Jim Hunt is one of the most respected, well-reviewed and best-loved actors in the Denver area. He has given memorable performances as a wheedling tramp in Harold Pinter's The Caretaker; a foppish musician in Bach at Leipzig; the loving, baffled father of Eurydice, who has passed into the land of the dead in Sarah Ruhl's beautiful play of the same name; and James Tyrone in Long Day's Journey Into Night, for which he received a Best of Denver nod from Westword. Last night at the Colorado Theater Guild's Henry Awards, he was given an award for lifetime achievement in theater.
"It's kind of fortuitous turning seventy and having this award happen," he says. "I guess I would be lying if I didn't say ... It doesn't feel ominous, but you think, This is very late in life when you get one of these. Should you be alarmed? And I'm still so busy. In the last thirty months I've been in thirteen shows. Five a year for the last couple of years, and every year in different venues. I love the opportunities I get. And at my age, I thank my lucky stars every day that my brain still holds words. That is the deal breaker. If you can't remember lines, you don't get to play any more.
"The award does feel like a milestone," he continues. "I really have been doing theater in Colorado for a long time. I lived in Michigan for three years after college, but I came back here in the summers and was still part of the theater scene as an audience member. I moved back and performed at the old Gaslight, and saw there was good theater happening here: The Changing Scene, Theatre Under Glass.
"I went through my bout with stage fright in the mid- to late 1980s, and it was really Josh Hartwell (an actor, playwright and director) who got me back into theater in 2001 with a production of Never the Sinner at Theatre on Broadway. That was an annealing moment somehow. From then on, theater moved back into the center of my life," Hunt says.
"The award is wonderful, and I'm going to keep working. I'm scheduled to do After the Revolution for Curious. Later in fall, I'll be rehearsing The Woman in Black for Breckenridge. I would love to do Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest someday, and I wouldn't mind another shot at James Tyrone. I don't have an ambition to do Shakespeare -- King Lear, for instance -- and I'm not sure why. There's tons of it stuck in my head. It would terrify me and I think it's probably just the legend and the poetry and not wanting to get a single word wrong," he confesses.
"I'm not saying I would turn it down."
Keep reading for the rest of the Henry Awards list. The Colorado Theatre Guild is a non-profit devoted to supporting the theater community, at the same time it provides the public with information, access and opportunities relating to live theater events across Colorado. For the Henry Awards -- named after legendary Denver theater figure Henry Lowenstein -- local critics and other members of the community vote on productions along the Front Range. Last night's awards event, the eighth annual ceremony, was held at the Arvada Center. And the winners are...
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2012-2013 CTG HENRY AWARDS
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical RUTH GOTTSCHALL Sense & Sensibility The Musical, Denver Center Theatre Company
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical THOMAS RAINEY Kiss of the Spider Woman, Lake Dillon Theatre Company
Outstanding Sound Design Tier 1 BRIAN FREELAND The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Curious Theatre Company
Outstanding Sound Design Tier 2 ADAM STONE Wake, Buntport Theater
Outstanding Lighting Design Tier 1 SHANNON MCKINNEY Man of La Mancha, Arvada Center
Outstanding Lighting Design Tier 2 JACOB M. WELCH Kiss of the Spider Woman, Lake Dillon Theatre Company
Outstanding Costume Design Tier 1 CHRIS CAMPBELL Man of La Mancha, Arvada Center
Outstanding Costume Design Tier 2 LINDA MORKEN The Wizard of Oz, Boulder's Dinner Theatre
Outstanding Scenic Design Tier 1 BRIAN MALLGRAVE Man of La Mancha, Arvada Center
Outstanding Scenic Design Tier 2 ABSTER PRODUCTIONS August: Osage County, Abster Productions
Outstanding Choreography KITTY SKILLMAN HILSABECK Man of La Mancha, Arvada Center
Outstanding Ensemble Performance HAIR Town Hall Arts Center Nick Sugar, Director; Donna K. Debreceni, Musical Direction
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play JEANNE PAULSEN Romeo & Juliet, Denver Center Theatre Company
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play BOB MOORE The Sunshine Boys, Lake Dillon Theatre Company
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical SuCh The Color Purple, Aurora Fox Theatre
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical JOSHUA BLANCHARD Kiss of the Spider Woman, Lake Dillon Theatre Company
Outstanding New Play SWEET TOOTH Written by Buntport Theater Ensemble Buntport Theater
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play LAURA NORMAN Ghost-Writer, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play JONATHAN FARWELL Amadeus, OpenStage Theatre & Company Outstanding Direction of a Play ROBERT WELLS The 39 Steps, Town Hall Arts Center
Outstanding Musical Direction DAVID NEHLS Man of La Mancha, Arvada Center
Outstanding Direction of a Musical ROD A. LANSBERRY Man of La Mancha, Arvada Center Outstanding Production of a Play THE BROTHERS SIZE Curious Theatre Company Dee Covington, Director
Outstanding Production of a Musical MAN OF LA MANCHA Arvada Center Rod Lansberry, Director; David Nehls, Musical Direction
Outstanding Season for a Theatre Company CURIOUS THEATRE COMPANY
Lifetime Achievement in Theatre JIM HUNT
Outstanding Regional Theatre THEATREWORKS COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO Outstanding Volunteer RANDY DIPNET
Advocate for Theatre Arts Education COLORADO STATE THESPIANS