Mark Collins on Theater: Broadway in Boulder, CU's ATLAS Center to host workshops
The last time Jennifer Rudin, head of casting for Disney Theatrical Productions, came to town, seven local actors caught her eye and ended up getting auditions for a handful of national Disney productions. One local teen, Aida Neitenbach, eventually landed a role in the national Broadway tour of "Mary Poppins."
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Rudin is coming back to Boulder March 8 and 9 to conduct a workshop about what a casting agent does. No official word yet, but she could be on the lookout for more talent, too.
But, wait, there's more. A lot more.
Rudin's stop in Boulder is one of four weekend workshops hosted by Broadway in Boulder -- the theater arm of Parlando School for the Arts -- and the ATLAS Center for Arts, Media and Performance at CU. The four workshops, dubbed Directors Labs, will take place at the ATLAS Center on the CU campus.
One evening during each of the four workshops will be free and open to the public. The other half of each of the workshops will be devoted to the cast of "The Secret Garden," being produced by Broadway in Boulder and a host of other arts organizations in June at the ATLAS.
Broadway in Boulder's David Ayers and Angela Gaylor will direct "Garden," and they've used their New York connections to bring an impressive list of theater professionals to hold workshops in their respective areas of expertise during the Directors Labs series.
Also on tap in the Directors Labs are Kevin Stites (March 15-16), a Tony Award-winning conductor and musical director ("Les Miserables," "Sunset Boulevard," "Titanic," "Nine"), who will give a workshop on musical direction; Thomas Kail (March 22-23), director of Tony Award winning play "In The Heights," who will give a workshop on directing large-scale productions; and Eric Ludacer (March 30-31), designer for Cirque du Soleil, who will focus his workshop on technical aspects of multi-media productions.
Sixteen CU students will be given hands-on experience during each of the public workshops. In addition, up to 60 observers will be given the chance to attend on a first-come, first-served basis. (Visit www.colorado.edu/atlas/directorslabs for more information, including specific public workshop times.)
The Directors Labs came about when Ayers and Gaylor were looking for a venue to produce a large-scale version of "Garden," which will feature a cast of 35 locals. They wanted to take advantage of ATLAS' state-of-the-art technology and approached Rebekah West, the ATLAS Center for arts, media and performance director, about using the space.
West was game, but wanted to be sure the production would serve the university community, too. Ayers and Gaylor suggested bringing in the theater pros so CU students could get face time with them during the Directors Labs. The deal was set and Broadway in Boulder went about fundraising efforts to bring the pros to Boulder.
Not only is this a great opportunity for CU students and local theater artists to rub shoulders with heavy hitters in the industry, it's an example of what can happen when town and gown organizations work together. Going in, the Directors Labs look like a win-win situation.
Sometimes, we in the arts community become territorial and horde our resources, when looking for ways to share and collaborate makes so much more sense. So, a big bravo to Broadway in Boulder and the ATLAS Center for figuring out a way to put these workshops together.
Time out for a book
Don Fried is one of the hardest-working souls in the local theater scene. He's done tech work, publicity and acted for Theater Company of Lafayette (he's currently on stage in TCL's Lincoln/Darwin play fest through Saturday.)
He's directed at the Boulder International Fringe Festival and has had his plays produced there, at California Actors Theatre and TCL. (TCL will produce the world premiere of his play "Red Herring" in June). He's also involved in Rising Stage, a local troupe devoted to new plays.
Fried's play "Shakespeare Incorporated," a comedy that wanders into the debate about who really authored "Hamlet," "Othello" and the rest, was recently awarded first prize for full-lengths in the Rocky Mountain Theater Association's 2009 playwriting competition.
Barely stopping to catch his breath, Fried recently published a book he and his son, David, wrote, titled "Ups and Downs." The humorous tome chronicles a father and son's treks through the European Alps.
Fried will appear for a book signing and to read excerpts from "Ups and Downs" at TCL, 300 E. Simpson St., Lafayette, at 3 p.m. March 8. Half of the proceeds from book sales during the event will go to help TCL upgrade its lighting equipment. Visit www.upsanddownsbook.com for more information.
For the first time in its 51-year history, the Longmont Theatre Company will present an evening of reader's theater March 20. The evening is titled "Remembrance," and it features two plays. "Piece of Mind" looks at how Alzheimer's affects both patients and those around them, and "Night Visits" is billed as a "study of healing painful memories."
Director Stephany Roscoe said if people show enough interest, LTC may plan more reader's theater.
"Remembrance," which will be a fundraiser for LTC, takes place at 7:30 p.m. March 20. Tickets are $10. Visit www.longmonttheatre.org for more information.
Contact Camera Theater Critic Mark Collins at 303-473-1369 or BDCTheater@comcast.net.