#61: Josh Hartwell
The talented Josh Hartwell works with some of the region’s best and most creative independent theater companies — Curious Theatre, Boulder Ensemble Theatre and Buntport Theater, to name a few — as both actor and director, but he’s also an accomplished and award-winning playwright with a new play, Dylan Went Electric, about to premiere in September at Miners Alley Playhouse.
In addition to showcasing live local musicians in the show in keeping with the playwright’s own devotion to the music world, Dylan will continue its contemporary groove by including an onstage bar that audience members can frequent during the intermission. How does such a busy man keep all his theatrical chickens in a row? Learn more from his answers to the 100CC questionnaire.
If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
I would love to collaborate with David Bowie on a musical. I am a huge fan, but also endlessly impressed by him. I read that he was originally wanting to make his album Diamond Dogs into a stage musical, but was unable to acquire the rights to 1984 from Orwell’s estate. Just being in a creative collaborative room with him would be amazing.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Well, David Bowie again. But I also have a general attraction to the old brilliant rock and roll heroes. A lot of my plays are inspired directly or indirectly by rock musicians. Aside from that, I would go with William S. Burroughs, Stephen King and Edward Hopper. The worlds that they created were so evocative and inspiring.
What’s one art trend you want to see die this year?
The wimpification of monsters in books, movies and on television. I’m a huge horror fan, and I like vampires and werewolves to be horrible and terrifying.
What’s your day job?
Well, in the summer it’s all about Curious New Voices. Then in the fall, I will again be one of the playwriting workshop teachers at high schools for the Denver Center. I’m also one of three writers for Duck Duck Dupe at Buntport. I piece things together.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
I would love to do a lot of traveling, to research whatever plays I might be working on. And I would love to travel to theaters in other cities. Not just Chicago, London and New York. I’d go all over Europe and Asia. Everywhere. To see all different kinds of theater.
What’s the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
I would like to see more cross-overs. (Shameless plug alert): For example, in Dylan Went Electric we are going to have different live local bands play at the top of act two — thanks to our pal John Baxter. It’s written in the script, and I really hope it works out. I would love to introduce the live-local-musician community to the live theater community and vice versa.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Is it cheating if I say Jim Hunt? Not just because he’s my best buddy. He is also a wonderful collaborator. He’s aways positive and willing to take chances, is a brilliant and giving actor, and as a director, he creates such a sense of community/family.
What’s on your agenda in the coming year?
I have two plays that I’m writing. I’m coincidentally on page 46 on both of them, I think. I am going to finish writing both of those suckers.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local theater community in 2014 and beyond?
Adam Stone and Screw Tooth will continue to get noticed. I think even more people outside of Boulder will go to BETC both to work and watch. And this actor, Luke Sorge, has done a lot of film and is just getting more theater work. He’ll get cast a lot. Also, Regina Fernandez Steffen and Isaiah Kelley are pretty awesome.
Josh Hartwell’s new play Dylan Went Electric makes its world premiere September 12 and runs through October 19 at Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden. To learn more about Hartwell online.
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