is also a Resident Acting Company member with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival where she has appeared as Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Other favorite roles include Frida Kahlo in Painted Bread (Theatre on Broadway), Piper Cummington in Dnc Mediamockracy (Listen Productions), Berthe Morisot in Morisot Reclining (Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company) and The Syringa Tree (Alliance Stage, TheatreWorks, Town Hall Arts Center, Backstage Theatre). She has received awards and recognition from The Denver Post, Best of Westword and the Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards, among others. Slack received her training at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and HB Studio in New York.

Chip Walton (Producing Artistic Director) founded Curious Theatre Company in 1997 and has served as Producing Artistic Director for the entire history of the organization. Named Denver's "2005 Theatre Person of the Year," he has directed 35 shows for Curious over the past 16 years, and his work has garnered more than 50 local and national awards. In 2008, Curious was honored with the Mayor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. Walton has served as the President of the National New Play Network, a network of 25 theatres across the country dedicated to the development and production of new plays for the American theatre. Walton was also selected for the inaugural class of Livingston Fellows, as one of five individuals from across Colorado selected by the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation as exceptional non-profit leaders with significant potential for contribution, change and leadership in Colorado's nonprofit sector. He has directed in the National New Play Network Showcase of New Plays, the Kennedy Center's MFA Playwriting Festival in Washington, D.C. and accepted a National Theatre Company Award in New York for Curious from the prestigious American Theatre Wing. Most recently, Walton participated in the Visiting Professionals program at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and currently serves on the Leadership Group for Imagine 2020: Creating a Future for Denver's Culture.

Performances are October 31 - December 7, 2013. The opening performance is on November 2, 2013 at 8 p.m. Curtain times are Thursday - Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 - $44 and are available at the Box Office, 1080 Acoma Street, Denver; 303.623.0524 or online at curioustheatre.org.

Discussions with artistic staff and cast members will follow all performances on November 7 - December 6, 2013.

CURIOUS 360 - AUDIENCE ENRICHMENT EVENTS:

October 26, 2013 at 11 a.m.
PEEK AT PROCESS
Location: Curious Theatre Company
Price: $10

Curious Theatre Company invites you to join Producer Artistic Director Chip Walton and Artistic Company Member Christy Montour-Larson as they take a closer look behind developing and producing new plays, the National New Play Network, and Rolling World Premieres. After, join them for a private behind the scenes peek at the live technical rehearsal for Rancho Mirage.

November 10 and 17, 2013 at 11:30 a.m.
WALK EAT PLAY
Location: Curious Theatre Company
Package: $70

Join an Artistic Company Member for a guided WALK with Michael Eban, Project Manager on the Restoration of the historic Evans School in the Golden Triangle Neighborhood. Architect David Dryden designed the Evans School in 1904 as a "point of beauty, utility, accommodations and appointments". Today, the building embraces historical function and architectural charm with modern day office features and systems. Then head to Charcoal Restaurant to EAT a delicious family-style brunch, and end your experience with the PLAY Rancho Mirage at Curious Theatre Company.

November 22, 2013 at 6 p.m.
COCKTAILS & PLAYWRIGHTS
Location: Curious Theatre Company
Package: $52

Throughout our 16 year history here at Curious, no playwright has had more productions than Denver-native Steven Dietz. Enjoy wine and appetizers, and then join the playwright of Rancho Mirage and Producing Artistic Director Chip Walton for an intimate pre-show conversation about the development of this new play, their longtime artistic collaboration, and the current state of new work in the American theatre.

About Curious Theatre Company: "No guts, no story" embodies the ethos of Curious Theatre Company. Established 16 years ago by a vanguard Artistic Company that has since grown to more than 30 professional actors, designers, and directors at its core, Curious brings the best new theatre to Denver, producing thought-provoking plays designed to challenge ideas, stir emotions, and leave audiences talking.

Under the artistic leadership of founding Producing Artistic Director Chip Walton, Curious Theatre Company reaches more than 17,500 individuals each year through: five main-stage productions; the innovative Curious New Voices youth education program; the unique Denver Stories original play commissions that honor area luminaries; and a range of Curious 360º audience enrichment activities.

A recipient of more than one hundred local and national awards, Curious includes among its most prized accolades the 2011 Denver Post Ovation Award for Best Year by a Theatre Company, 5280 Magazine 2011 Top of the Town Editor's Choice for Best Theatre Company, Westword Reader's Choice for Best Theatre in 2012, and the 2013 Colorado Theatre Guild's award for Outstanding Season.

Actors' Equity Association (AEA) was founded in 1913 as the first of the American actor unions. Equity's mission is to advance, promote, and foster the art of Live Theatre as an essential component of our society. Today, Equity represents more than 45,000 actors, singers, dancers and stage managers working in hundreds of theatres across the United States. Equity members are dedicated to working in the theatres as a profession, upholding the highest artistic standards. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions and provides a wide range of benefits including health and pension plans for its members. Through its agreement with Equity, this theatre has committed to the fair treatment of the actors and stage managers employed in this production. AEA is a member of the AFL-CIO and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of the performing arts unions.

*Member of Actors' Equity Association.

**Member of United Scenic Artists Union

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