Setting the stage for the future

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StageDoor Theatre just weeks away from opening new, bigger venue

By Barbara Ford

It’s bigger, it’s better, and it will be ready for a standing ovation by the end of April.

StageDoor Theatre will soon move down three doors from its cramped 2,600-square-foot space to a 5,000-square-foot spacious theater at the Aspen Park Village Shopping Center.

“This is a family-theater-living-room that’s open to the public,” accompanist Debra Christensen said.

The previous theater had 80 seats; the new venue has 125.

And while the new space still has building materials at center stage, it’s ready for the props and costumes to make their trip, exit stage right, from the old space.

The move will take place in the middle of April, with the new theater’s first performance, “Crazy For You,” on April 30.

On April 3, four young actors put down their scripts and picked up paintbrushes. James Landon, 16, Katie Holz, 16, Parker Redford, 16, and Emily Zwigler, 17, all agree they love StageDoor and are excited to see it open.

Emily Zwigler said: “I love StageDoor. It’s like a second home to me.” Both Zwigler and Redford have lead parts in “Crazy For You.”

Theater education for kids

There’s lots to do at StageDoor — classes, performances, volunteering and donating. One secret is the extensive theater education programs open to blooming thespians.

StageDoor shines a spotlight on unique opportunities for elementary, middle school and high school students to learn theater arts and music.

Two classes are available for elementary-age students. One class addresses all areas of drama and acting, voice techniques, voice and stage movement, acting games and scene work. This weekly class is available starting at elementary-school age all the way up to high school.

The second elementary class prepares students for stage performances. That group will perform “Peter Pan” April 16-18. In this weekly class, students learn about auditions, rehearsals, blocking, acting, makeup and costumes.

The middle school classes teach movement, dancing and acting. This weekly performance-based class performs one production a year. The group recently finished a run of “Annie Jr.”

High school students get the full theater experience with the three major areas of musical theater: singing, dancing and acting. Students perform two productions a year, one in the fall and one in the spring. The class meets twice a week.

“They really get good experience here,” Conway said.

According to Conway, the program has grown in the last four years with the high school program’s enrollment nearly double and the middle school/elementary programs growing by 30 percent.

More uses for the theater

With the bigger, better theater, the staff envisions bigger crowds coming through the door with new uses for its new stage. Movie nights for families, small workshops and team-building events are all being considered.

Al Van Horn, a volunteer at StageDoor for seven years, wants more people to come to the theater and see how magical it is.

“This is the best kept secret in Conifer,” Van Horn said.

A new addition is an area on the south end of the building called the Side Door at StageDoor. It’s an 800-square-foot space with a small kitchen, bathroom and separate entrance, making it ideal for meetings and conferences.

During performances, it will be used as a cast staging area. When not housing dancers and actors, it will be available for rent.

“We want this area to be an asset to the community,” Christensen said.

Opening-day jitters

As opening approaches, everyone is excited and a little nervous about pulling every detail together, just like for a performance, but they are proud of their best-kept secret in Conifer.

“People tell me they didn’t know something like this was up here,” Van Horn said.

Contact Barbara Ford at barbara@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1043. Check www.HighTimberTimes.com for updates.

Acting out a garage sale

StageDoor Theatre is planning a garage sale in front of the new space on May 22-23, and items are needed for the sale.

A food stand will be set up to sell hamburgers and hot dogs, and proceeds from the event will benefit the StageDoor construction.

Clothing and book donations will not be accepted. Furniture and working large appliances may be donated the day of the sale.

Visitors to the sale will be able to tour the new theater.

In addition to donated items, StageDoor is looking for volunteers to help with the sale.

To donate items, send an e-mail to Gwynn Mayeux at: gwynnmx@msn.com.