Local drama king wins best director award
BRECKENRIDGE – Jeremy Cole was the Susan Lucci of the Denver Drama Circle, having been nominated for awards in various theater categories seven times – and losing every time. The Denver Drama Circle no longer exists, but Cole’s history of nominations continued as he was nominated for best director at the Denver Post Ovation Awards.And the losing streak is over. Cole finally received his due accolade last weekend for directing “Metamorphoses” at the Avenue Theatre in Denver.”It was great working with him,” said Keith Orell, stage manager for “Metamorphoses.” “He’s definitely a dedicated theatrical professional who knows what he’s doing and knows what he wants.”The play also won best drama, best supporting actor and a special achievement award for the 1,800-gallon pool featured in the production.Cole received his win in the form of a Christmas present, having found out about it in the Denver Post online on Dec. 25.The talent for which he was awarded didn’t emerge overnight though. Cole has been involved in theater for more than 30 years.
“I began as a boy soprano,” Cole said. “But then my voice changed and I moved on to real theater.”Cole was born in San Diego and raised in the Ozarks of the country’s heartland. He currently lives in Breckenridge with his partner Brian Morran. His passion for drama began when he was a child and is still gaining momentum. He has been on all sides of the stage, from backstage designing costumes to on-stage acting to offstage directing to in the audience enjoying the show. Eventually he found his ultimate theatrical calling.”I was so bossy, I realized I’d have to be a director,” he said.Cole has lived in Summit County and has been with the Backstage Theatre for four years. He serves as the theater’s artistic director.”My proudest achievement (with the Backstage Theatre) has been keeping the theater going,” Cole said.During the theater’s 28th season and Cole’s first, the Backstage had to find a new location. Cole told the board that instead of taking a hiatus, shows should continue wherever they could be performed. Casts and crews accepted the challenge of creating theater in any venue that would house them.
The variety of venues included Breckenridge’s Town Council Chambers, Father Dyer United Methodist Church, the Breckenridge Recreation Center and even Starbucks in Dillon.The new Breckenridge Theatre, a remodel of the old Shamus O’Toole’s Roadhouse Saloon, located at 121 S. Ridge St. opened on Dec. 21, 2002.In the new theater, Cole increased the number of shows performed and decreased the length of each run to provide more variety for locals and visitors.What inspires him to stay involved with theater?”It ain’t the money,” Cole said, laughing. In Denver, Cole was known for doing unusual plays with cross-gender or cross-cultural casting. Once he set “Death of a Salesman” in the attic of a house. By coming to Summit County, Cole had to go from quirky, socially relevant shows to comedies and more time-tested dramas.”I had to shift my whole thinking to standard living room comedies,” Cole said.
Although he had to move to a slightly more conventional way of thinking, he still strives not to do what every other theater is doing.”The inspiration for me now is that search,” he said.Cole said he finds that actors are more interested as well in the shows that haven’t already been done over and over and turned into movies. “The actors have a lot more freedom and there’s less pressure to imitate,” he said.With the many plays in the drama world, Cole sometimes finds it challenging to find fresh scripts. “The ones that leap out at me are those with something to say, but say it in a different way,” Cole said.Jennifer Huffman can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 248, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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