Mile High Life

Ritchie ready to exit stage

Column by Penny Parker
Posted
Penny Parker

Daniel L. Ritchie, the "godfather" of Denver theater, has announced his retirement as chief executive officer of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Ritchie will continue to serve as chairman of the board of trustees following his retirement as CEO.

Ritchie revealed his decision at the June 10 regularly scheduled meeting of the trustees and then to a meeting of DCPA employees.  He also is sending a letter to the customers and donors whose support of the DCPA has been the foundation of its success.

"This is the right moment for me to step aside and for a new CEO to guide the DCPA into its bright future," Ritchie said. "The DCPA is poised to move to a new level of creativity with an even warmer embrace of our audience.  My full energy will now be focused on board matters, including the campaign to reauthorize the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District in 2016."

Ritchie joined the DCPA in 2007 as CEO and chairman of the board. Upon his appointment, the board and Ritchie concluded that the two positions should ultimately be separated. Today's announcement completes that plan.

Ritchie, who was known as "Dapper Dan" for his sharp attire, led the DCPA through a period of dynamic creative growth and to financial success.  Under his leadership, the DCPA expanded its new-play development program, launched three national Broadway touring premieres, conducted two successful matching-gift fundraising campaigns, and served more than 400,000 students through its extensive theatre education programs.

He also has been instrumental in diversifying the DCPA's programming with the development of Off-Center @ The Jones, an experimental theater designed to make theater less formal, more fun, decidedly innovative and appealing to new audiences.
Ritchie has made generous personal financial donations to the DCPA and has served without pay as CEO during his entire tenure.

But I will remember him most for his "performances" to raise money for DCPA endeavors. One year for Saturday Night Alive, the DCPA's granddaddy fundraiser, Ritchie embraced his inner rock star with over-the-top enthusiasm. He appeared in a full costume as former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash.

A search will begin immediately for Ritchie's successor.  He will remain as CEO until his successor has joined the organization and he will work with the new CEO during a period of transition.

Sprouts opens in Englewood

Sprouts Farmers Market, one of the fastest-growing natural food retailers in the country, opened its first store in Englewood (5001 S. Broadway) on June 11. This is the 17th Sprouts in the Denver area.

Sprouts is a healthy grocery store offering fresh, natural and organic foods. The grocery chain offers fresh produce, bulk foods, vitamins and supplements, packaged groceries, meat and seafood, baked goods, dairy products, frozen foods, natural body care and household items catering to consumers' interest in health and wellness.

Shakespeare down south

The Westcliffe Center for the Performing Arts announced that "Shakespeare in the Sangres," the 2014 summer outdoor live theater production executive produced by Rancher's Roost Cafe, will take place June 19 through July 5 in the Feedstore Amphitheater Park behind the Historic Jones Theater in Westcliffe, in the Wet Mountain Valley west of Pueblo.

Two comedy productions will be offered: "The Comedy of Errors," a dramatic comedy by William Shakespeare, shows at 6:30 p.m. June 19 and 21; 6: 30 p.m. June 27 and July 4; and 2 p.m. June 29 and July 6. "The Imaginary Invalid," a classic comedy by Moliere, shows at 6:30 p.m. June 20; 2 p.m. June 22; 6:30 p.m. June 26 and July 3; and at 6:30 p.m. June 28 and July 5.

Guests are encouraged to arrive early and bring blankets and/or chairs to sit on. The park opens one hour before showtime.

Tickets cost $20 for adults and $15 for teens and can be purchased at www.jonestheater.com.

In addition to the two "Shakespeare in the Sangres" productions, "A Taste of Shakespeare" will be held to kick off the season at 6:30 p.m. June 17 in Studio 2 of the Jones Theater.

Top Tacos

Quien es el mejor? (Who is the best?)

That will be determined when gobs of local chefs compete in Top Taco Denver, presented by US Foods, a taco and margarita tasting event from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. June 26 in the Sculpture Park on Speer Boulevard between Arapahoe and Champa streets. VIP ticket holders will be admitted at 5:30 p.m.

Top Taco trophies will be awarded by judges and for people's choice for the Top Creative, Top Traditional Taco and Best Margarita.

Tickets are $65 for general admission; $125 for VIP hosted by Patron Private Lounge with bar and specialty menu, private tasting by chef Mark Ferguson, a complimentary three-month Dining Out card, a specialty rare and premium Patron tequila tasting and VIP restrooms.

The event benefits The Colorado Restaurant Association Education Foundation ProStart Scholarship Program. Tickets and more information: www.toptacodenver.com.

Overheard

Eavesdropping on a Summit County couple discussing the crazy weather we've been having while riding in a Parking Spot van from DIA: "I just wish someone would come shovel all that 'global warming' off my driveway!"

Penny Parker's "Mile High Life" column gives insights into the best events, restaurants, businesses, parties and people throughout the metro area. Parker also writes for Blacktie-Colorado.com. You can subscribe and read her columns (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) at www.blacktie-colorado.com/pennyparker. She can be reached at penny@blacktie-llc.com or at 303-619-5209.