Showing posts with label Denver's Dangerous Theatre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Denver's Dangerous Theatre. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Theater Review: 'Comfort in the Arms of the Damned' troubling but important

By Philip Doyle

"Comfort in the Arms of the Damned" is a hard show to like, but I sure want to.  It delves into a man’s struggle with mental illness and it is troubling.  He is taunted and bullied by voices in his head.  He suffers.  He explores suicide.  That makes this show a bit of a rough ride.

It’s kind of like supporting a strung out friend through a manic episode of neurotic banter, patiently rooting for a solution, but being annoyed that it is happening in the first place.  Is it fun?  Nope.  Is it important that you be there?  You betcha.

Winnie Wenglewick is a driving force at Denver's Dangerous Theatre, which presents regional premieres and original works that would otherwise go unseen in Denver.  Winnie has a knack for prioritizing a production budget, stripping away the technical shock and awe and focusing on originality, and the art of playwriting.  The result, regardless of popularity, is a creative effort that scores in nobility.  It may be a dangerous way to run a theatre, but it’s damn courageous as well.

Back to the task at hand, “Comfort in the Arms of the Damned” is a challenge.  Anyone who has ever been touched by mental illness or has lost a friend to suicide will no doubt feel uneasy with this play.  It will task you with emotional conflict.  In fact, I’m still conflicted.  On one side, this production is to be commended for presenting an intense and dark struggle in a uniquely provocative way.  On the other side, “Comfort in the Arms of the Damned” battles itself with too much dialog and too many scenes.

Tobias is a young man haunted by demons. As a boy, the monster hiding in his closet manifests itself, becoming Xavier, who constantly reminds the lad that nothing is real, not even love.  Twisting and distorting reality, the demon writhes in delight.  Tobias grows up knowing nothing but dreams, and the possibility that reality is nothing but maggot-ridden flesh, covered up in carnival make-up.

Needless to say, Tobias is dark.  Oh sure, on the outside he can seem like a nice guy, but on the inside, he is a tormented, suicidal, possibly a homicidal, mess.   His challenge is to be free of his demon, and discover the real warmth of a loving embrace.

Five women surround the character of Tobias. In most cases, they are voices and manipulations within his dreams.  His mother, Tessa (Teresa Champion), tries to maintain a sense of warm dignity.  Savannah (Corinne Denny), Lisle (Allison Murray), and Maryssa (Stacia Gordon), all exist in Tobias’s world, a place thrown askew by the monster, Xavier (Brittany Lacour).

Brian McDonell (pictured), who portrays Tobias, is reserved and at times too restrained.  McDonell has an interesting challenge, playing an innocent child thrown into a state of mania, so perhaps approaching the part on the timid side is a wise choice.

It was a pleasant surprise to find the part of Xavier being played by Brittany Lacour.  I have grown to admire Lacour’s fearless commitment to a role.  She plays a manipulative monster, but she’s still kind of fun to watch.  I have thrown her some high praise in the past, so I’ll hold back a bit now.

“Comfort in the Arms of the Damned” was written by Jonathan M. Vick.   I won’t kid you, it’s wordy.  For my taste, some lines seemed to be overwrought with alliterative description and metaphor, which brought me out of the moment.  The constant flow of dialog is no doubt a challenge for some of the actors.

It is difficult to watch “Comfort in the Arms of the Damned” and not be reminded of recent headlines.  Of what happens when person surrenders to the taunting voices, and their distorted reality collides into the real world.

It’s the brave producer/director Winnie Wenglewick who deserves great accolades for having the brass and chutzpah to present this dark and conflicted play.  Her raw technical approach and appreciation for playwrights and actors, becomes an art form on to its own.

After a brooding 97 minutes of “Comfort in the Arms of the Damned,” the proud director thanked her cast and the audience.  She then invited everyone to attend “Mafia Macbeth”, an improv show that was starting in fifteen minutes.  The lobby was bustling with energetic, beautiful people and Denver's Dangerous Theatre was serving tragedy and comedy, like a courageous theatre should.

Denver's Dangerous Theatre presents
Comfort in the Arms of the Damned through November 17.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Confessions of a Mormon Boy meet 'n greet

Thanks to everybody who came out to the 'Confessions of a Mormon Boy' after-party/meet 'n greet at Denver's Dangerous Theatre last week. I confess, a very good time was had by all.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Theater Review: Confessions of a Mormon Boy

By Philip Doyle

Confessions of a Mormon Boy is Steven Fales’ autobiographical one-man play that is a triumphant revelation in honesty and personal pride.  It is a story that is written and performed by a man who has journeyed through an array of challenges and arrives at his destination, on the stage before a grateful audience.

Fales’ experiences are at times funny, occasionally heartbreaking, and brutally candid.  A confession of a gay man’s longing for acceptance in and eventual excommunication from the Mormon Church.  He shares a life that includes marriage, fatherhood, and divorce.  He later engages in a show-and-tell about having been an escort in New York City, and painfully recounts the trappings of recreational drug fueled sex. 

Often times, one-person autobiographic plays come off as being self-indulgent … but not this time. 
This is a well constructed account that reveals a man who is loving, smart and driven.  Fales doesn’t wallow in a constant mea culpa of trials and tribulations.  Rather, through this shameless confession, he adorns himself with the powers of self-recognition.  In my world, Steven Fales is a super hero in the gay justice league.

Let’s face it, it takes some serious cojones to write and perform a play about your own life. From beginning to end, Mr. Fales has an ability to present his material with a confidence that isn’t the least bit presumptuous. Personally, I admire that kind of assertive charm. 

Steven Fales’ has taken the proverbial lemons of life, and now sells a very thirst quenching lemonade.  I strongly urge you to go have a taste.

Confessions of a Mormon Boy is sure to bring a smile to your face.

Confessions of a Mormon Boy plays at Denver's Dangerous Theatre
Saturday, March 31st at 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, April 1st at 2:00pm
For tickets visit:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Things to do in Denver when you're gay: Official 'Confessions of a Mormon Boy' After Party at Denver's Dangerous Theatre

On Friday, March 31, after Mormon boy Steven Fales is done confessing, MileHighGayGuy will be hosting an after party at Denver's Dangerous Theatre.

I'm looking forward to introducing gay Denver to what I think is one of the coolest spaces in the city. It's BYOB (yeah, baby - it's that kind of party!) and there will be music from one of Denver's top DJs - Gary Givant.

RSVP on Facebook or just show up ready to party. Admission is $5 - unless you can convince me otherwise.

Confessions of a Mormon Boy: Author/Actor Steven Fales on Tyra Banks

Steven Fales, author and star of 'Confessions of a Mormon Boy' (March 29-April 1 at Denver's Dangerous Theatre) appeared on an episode of The Tyra Banks Show to discuss his experiences with anti-gay reparative therapy. Powerful stuff.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Confessions of a Mormon Boy: A conversation with Steven Fales, part 2

By Drew Wilson

Before there was Book of Mormon, there was Confessions of a Mormon Boy – Steven Fales’ autobiographical play about a good Mormon boy gone bad as an escort in New York City.

I had the chance to speak to Steven about his upcoming run at Denver’s Dangerous Theatre (March 29-April 1) and talk about family, religion and spirituality in addition to sex, drugs and Tyra Banks! Part one of our conversation was published yesterday. And here's part two!

You mentioned reparative therapy earlier. Did you go through it?
I did it with the biggest names in the business Joseph Nicolosi who wrote the book Reparative Therapy of male homosexuality and he’s the president of the national association of research and therapy of homosexuality. I did therapy with him and Joe consiglio one of the founders of exodus. And I was part of evergreen international. If I was going to come out of the closet I wanted to think there was some science to it. If it could be scientifically done, I was willing to look into it. On certain levels, I made a very deliberate examination of what was going on. I didn’t want to lose my wife and kids but the therapy made me feel isolated and self-loathing. And the attraction became more intense, not less ,and ultimately I had to face the truth.

I was actually on The Tyra Banks show episode about reparative therapy. I did so many wacky things trying to be straight.

Is there a connection with people who undergo reparative therapy and then come out as so visibly gay?
Are you saying there’s some kind of narcissm going on? There are two things, I think. People who do reparative therapy often do it because they want to please people and society and they don’t want to take the risks of coming out. They fear being excommunicated or losing the things they have. It’s a little bit selfish. The other side of it is that I think they are truth seekers and they really want to know and risk this exploration. It’s not a popular thing to do. Once they take that risk and learn that it is not for them - that our sexual orientation is not sexual addiction or sexual disorder or bad or wrong, it can be a very spiritual and expansive and emotional thing.

I didn’t used to think it was possible but I’ve had boyfriends now where the sex is equally as beautiful as any I ever had with my wife. And I tell you, sex with intimacy blows crystal meth sex away any day.

So, when they find out the truth they want to let everyone know and they want to make a difference. As a good Mormon boy I was taught to want to make a difference. So if we can forgive these guys for the little show ponies they have inside them and really listen to what they have to say … these guys are warriors coming back from the trenches and they have a message …

What’s the message?
I’ll tell you what my message is - not only is it ok to be gay, but we are not our past. The end. The most political thing I can do as a gay man is to reclaim my spiritual life.

Do you think many gay men are divorced from their spiritual lives?
When we buy into what we’re told that God doesn’t love us or that we are not worthy, what do we fill ourselves with? I found there was somewhat of a spiritual feeling I could have on drugs at 7am on the dance floor. But it wears off and those people leave. So I think we are having a crisis because so many of us have been spiritually abused in our churches and it prevents us from getting into recovery and it prevents us from having stable relationships. I think the battle for equality is taking place right now in the churches of America and we are conspicuously missing from that battle.

Are you sober now?
I’ve been in recovery since 2003, a few slips along the way but doing well. It’s for the best. You don’t want to see me do this show high! I’d just stare into the lights … so pretty and bright!

What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you during your escorting days?
Wait until you see the scene with my first escort on stage, the Japanese lizard. You’ll laugh your ass off. I did the show in London’s West End last summer and they would not stop laughing at the Japanese lizard so I think you’ll like him.

I’ve heard the show has lots of Mormon flesh on display.
Mormons are opportunities we do whatever it take to win. We want to win your approbation. You kind of seem the same way. Drew, let me ask you something. Did you grow up Mormon?

I did not. I studied with the Jehovah's Witnesses for a while.
 Oh, you are my brother then! When a Jehovah’s Witness comes up to me we’re always like best friends once they’ve seen the show. My best friend was Jehovah’s Witness and I call him ‘hovah boy and he calls me Mormon boy. Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses go through spiritual abuse that I think is unlike anything any of the other religions can do.

How’d you get hooked up with Denver’s Dangerous Theatre?
Someone tipped me off to the Denver Fringe Festival and they thought the show would be great there. I have never played Denver and there are a lot of gay Mormons there – have you ever heard of the group Affirmations? They’re the gay Mormons. Definitely want to shout out to my Denver Affirmation folks. So I contacted Winnie (owner of Denver Fringe Festival and Denver’s Dangerous Theatre) and I love doing dangerous work, so it was a great fit. And I hear its kind of a sex club at night? I might have to check out the late show myself!

Why should readers of MileHighGayGuy come see the show?
Denver is bigger than Salt Lake City but the cities still have a lot in common as mountain towns. I’ve never done the show in another mountain town and I’m really looking forward to meeting the people of Denver – I think they’re really going to be able to get into my Brokeback Mormon dream. Denver is going to get it. Variety calls my show Brokeback Mormon because of this dream I have. I’m going to be doing my Brokeback dream for you!

Sponsored by, Confessions of a Mormon Boy will run for only five performances. For more information or tickets visit or call 720-233-4703.  

Monday, March 26, 2012

Confessions of a Mormon Boy: A conversation with Steven Fales, Part 1

By Drew Wilson

Before there was Book of Mormon, there was Confessions ofa Mormon Boy – Steven Fales’ autobiographical play about a good Mormon boy gone bad as an escort in New York City.

I had the chance to speak to Steven about his upcoming run at Denver’s Dangerous Theatre (March 29-April 1) and talk about family, religion and spirituality in addition to sex, drugs and Tyra Banks! Here's part one of our conversation. Part two will run tomorrow.

So Steven, tell me about the show.
You know, first of all, people always think ‘Oh, another Mormon show’? But I am the original. Long before Book of Mormon opened on Broadway, my show opened off Broadway. And it’s the only true offering of the Mormon experience you’ll find on stage – Angels in America you can’t say is a true story. Book of Mormon, you can’t. And then the film Latter Days? It’s semi-autobiographical but not really true.

What do you mean by true?
Well, you only get a two-dimensional look at Mormon culture and the Mormon experience in those films. What I’m offering is the true story and it goes much further behind the scenes. As far as the gay Mormon experience we have a more seasoned, nuanced approach. Nuances that writers outside of Mormonism just won’t get because they’re not Mormon. I will take you from a Mormon temple marriage all the way to escorting in Manhattan - the gritty underbelly of NYC.

How does one go from being a good Mormon boy to a NYC escort?
Well, I think you know how things can go sometimes in the gay community. I’m certainly not the only one.

What made you write Confessions of a Mormon Boy and the rest of the trilogy?
One of the things that prompted me to write was that my mother-in-law was not honest about the gay Mormon experience and she was considered the patron saint of gay Mormons. Carol Lynn Pearson wrote this major best seller called Goodbye, I Love You, about bringing her ex-husband home to die of AIDS, which came out in 1996 through Random House.

I married her oldest daughter Emily. I told her I was gay before we got married and I thought that, with reparative therapy, any problems with my same sex attraction could be eradicated and we could keep it together. We were getting married for children, for art, for the Lord and because we were friends. But as time went on, I had my issues and she had things that I took on that were equally as challenging as what she took on with my same-sex attraction. When it all fell apart I was under the microscope quite a bit because of who my mother-in-law was and so I became a double bastard in Utah – a bastard to the Mormons and a bastard to gay Utah. So I then took my pain and anger and my well-preserved 30 year-old self to New York and boom, overnight I’m escorting in penthouses.

The real thing about this show is that is is the story of what it takes to wake up and stop being a victim. I think the greatest tyranny is the tyranny within. It’s not the Mormon Church. It’s not the sex industry. It’s me. It’s a powerful piece but it’s also very sexy, very funny and it’s only the first of three. I also wrote a prequel and a sequel. And I’m so glad I get to see Denver before the Book of Mormon comes your way!

Why do you think Mormonism is having such a day in the popular culture sun?
I think it was inevitable that Mormonism would arrive and claim its place in Americana. The west, as you know, was settled in large part by the Mormons and so we have wonderful stories to contribute to the American experience.

We could talk about a minority coming of age, a persecuted people who want to be accepted so they excel in many different arenas so they can be legit. Any number of things.

I really do believe in my people but what disappoints me is that we have not told our own stories. And if we have told them, we have not told them honestly. So it’s time. Time to tell our stories. And this is just the beginning, I think that the Mormon experience is just about to pop!

So you still consider yourself a Mormon?
Well, lot of the show is about my children. I have two kids …

Ooh, how much they know about your experiences?
Well, my son saw my show in Orlando last spring almost a year ago and said ‘Dad, it really humanized you.”

And so I say, I may no longer be a Latter Day Saint but something about me will always be Mormon. It’s a cultural thing. Technically I’m now Episcopalian. This church is very progressive but also traditional. My own spiritual path has finally aligned with something that works for me and I’m happy to be on this path of spiritual development. When I left Utah I threw the baby out with the bathwater in terms of spirituality.

In what way?
I turned into a charming, ferocious smiling creature. I escorted for a very intense nine months. Long enough. I still sometimes have flashbacks to that whole mindset. So that’s what you’re going to get from me. You’re going to get the New York section where we deal with sex work. I’m not there to glamorize it, so it’s very gritty and very real. It could have been grittier but I am still Mormon, remember. You have to come see how gritty it is!

Sponsored by, Confessions of a Mormon Boy will run for only five performances. For more information or tickets visit or call 720-233-4703. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tickets onsale now for Confessions of a Mormon Boy

Confessions of a Mormon Boy, by Steven Fales, is Part I in The Mormon Boy Trilogy which also includes Missionary Position (New York International Fringe Festival) and Who’s Your Daddy? (which was performed at the United Solo Festival in November 2011 in New York City). 

Before turning to writing and solo performance, Steven worked in regional theatres and Shakespeare festivals across America. He has worked with such luminaries as Elaine Stritch, Len Cariou, Douglas Sills, Judy Kaye, Emily Loesser among others. He has also acted in television, film, and commercials. He is the founder of the Solo Performance Alliance and teaches workshops all over the country.

A member of Actors Equity Association, Steven first trained on scholarship at the Boston Conservatory. After serving as a Mormon missionary in Portugal for two years, he later transferred to Brigham Young University where he received a BFA in musical theatre and later his MFA in acting from the University of Connecticut. He has studied at the American Comedy Institute in New York and privately with acting coach Larry Moss.

Steven was born in Utah and raised in California and Las Vegas (where he was singing at Caesar’s Palace by the age of sixteen). He currently lives in Salt Lake City where he takes an active role in raising his two children and exports his oxy-Mormon work from his home in the Rocky Mountains.

Sponsored by, Confessions of a Mormon Boy will run for only five performances. For more information or tickets visit or call 720-233-4703.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mile High Hot Guy: Steven Fales

Steven Fales is a professional actor/writer/producer who first came to national attention with his critically acclaimed solo play Confessions of a Mormon Boy - coming to Denver's Dangerous Theatre March 29.

He's also today's Mile High Hot Guy. Looking good in them tighty blackies, Steven!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Confessions of a Mormon Boy comes to Denver's Dangerous Theatre

An absolute hit in cities across the US as well as London’s West End and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 'Confessions of a Mormon Boy' has toured extensively all over the country and internationally. 

And Steven Fales has finally found his way to Denver to perform his controversial, critically acclaimed, award-winning off-Broadway hit. What better venue than at Denver’sDangerous Theatre?

This 90-minute solo play recounts how Steven went from being the perfect Mormon boy in Utah to a high-priced call boy in New York City and how he managed to find a middle ground. 

This provocative and inspiring true story takes the audience from his Mormon mission to Portugal and temple marriage, through reparative therapy, excommunication, divorce, prostitution and crystal meth addiction as he struggles to reclaim his self, his two children, and his ‘Donny Osmond smile.’ 

Says Fales, “This is my contribution to help end spiritual abuse and religious violence in churches, mosques, and synagogues.”

Confessions of a Mormon Boy

Written and performed by Steven Fales

Based on original direction by Tony Award Winner Jack Hofsiss

ONLY *5* Performances

March 29th – April 1st

Thursday, Friday & Saturday @ 7:30

Saturday & Sunday @ 2:00


$30 for evening performances

$25 for matinee performances

$5.00 discount available for students, seniors, military and members of the Colorado Theater Guild.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Theater Review: Black Stockings

By Philip Doyle

I have a confession to make.  

There is a strong possibility that I’m in love … with Denver's Dangerous Theatre company.  I just got home after seeing my first show produced by them and I’m smitten.  It might be a long-term thing, or maybe just a hot one-night stand.  All I know is that my heart is filled with love for the work that the Dangerous Theatre is trying to do.   

For me it’s the stuff from which dreams are made. 

The Dangerous Theatre allows attention to be paid to original works, and plays that are new to Denver audiences. Because of the high cost of theatre production, their focus is not on technical spectacle.  It’s not about breathtaking sets and laser light shows. It’s not about the gloss - it’s about substance.  The Dangerous Theatre puts emphasis on script, and the actor-to-audience relationship. 

Black Stockings is Peter McGarry's comedy/drama featuring Trish and Donna, two bawdy female prostitutes from Manchester, England.  These seductively dressed ladies engage the audience in a friendly chat and a warning to expect plenty of expletives.  They ask if anyone is familiar with Bertolt Brecht (playwright) and Kurt Weill (music composer), creator of The Threepenny Opera.  (Note:  It is not important to be familiar with Brechtian themes to enjoy this show. But the mention of Bertolt Brecht had my inner-theatre geek champing at the bit. Trish and Donna are quick to justify the importance of the services they provide.  In their view prostitutes are pacifists who alleviate men from aggression.  Jokes are made, “Better laid than never!”  Sex toys are used as fun props.  Donna makes light of Trish’s complaints of the physical aches and pains that come with the profession. 

Then the play begins to challenge the audience with questions of what constitutes morality.  Trish shares her experiences that can only be judged as unbearably horrific.  She exposes the darkest side of human nature, parlaying cruelty upon cruelty into a brilliant didactic monologue. 

Brittany Lacour plays Trish.  There is no way to adequately express my sincerest praise for her performance. But I’ll try. Lacour is utterly captivating.  She possesses a commanding emotional intensity.  As Trish, she grabs you, straps you in, and shares her experience with you.  Let me put it this way, there is an anatomically correct sex doll standing up stage (I mean really, there is), and when Lacour was rocking my world with her performance, I forgot the doll was even there!  I hope that convinces you.  I mean honestly … Brittany Lacour is a phenom.

And Winnie Wenglewick is as bold and smart an asset to the play as Donna as she is in her role as director.  She should be commended for her brave contribution of this great theatre work that would otherwise go unrecognized. 

I hope my love affair with the Dangerous Theatre continues.  I can appreciate stripping the shiny commercial spectacle out of the theatre equation to expose the heart of the art form. 

Black Stockings plays at The Dangerous Theatre March 2 and 3 at 7pm.Tickets are $20.