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Best Of 2012


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Best Of :: Arts & Entertainment

Best Comic Triple Threat

Caitlin Wise was a student at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' now-closed National Theatre Conservatory, and audiences first saw her in smaller roles at the Denver Center Theatre Company. This season, she rose to prominence in a trio of performances, starting with her portrayal of Hermia in the DCTC's A Midsummer Night's Dream. A comic in the zany, irrepressible tradition of Lucille Ball, Wise has huge, startled eyes and upspringing red curls, and her gift for physical comedy became clear when, as a rookie cop in Creede Rep's Unnecessary Farce (performance at the Lone Tree Arts Center), she had to navigate a room while gagged and bound; she also had problems with handcuffs, self-defense, guns and pretty much everything else — except for doughnuts — that your average cop encounters. And as Cecily in the Arvada Center's The Importance of Being Earnest, she showed no deference at all to the classic status of the play or the elaborate English manners it so cleverly spoofs, but gave the role an entirely contemporary freshness, playfulness and bounce.

Best Act of Selflessness

We take care of our own. While this notion has always held true in Denver, the sentiment was never driven home more convincingly than when 3 Kings Tavern co-owner Jim Norris was unexpectedly hospitalized after being bitten by a brown recluse spider. Norris spent nearly a week in the hospital, racking up a mountain of bills. But soon after news of his dilemma spread, a number of good friends, including Jerri Thiel and John Baxter, organized a series of benefits for the local music champion, and tons of bands stepped in to lend a hand. Way to go, Denver.

Best Act to Preserve Local Music History

When the property that once held Time Capsule Studios — the iconic recording facility where a number of classic Denver albums were recorded — went into foreclosure and was taken over by the bank last May, Martin Anderson, a real-estate agent charged with overseeing the sale of the building, discovered what he suspected to be master recording reels left behind. Sensing that these tapes might contain irreplaceable recordings — with sentimental value for those who recorded them, if nothing else — he made arrangements for the tapes to be salvaged by Haylar Garcia, whose band Hippie Werewolves had recorded at Time Capsule, and whose Decibel Garden Studios agreed to serve as custodian of the reels at no charge. As a result, classic recordings from the likes of the Fluid and Christie Front Drive were saved.

Best Actor in a Comedy

Wealthy Victor is living the expatriate's dream in 1960s Europe, but he's very, very sad, nonetheless: His mistress Louise has just refused his offer of marriage. So he has come to the elegant cafe he owns in Paris intending to starve himself to death. The staff is horrified. They suggest feeding him an imaginary banquet, plate by luscious plate, in hopes of changing his mind. As Victor in the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's production of An Empty Plate in the Cafe de Grand Boeuf, John Arp sampled each imaginary dish judiciously (Arp is actually a trained chef), and while he did, he dictated his obituary to the distressed waiter. This is a character who could easily seem tedious and narcissistic, but Arp played him with such warmth and intelligence that you couldn't help hoping Louise would accept him — and that he'd have a bite to eat.

Best Actor in a Drama
Sean Scrutchins

9 Circles, which had its regional premiere at Curious Theatre Company, is based on a real-life atrocity in Iraq: an incident in which a United States soldier entered a family home, raped and killed the fourteen-year-old daughter, killed both her parents and her six-year-old sister, then attempted to burn her body. Taking us into this man's mind is a serious challenge. As Daniel Reeves, Sean Scrutchins needed to be twitchy and almost blurrily out of focus at first, and then, by turns, difficult, belligerent, humorous, unaware and in a state of deep denial. Scrutchins was all this — and then he took us by the throat for the play's terrifying final scene, shaking us out of our complacency and then setting us back down again, forever changed.

1080 Acoma St., Denver, 80204
Best Actor in a Musical
Tyrone Robinson

The character of Coalhouse Walker towers over the musical Ragtime, a panoramic take on the history of the early twentieth century based on the E.L. Doctorow novel. We are shown Walker's patient and ultimately victorious courtship of Sarah, the mother of his child; his pride, the insults he endures, and then his violent radicalization. When the actor scheduled to play Walker developed throat problems, understudy Tyrone Robinson took over the role of Walker a short time before Ragtime opened at the Arvada Center for the Arts. Tall and imposing, cocky and vulnerable, he gave full expression to the character's fierce tenderness and ambiguous morality, and his powerful, expressive voice commanded the stage.

6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada, 80003

Best Comic Triple Threat: Caitlin Wise


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