When Tyee Tilghman first stepped onto the stage at Curious six years ago — having been lured from Washington, D.C., by artistic director Chip Walton — it was clear Denver had attracted an actor of rare grace and intelligence. He returned the next year, intending to stay six months, and stayed five years, earning a Best of Denver award in 2009. Tilghman found Curious’s approach revelatory: “Having talkbacks, being able to have a dialogue with the community. There’s so much I learned about myself as an actor, what theater should do, how different people approach the world.”

Now, Tilghman has been accepted into the master’s program of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Visiting ACT for his audition, he was inspired. But he needs to raise $10,000 to get there, and it’s indicative of the community’s belief in him that three of Denver’s most respected actors stepped forward to help: Mare Trevathan, GerRee Hinshaw and Rhonda Lee Brown have set up TTFR: The Tyee Tilghman FundRaiser for tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at Curious, 1080 Acoma Street.

“It’s ironic to be supporting the Denver arts community by trying to kick somebody out of it,” says Trevathan, but Denver simply doesn’t present the professional opportunities Tilghman needs. And he hopes to return at some point. “This is home, he says. “It’s like going back and visiting family, and they’re going to give you the kind of love you need to continue.”

Tickets, $19.99 in advance or $24.99 at the door, include improv, carnival games, silly auctions, food and drink. For more information, go to www.tyeetilghman.com.
Sun., July 25, 6-9 p.m., 2010

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Juliet Wittman is an investigative reporter and critic with a passion for theater, literature, social justice and food. She has reviewed theater for Westword for over a decade; for many years, she also reviewed memoirs for the Washington Post. She has won several journalism awards and published essays and short stories in literary magazines. Her novel, Stocker's Kitchen, can be obtained at select local bookstores and on Amazon.
Contact: Juliet Wittman