When lights go up at the Arvada Center for the March 26 opening of “Man of La Mancha,” four south suburban professional actors will appear in this award-winning musical by Dale Wasserman, Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion. All of them are strongly engaged with the show and its message.
Joanie Brosseau-Beyette, of Centennial, was returning home from a children's play she staged at Stephen Knight School for Early Education when we reached her. In addition to performing, she works with Boulder's Dinner Theatre's children's theater, including outreach.
She will perform in the ensemble at Arvada, as a prisoner and understudy for Maria and the Housekeeper. She grew up in Littleton and started singing with the choir and performing at Euclid Middle School, with choir director Carla McWilliams, who still brings her students to Boulder's Dinner Theatre, where this actor frequently appears.
Heritage High School was next, where her focus was mostly choir and cheerleading. When she graduated, she started working at Heritage Square Music Hall, next moved to Boulder's Dinner Theatre, where she has been much of the time since. “I intended to go to CU Boulder, but I just kept working … I had lots of practice!”
Probably the most fun she's had in a role is as Peter Pan — “There's not a better experience for an actor.”
“Man of La Mancha” is a special show, she observes. “It's frighteningly current — out of so much pain and heartbreak , it's definitely a dramatic, beautiful story. The true theme is `dream an impossible dream.'”
Also a Centennial resident, Burke Walton is excited about his debut at Arvada Center — his first time working with award-winning director Rod Lansberry. A Cherry Creek High School graduate, he majored in musical theater at UCLA and has been working for six years in Los Angeles until a recent return to Colorado. (He appeared in “Sound of Music” at Town Hall in November/December.)
He will be Anselmo, a muleteer, an ensemble member and understudy the Barber. He knew some of the “Man of La Mancha” music and did some research on the show before auditioning. “It's a moving piece, teaches a message that will last and touches a special place,” he said. Next on his calendar will be “Hair” at Town Hall.
Tenorio is Tim Howard's role in “Man of La Mancha” Also a muleteer and ensemble member, this is his first time in this musical. “It's beautiful music,” he said. He grew up in Centennial and is a graduate of Littleton High, where he studied theater with John Kron, then graduated from Five Towns College, Long Island, New York. It's popular with performing arts students, he said and he learned of it from a dramatics magazine.
He is carpooling to Arvada from his Centennial home with Walton and is also enjoying his first time working with Lansberry. His next appearance on stage will be in “Hair” at Town Hall, under Nick Sugar's direction.
Veteran actor Rod Costigan has lived in Colorado for 32 years and is a graduate of Smoky Hill High School and an Englewood resident. He was a performance student at Loretto Heights College in Denver when it closed. He moved to Regis University to complete his studies and has worked in the area for over 20 years — at Country Dinner Playhouse, Arvada Center and more.
A member of Actor's Equity, he has a special fondness for his role in “Singin' in the Rain” (in the Donald O'Connor dancing role) at CDPH.
And Costigan, who is repeating the role of the Barber for a second time, said about “Man of La Mancha,” “I love this show. There's a wonderful message of hope, especially for today …. It's really an honor to revisit at a different age, with a different perspective than seven years ago.”
His parents were professional championship roller skaters and supportive of his aspirations in theater, and he dedicates his performance to them.
He also works for a company called Rave Reviews Events, which produces corporate events and team-building exercises. And, he is a freelance props designer for area theaters — recently for “9 to 5” at Town Hall. “It's funny trying to adapt to a different age group and career … I'm not sure what I'm right for. The voice changes with age. I still like to think I'm crooning wackadoo. It's a different era.”
It's a complicated schedule, as is Brosseau's, but both the more mature actors and the young ones seem to have developed a lifestyle that works for them.
If you go
“Man of La Mancha” plays March 26 through April 14 on the Main Stage at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. Performances: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 1 p.m. Wednesdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets: arvadacenter.org, 720-898-7200.