Denver Center Opens Regional Premiere of Memory Play A Prayer for Owen Meany

News   Denver Center Opens Regional Premiere of Memory Play A Prayer for Owen Meany Denver Center Theatre Company opens the Rocky Mountain premiere of Simon Bent's stage adaptation, A Prayer for Owen Meany, based on the novel by John Irving, April 2 following previews from March 27.
A Prayer for Owen Meany's Michael Wartella and David Ivers
A Prayer for Owen Meany's Michael Wartella and David Ivers Photo by Terry Shapiro

Bruce Sevy directs the resident Denver production of the darkly comic memory play. The work was first seen at London's National Theatre. Denver artistic director Kent Thompson was drawn to the play because it was about religious faith. He "cherished the ride of reading the play" and said he found surprise and mystery in this adaptation, according to DCTC notes.

Performances continue to April 25 at The Stage Theatre in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

According to notes from the Tony Award-winning DCTC, "Narrated by John Wheelwright recounting his childhood memories, the play selects specific memorable images and characters from the epic novel. Owen Meany, a curiously small child with a high-pitched voice, was John's best friend. When Owen accidentally kills John's mother in 1950s New Hampshire, the two boys are forever linked as they search for truth in this provocative dark comedy of friendship, faith and destiny."

The large cast of A Prayer for Owen Meany is led by Denver Center newcomer Michael Wartella as Owen and company member David Ivers as John Wheelwright. They are joined by Jeanne Paulsen as Harriet Wheelwright, Kathleen McCall as Tabitha Wheelwright, Kathleen M. Brady as Lydia, James Michael Reilly as Dan Needham, John Hutton as Reverend Merrill, Mike Hartman as Mr. Meany, Gordana Rashovich as Mrs. Meany/Mrs. Lish, newcomer Cheryl Lynn Bowers as Barb Wiggins, Sam Gregory as Rector Wiggins/Jarvit Dad, Philip Pleasants as Mr. Fish and Dr. Dolder, Randy Moore as Randy White, and Douglas Bynum, Megan Byrne, Kelli Crump, Sean Lyons, Rebeca Martin, Chris Mazza, M. Scott McLean, Shauna Miles, Larry Paulsen, Jenna Panther, Dawn Scott and Joseph Yeargain.

Scenic designer William Bloodgood (Dusty and the Big Bad World) "has set the play in a neutral space with the stepped walls of a granite quarry in the colors of a perfectly remembered New England autumn." The costume designer is Bill Black (Dusty and the Big Bad World), lighting design is by Tony-nominated Ann G. Wrightson (Inana) and the sound designer is Craig Breitenbach. Music was composed or arranged by Gregg Coffin (A Christmas Carol, The Merry Wives of Windsor), fight direction is by Geoffrey Kent and the vocal coach is Hilary Blair. For more information, visit ww.denvercenter.org.

David Ivers and Michael Wartella in the Denver Center Theatre Company's <i>A Prayer for Owen Meany</i>
David Ivers and Michael Wartella in the Denver Center Theatre Company's A Prayer for Owen Meany Photo by Terry Shapiro
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