Musical company

Artistic News | For local theater group, company of three | Culture & Leisure

Left to right: Nick Chase, Pesha Rudnick and Betty Hart form the new management trio of Boulder’s Local Theater Company

Boulder’s Local Theater Company, which was founded in 2011 but has really found its footing during the pandemic shutdown, has announced an unusual leadership transition from a single artistic director to a triumvirate.

As part of the plan, Nick Chase and Betty Hart will join founder Pesha Rudnick as co-artistic directors. Shared leadership models are not uncommon in the performing arts in Colorado, especially at the Phamaly Theater Company, which is accepting of people with disabilities. But Local embarks on a unique plan suited to its mission to discover, develop and produce new American coins.

Hart, already president of the Colorado Theater Guild (a local theater advocacy group), becomes the 17th Colorado theater leader to be appointed to an artistic director position since October 2017 (the fall of Harvey Weinstein). Hart will be responsible for new play development and community engagement.

Chase, promoted to Associate Art Director, will focus on production and education. Rudnick, whose recent move out of state sparked the restructuring, will oversee the programming for the expansion.

“Too often leaders burn out simply because we’re asked to do everything,” Rudnick said. “Our hope is that this model allows Local to provide artists and audiences with a dynamic experience when they participate with us, and at the same time allows us, as leaders, to grow artistically.”

Rudnick started Local in 2011, when she brought acclaimed actor John Lithgow (her uncle!) to Boulder’s Chautauqua Auditorium to perform his onstage memoir, “Stories by Heart.” During the pandemic, as other companies retreated, her not-so-small group expanded its mission to include classes, collaborations, and dialogue about where we are now as the larger American community. Rudnick not only turned the company’s annual Local Lab festival of new plays into an ongoing year-round series, but he also supported the development of 15 new theatrical works. According to the Actors Equity Association, Local employed more union performers in Colorado than anyone else last year, including the Denver Center. We’re talking about 231 actors, script referees, technicians, playwrights, stage managers, directors and more.

In 2022, Local will return to presenting fully staged plays, including GerRee Hinshaw’s A Woman’s Look at Linda Ronstadt, titled “Raised on Ronstadt”; and “The Lady M Project”, which reconsiders the guilt of Shakespeare’s most widely presumed female villain through the lens of Hadley Kamminga-Peck, Anne Penner and Mare Trevathan.

Lady M Project

The local theater company gave a reading for its development “Lady M Project” in March. It is now slated for full production.

Kent Thompson back in Colorado

Kent Thompson, the DCPA Theater Company’s Production Artistic Director from 2006 to 2016, will help kick off the Curious Theater Company’s 25th season (and the first under new Artistic Director Jada Suzanne Dixon) by directing the play “Heroes of the Fourth Turning,” about four conservative Wyoming youths who gather at an ideological afterparty. It runs from September 10 to October 10. 15 at 1080 Acoma Street.

Thompson has been back in the local theater community lately. In April, he led a group of CU student theater and dance performers in a production of “They Promised Him the Moon,” the true story of subdued aviator Jerrie Cobb, at Macky Auditorium in Boulder. And just last week, Thompson led a benefit performance of Bill Martin’s play “El Jefe” at the 24th Annual Colorado New Play Festival in Steamboat Springs.

Aisha Jackson’s moment

Aisha Jackson

Aisha Jackson

If the world is an oyster, her name is Aisha Jackson. The University of Northern Colorado Greeley alum starred in Mario Van Peebles’ new film, ‘The Price of Freedom,’ the true story of NAACP organizer Harry T Moore, and his wife, Harriette, who were murdered when a bomb exploded under their bedroom floor as they slept on Christmas Eve 1951…

Last Thursday, Jackson left her role as a stand-in in the hit Broadway musical “Paradise Square” to play leading lady Nelly O’Brien, replacing new Tony Award winner Joaquina Kalukango. “I’m proud of myself for overcoming the thoughts of worry and doubt that try to keep me from walking my purpose,” said Jackson, who was also the first black actor to play the role of Anna in “Frozen” on Broadway.

And on August 8, Jackson will sing alongside Tony contestant Shoshana Bean and others at a “Broadway Sings Whitney Houston” concert, featuring a 14-piece orchestra at Sony Hall the day before what would have been the 59th Houston birthday.


The Colorado Theater Guild has announced the nominees for its 16th annual Henry Awards. You can read all about them and check out the full list of nominees here. Winners will be announced July 25 at the Arvada Center…The Colorado Book Awards will be announced Saturday night (June 25)…The Denver Fringe Festival continues through Sunday, June 26 at 10 venues across Five Points and the RiNo Art District…

Passion Project

The Passion Projects aim to spark discussion around ageism.

Heidi Wagner’s “The Passions Project,” a photographic exhibit capturing active seniors doing what they love and living their lives to the fullest, will be on view at the University of Denver’s Davis Gallery (2121 E. Asbury Ave.) from Friday (June 24) until August 14. This is part of a national project that aims to generate discussion around ageism…

The Colorado Chautauqua, a National Historic Landmark that has housed music and conferences in Boulder for 100 years, is made up of 120 mostly wood-frame structures that have gradually become vulnerable to wildfires. Good news: he received a $37,350 grant from History Colorado to fund the second phase of his wildfire mitigation plan…

pink hawks

pink hawks

The Clyfford Still Museum will present its first free Family Lawn Concert of the summer with Denver social justice group Pink Hawks from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 24 at 1250 Bannock St. During the concert, attendees can also explore the exhibition “Clyfford Still, Art, and the Young Mind”, co-curated by young children, for free…

Popular Denver comedian Josh Blue, who finished third on NBC’s ‘America’s Got Talent’ and continues to shatter stereotypes about people with disabilities, kicks off his ‘As NOT Seen on TV Tour’ June 1-2 , with a new late Saturday show, at Comedy Works South. Tickets $28.

And finally …

L. Darby Smith, former vice president of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, died June 14 in Arlington, Virginia. He was 95 years old. Smith and his wife, Lorraine, co-chaired the DCPA’s education fundraiser “Saturday Night Alive” and were founding members of the Asian Performing Arts of Colorado. They also supported the Denver Art Museum; Arapahoe House; American Diabetes Foundation; Arthritis Foundation, Boy and Girls Scouts of America and others.