Jan 31, 2011

"The Producers" Opens to Applause and Guffaws

In this record-setting 75th Anniversary year, the Fine Arts Center Theatre Company has already sold more tickets to The Producers than last May's season finale, Crazy For You. The Producers opened last Friday.

Tracy Mobley-Martinez gave strong praise to the production:
Mounting this spectacle of non-stop singing, dancing and intricate patter requires guts and extensive resources. First-time Fine Arts Center director Steve Emily delivers in spades — with some impressive production values, confident direction and dazzling performances by nearly every member of the large cast. It’s probably the best production I’ve seen in the SaGāJi Theatre in the past two years.

Don Ward wrote on the KKTV blog that "Cory Moosman and Mark Lively are terrific as Max and Leo, the two producers. These are pretty demanding roles…and these two make the audience like them even as they scheme to steal. Alannah Moore manages to mix silly and sexy in just the right amounts as Ulla."

Bryce Crawford at The Independent attended the invited dress rehearsal and blogged about his and Matthew Schniper's experience at the show:
Though it was the cast's first time in front of an audience, and a dress-rehearsal to boot, they killed it, nailing line after line of Mel Brooks' twisty dialogue.
A note for your Valentine's weekend planning: If you haven't purchased tickets yet, take heart. There's plenty of Mel Brooks love to go around.

The Producers, now playing through Feb. 20, 2011!

Announcing Scott Levy as the new FAC Performing Arts Director

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center announces the appointment of Scott R.C. Levy as Producing Artistic Director of the Fine Arts Center Theatre Company and director of the performing arts department.

Levy has served as the Producing Artistic Director at the Penobscot Theatre in Bangor, Maine, since 2005, where he doubled box office receipts producing a seven-show season and directing many of the productions. Prior to his tenure in Maine, Levy was the co-producer of the Playwrights Horizons Theater School at New York University (2001-2005), and was a teaching artist with the Guggenheim Museum (1999-2005).

Levy will begin his duties at the FAC on Monday, June 6.

• As a director, actor and/or producer, Levy has worked on, off and off-off Broadway, at the New York and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals and in over 60 cities across the United States and Canada.

• He developed a New Play Festival at the Penobscot Theatre, called Northern Writes, which receives submissions from around the country. The festival is now in its fifth year.

• The Penobscot Theatre also offers numerous workshops for all ages as well as the Penobscot Youth Theatre program.

• He holds a Master’s in Arts degree in Educational Theatre and a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in Acting, both from New York University.

• Levy has sought collaborative partnerships within the arts and culture community, by co-founding and chairing, Bangor Arts, and serving as Vice-Chair of the Great Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau.

• For his work at Penobscot Theatre, Levy has received the community revitalization award from Maine Preservation, the organizational impact award from the Bangor CVB, Fusion Bangor’s Horizon Award and named to MaineBiz’s NEXT list, as one of the top 10 people shaping the future of Maine’s economy.

ArtBar: The Return of a Monthly Social Event

Dear Social Events Enthusiasts:

We heard you. On Feb. 23, please join us for ArtBar, the return of monthly social gatherings at the FAC!

Wed, Feb. 23 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

$5.00 for FAC members | $15.00 for non-members.
All admissions include one glass of wine or one mixed drink.

  • Local live music

  • A tasty 10-minute ArtBite with Museum Director Blake Milteer

  • Tapas and appetizers available from Amuze in the Deco Lounge

  • A free drink ticket with each admission

You won't want to miss this opportunity to mix and mingle with fellow arts enthusiasts while enjoying local live music.


Phil Volan and Joleen Bell
Beautifully crafted original compositions and cover for maily fingerstyle guitar and vocals. Phil earned second place at the prestigious National Fingerstyle Guitar Championships in 2002. "This is acoustic guitar at its best." -- Black Rose

Museum Director Blake Milteer takes 10 minutes to explain a masterpiece.

Jan 27, 2011

Amuzé at the FAC Valentine’s Day Dinners

Five-Course Valentine’s Chefs Menu | Feb. 11-14 | 5-9 p.m.
Amuzé invites you to savor the romance of a decadent dinner enjoyed in the Art Deco ambience of the FAC. The aphrodisiac-inspired menu brings you lovingly prepared food in five delightful courses.

Reservations required. 719.477.4377
Prix Fixe: $75 per person

Amuse Bouche (First Bite)
Black Sesame Cone with whipped Cambozola Cheese and Globe Grape

Course 1
Panko Crusted Fried Oysters with Chimichurri Sauce and Thai Bird Pepper Syrup

Course 2
Demitasse of Pheasant Consommé

Course 3
Hand Held Caesar Salad with Pear and Candied Pecan

Course 4 (choice of)
- Salmon Wellington with Sautéed Spinach and Artichoke finished with Perigueux Sauce
- Colorado Rack of Lamb with Carrot Asparagus Bundle, Celeriac Puree, and Maderia Demi Glace
- Four Cheese Manicotti with Porcini and Black Truffle Mushroom Marinara

Course 5 (choice of)
- Molten Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Coulis and Crème Anglaise
- Apple Tartlet with Vanilla Ice Cream
- New Mexican Red Chili Crème Brulee

Jan 26, 2011

In Mel We Trust: Steve Emily on Mel Brooks

Well, here we are – just a day out from The Producers opening.
They say the one constant in life is change. That goes for rehearsals, as well – things are constantly changing, constantly evolving. Well, except for one thing - our company motto: “In Mel We Trust.” You see, as far as this production goes, Mel is God. Mel is Vishnu. Mel is Buddha. Mel is, simply, THE MAN.

I think when you’re talking about Mel Brooks, a quote from “Death of a Salesman” isn’t out of line: “Attention must be paid.” If you are a fan of comedy, I don’t think you can help but pay attention to Mel Brooks. He’s one of the last of the lions – the ones who helped create the golden age of television. He helped change the landscape of film comedy. He turned Broadway on its ear at the age of 75. Let me put it this way, there are only 10 people in history who have won an Oscar, a Grammy, an Emmy and a Tony.

Yep, one of those 10 is Mel. That ain’t luck. That, my friends, is sheer, unadulterated talent. And that kind of talent is a rare bird indeed.

Here’s a little tidbit to think on ... on the American Film Institute’s list of the greatest comedies of all time, Mel Brooks takes up three slots in the Top 15. Not even Chaplin or the Marx Brothers can claim that. Talent, plain and simple.

A word of advice: trust Mel.

--Steve Emily, The Producers director

In case you've missed this Mel Brooks short, you only need to take three minutes and 24 seconds out of your day to catch "The Critic."

Jan 25, 2011

Theatre Auditions: 1776

Tues. Feb. 15 | 6 p.m.
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company, located at 30 W. Dale Street, Colorado Springs, is holding open auditions for the Tony Award winning musical 1776.

To schedule an appointment, please call 719.477.4387 and leave a message stating your name and contact phone number. Your call will be returned as soon as possible.
1776 will be performed May 13 - June 5, 2011 with rehearsals starting in March.

At this time all roles are available. All roles are paid. Those interested in auditioning should prepare 16-32 bars of a standard or contemporary musical theatre song that best shows off your range.

Actors should also bring a Headshot, Resume, and Sheet Music in the correct key. The use of boom boxes will not be allowed.

Out of town actors as well as members of Actors Equity Association are welcome to audition. We do offer a limited number of Equity Guest Artist Tier II contracts.

To schedule an appointment, please call 719.477.4387 and leave a message stating your name and contact phone number. Your call will be returned as soon as possible. For more information including character breakdown and vocal parts please visit our website at www.csfineartscenter.org/auditions.asp.

Call backs for 1776 will take place on Wednesday, February 16 starting at 6pm. If you pass the first audition you will be invited to attend the call back. If required, music sides and dialogue parts will be emailed to you in advance.

1776 will be directed by Tim Muldrew, Roberta Jacyshyn is musical director with choreography by Mary Ripper Baker.

Character Breakdown for 1776

Character Breakdown:


A young, war-shocked Courier





Adams' devoted, practical wife


The straggling custodian


1 of 3 Delegates from Pennsylvania


1 of 3 Delegates from Delaware




1 of 3 Delegates from Delaware


Delegate from New Hampshire


Delegate from Georgia


Delegate from South Carolina


1 of 3 Delegates from Delaware


1 of 3 Delegates from Pennsylvania


Delegate from Massachusetts


1 of 3 Delegates from Pennsylvania.


Cautious President of the Congress


Delegate from North Carolina


1 of 2 Delegates from New York


Jefferson's romantic young wife


Delegate from New Jersey


1 of 2 Delegates from Virginia


1 of 2 New York Delegates


Delegate from Connecticut


Delegate from Maryland


Delegate from Rhode Island


1 of 2 Delegates from Virginia

Jan 24, 2011

Bemis Art School Brings an FAC "Arts Day" to Eagleview Middle School

[Above: Eagleview Middle School students practice improvisation with the art of movement. Photo by Norm Renaud]

Bemis School of Art works to create strong community relationships inside and outside the walls of the Fine Arts Center. It is through Bemis's close ties to local schools that Eagleview Middle School invited Bemis and FAC staff to bring Arts Day to middle school students on Fri. Jan 21, 2011.

FAC staff showed up in force. Bemis staff and guest instructors Anne Roe, Lance Green, Kristin Byrd and Gabriella Christians joined Curatorial Assistant Joy Armstrong and FAC Docents, plus theatre instructors Max Ferguson and Leslie Aldridge.

FAC Docent Norm Renaud said the middle schoolers spent the entire day engaged in the variety of art activities that enhanced their regular curriculum. "Through experiences in acting, dance, hands-on artifacts, painting, costume design, curating, and more, they learned of new worlds outside of their textbooks and daily schoolwork," he added.

The entire middle school student body and faculty joined in the activities. Projects ranged from a geometric Mandala/Quilt project, to self-portrait paintings, relief print projects, drama exercises, and curatorial visual art projects.

FAC museum staffer Joy Armstrong worked with the youth to encourage them to think like museum curators. Teams selected works of art, explained why they chose the pieces, and tied their selections together with thematic titles.

"It was amazing to see some of these kids getting excited by thinking about how art communicates a message to other people, and really being creative with cool, exciting exhibition themes," said Armstrong.

One such exhibition exercise is pictured below. The student curators entitled their show "innocence" as their selection of works moved from simplistic shapes and colors to more intricate, challenging pieces.

[Photo by Becca Sickbert]

If you know a school interested in Arts Day programming or tours at the FAC, please contact the Bemis Art School office at 719.477.4345.

Jan 20, 2011

"The Producers" Rehearsal Video: "You Never Say Good Luck on Opening Night"

For a quick Opening Night etiquette primer, (not that you need it, of course) here's The Producers cast rehearsing "You Never Say Good Luck on Opening Night." Featuring cast members Halee Towne, Kerrin Mullen, Christian Robinson, Mark Lively, Cory Moosman, Allanah Moore, Brantley Scott Haines, Jonathan Eberhardt, Michael E. Gold and Sammy Gleason.

Are you ready for opening night? Buy tickets here. Reserve your Pre-Theatre dining seats by calling 719.477.4377!

Win tickets and drinks for two to "The Producers" at the Fine Arts Center

Want to win tickets and drinks for two to the FAC's latest musical extravaganza?

Tell us about your favorite Mel Brooks moment on the FAC's Facebook page by 1:11 p.m. on The Producers opening night--Friday, Jan. 28.

We'll select two winners who will each win a pair of tickets and tasty beverages, and then announce those that afternoon on or about 2:22 p.m. Extra points will be awarded to people who post their comments in video!
(Must be 21 or older to win.)

Here's a Mel Brooks moment from The Producers director Steve Emily:
I have a special fondness for the man we’ve come to know as “Uncle Mel.” When I was about 12 years old, my Granny and Grampa came up from southern Missouri to visit us in Iowa. It was during that visit that I was introduced to Mel Brooks. BLAZING SADDLES aired on HBO, and to this day, I can still see Grampa laughing hysterically and wiping away tears from his eyes during the campfire scene (If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about). I thought that anyone who could elicit that kind of reaction from Grampa was aces in my book. Granny, on the other hand, was borderline offended. Of course, that didn’t stop her from laughing until her teeth fell out.

Mel Brooks, like all the great comedians, isn’t afraid to cross the line and risk offending people. Frankly, the world is a much better place with people like him running around, poking his finger in the chest of social convention (Seriously – do you want to live in a world where people like Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks and Chris Rock don’t exist? I know I don’t). The great thing about Brooks is he does it all with a catchy tune and a smile on his face, and you find yourself laughing in spite of yourself.

The rules:

Facebook ticket winners will be selected from people who “Like” the Fine Arts Center’s page and write on the wall with their favorite Mel Brooks moment. Entrants understand that the FAC may use their stories for marketing promotions. Extra points will be awarded to people who submit video of their favorite "Mel Brooks Moment."

Winners will be notified on Facebook and tickets will be available for pick up at the Box Office or Will Call.

Winners must be 21 or older to win.

Jan 19, 2011

The Secret to Good Directing: Find a Great Stage Manager

People have asked me, “Dave, what’s the secret to good directing?”

Well, first I say, “My name’s not Dave.”

Then, I start quoting various theatrical geniuses and talk about the power of opposites, the history of Russian theatre, and … okay, you got me … no one has asked me about good directing. But if someone did, this is what I’d say:

“I have no bloody idea. But, get yourself a good Stage Manger, and the process will be much more pleasant and make you look like you know what you’re doing.”

I’m lucky to have a great SM – Dorothy Heedt. You see, she’s the Gilligan to my Skipper, the Robin to my Batman, the chocolate to my peanut butter, theatrically-speaking.

To be a good SM, you need to be extremely well-organized, flexible, patient, level-headed, and have a good sense of humor (and a hidden stash of bourbon doesn’t hurt). While I haven’t found the bourbon yet, she does have all the other qualifications.

I know that I can turn to her during a rehearsal and say, “Is that funny?” and she won’t mince words. I can also tell when a bit is working just from her reaction. If it gets a chuckle and a snort from Dorothy, it stays. Luckily, there’s been a lot of snorting going on. (My wife is a leg-slapper, so when these two get into the theatre, it’s going to be a leg-slapping snort-fest.) Dorothy has the tougher job: I just point and say, “Take it there,” and she steers and tries to avoid the icebergs.

Snorting all the way.

Jan 12, 2011

Jan 17 | Closed for MLK Day

The FAC and Bemis School of Art are closed Monday, January 17 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President's national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems.

Some of us will be participating in service projects around the community. Care to give your time? Check out these service projects around Colorado Springs!

FAC Public Forum on Art Censorship

Wed., Jan. 26, 2011 | 5:30 pm
FAC Music Roo
m | FREE and open to the public

Art can be a reflection of the world’s beauty. It can also be a provocative expression that goes so far as to offend moral sensibilities in service of calling our attention to contemporary social conditions. Over the past 25 years, perceptions of controversial content in art have led to censorship when either the artist or art museum has received public funding. Art censorship has ranged from locally-based examples to the halls of congress. Given recent instances of strong backlash toward museums exhibiting controversial art, the FAC is hosting a public forum in which we will consider questions on the meaning and cultural impact of censorship as well as the role of art museums in exhibiting the art of our times.

The forum will begin with a brief introduction to local and national examples of art censorship. Guest speakers will be:

Elissa Auther, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art, Director of the Art History Program, Department of Visual and Performing Arts, UCCS

Sam Gappmayer, Fine Arts Center President/CEO

Jan Martin, Colorado Springs City Council

Blake Milteer, Fine Arts Center Museum Director and Curator of American Art

Tracy Mobley-Martinez, Gazette Arts Writer

Jan 11, 2011

Steve Emily on directing "The Producers"

I know, I know.

Trust me, I’m just as surprised as you. In fact, I’m probably more surprised than anyone that I was asked if I would be interested in directing The Producers.

You see, I’m not the obvious choice for directing a musical. I’m more of a Mamet/Shepard kind of guy. Dirt-under-the-fingernails theatre. If you were to ask people around town, "Who is the least likely guy to direct a musical?" chances are, my name would pop up somewhere between Henry Kissinger and Mussolini (although, to be fair, rumor has it Mussolini had a rendition of “Send In the Clowns” that was stunning).

If you were to see me walking down the street, you probably wouldn’t say “Boy, I bet that guy is a tap-dancin’, showtune-beltin’ machine.” You’d say, “Boy, I bet that guy eats a lot of ham.”

Luckily, though, not going with the obvious is working out just fine, as far as I’m concerned. I’m having a blast working my way through the brain of Mel Brooks. Fortunately, I’ve been teamed up with a group of people that are beyond talented. Seriously. We’re talking crazy talented. Every night, I sit there and wonder “How are they doing that?”

It’s very cool to watch. It’s also fairly annoying. I’ve been doing theatre for over 25 years, and I’m seeing people pick up complicated dance routines in minutes. Routines that would take me months to learn. It’s humbling and sick.

Makes you want to grab a ham.

--Steve Emily, Director of The Producers opening Jan. 28 at the Fine Arts Center

[Image courtesy of Chris Chidsey and SXC.]

[Updated] Amuzé at the FAC Scotch Pairing Menu

Scotch Pairing Dinner
Jan 19, 2011 | 7:30 p.m. | $49
Reservations required 719.477.4377

Course 1

Brie and Pear Soup
Bunnahabhain 12 Year-Islay

Course 2
Coriander Crusted Seared Rare Tuna with Meyer Lemon Confit Jasmine Rice
Deanston 12 Year-Highland

Course 3
Lamb Chops with Coffee Chocolate Demi Glace, Celeriac Puree, and Roasted Brussel Sprouts Tobermory 15 Year-Isle of Mull

Course 4
Blueberry Almond Bread Pudding
Bunnahabhain 18 Year

Jan 4, 2011

2011: A Record-Setting Season!

The first two shows of the season, An Ideal Husband and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat set all-time theatre company attendance records.

The Oscar Wilde play An Ideal Husband became the highest attended play (nonmusical).

Joseph topped 2008's Beauty and the Beast as the company's best-sellingmusical with over 7,000 tickets issued. Subscriptions for the season also hit record numbers with over 2,000 subscribers and over $200,000 in subscription revenue; it's the third year in a row the FAC has broken its own revenue record.

Plus, three members of The Producers creative team recently earned 2010 Denver Post Ovation Awards for their work on the FAC's 2009 production of Sweeney Todd, including Christopher L. Sheley (Scenic Designer), Roberta Jacyshyn (Music Director/Conductor) and Holly Anne Rawls (Lighting Design).

Now the FAC Theatre Company launches into the New Year with The Producers!