Peyton Fleming, a junior at the University of Northern Colorado, still remembers seeing “Death of a Salesman” about four years ago at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
The show not only converted the lifelong musical theater devotee to straight plays, it inspired her to audition for the University of Northern Colorado theater program.
Now she’s getting ready for her Little Theatre of the Rockies summer stock theater debut as Dawn in “Lobby Hero.”
The play is part of the Little Theatre of the Rockies’ Summer Season. The season includes “Xanadu” by Douglas Carter Beane, John Farrar and Jeff Lynne; “Angel Street” by Patrick Hamilton; “I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti” by Jacques Lamarre; and “Catch Me If You Can” by Terrance McNally, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
The season runs through July 29 in Langworthy Theatre and Norton Theatre on the UNC campus. “Lobby Hero” opens at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
David Grapes, artistic director of the season, said he is excited for the many Little Theatre of the Rockies alumni and current and former UNC students who will perform this summer. Kerri Jill Garbis, who previously played Anne Landers in “The Lady With All the Answers,” again will perform in a one-woman comedy, “I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti,” and also will appear in “Catch Me If You Can.”
If you go
The University of Northern Colorado School of Theatre Arts and Dance’s professional summer stock company, Little Theatre of the Rockies, has announced the 84th season will include “Xanadu,” by Douglas Carter Beane, John Farrar and Jeff Lynne; “Lobby Hero,” by Kenneth Lonergan; “Angel Street,” by Patrick Hamilton, “I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti,” by Jacques Lamarre; and “Catch Me If You Can,” by Terrance McNally, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The season runs from June 7-July 29 in Langworthy Theatre and Norton Theatre on UNC’s Central Campus. Tickets are available in-person at the box office in Frasier Hall, at (970) 351-2200 or at http://www.littletheatrerockies.com.
University of Northern Colorado alumni Keir Kirkegaard and Joseph Serrano will return for “Catch Me If You Can,” and Alison Vasquez is directing the mystery “Angel Street.”
“Lobby Hero,” Grapes said, had a critically acclaimed run on Broadway last year.
“I feel as if the season has a little something for everyone,” he said. “Comedy, drama and mystery.”
If he had to describe the genre “Lobby Hero” fits into, director Ken Womble would say it’s a drama with a lot of comedy and a love story.
The play, written by Kenneth Lonergan, features a young security guard who clashes with his boss and a rookie cop with an unpredictable partner.
Fleming plays the rookie cop, Dawn. What she loves most about the play is its relatable characters as they grapple with ethics, whether to abide by the law and if being law-abiding makes a person good. The audience, she said, may see parts of themselves in every character, even in their less-than-pleasant actions and words.
“You’re going to enjoy the show the most when you are getting really, really invested in the characters,” she said. “The more invested you are, the more the circumstances of the play become shocking and humorous and tragic.”
Womble, who has been teaching at UNC for 14 years and directing in Little Theatre of the Rockies for the past several years, said the play also explores sexual harassment in the workplace, women’s rights and police brutality.
Although it was written in 1999 and premiered in 2001, Womble said “Lobby Hero” addresses modern issues.
But what he loves about it, Womble said, is that although it raises questions in an intriguing and humorous way, it doesn’t answer them. It lets the audience consider possible answers.
“It’s this wonderful blend of entertainment and making one think,” he said.
The theater community at UNC, performing with her friends in student productions and supportive professors have made Fleming happy with her choice to focus on straight plays. “Lobby Hero” exemplifies why she loves them: It’s given her a chance to delve into a complex character.
“Just like all of them, she’s got her moments where you’re not gonna like her very much,” Fleming said, “and that’s OK.”