Standing ovation beats a Henry any day, cast of ‘Porgy’ says


AURORA | Aurora’s Fox Arts Center theater didn’t take home a Henry Award this year for its production of the musical “Porgy and Bess.” But that didn’t put a damper on the festivities on July 17 as the cast reunited to take over the stage at the awards show one last time to perform a medley of the classic musical.

“Porgy and Bess” was nominated for five Henry’s, the awards granted by the Colorado Theater Guild each year, including Outstanding Production of a Musical, Outstanding Direction of a Musical and Outstanding Ensemble Performance. Beau Bisson, patron services manager for the Fox, said while it was just an honor to be nominated, seeing the cast come together one final time to perform made the entire night worth while.

“The cast got to come together and perform a medley from the show. It was amazing to watch. We were the only theater company that performed that got a full standing ovation from the audience,” Bisson said. “We were very proud to be able to perform that music. I definitely think that getting the cast together got people excited. They formed a family during that show and they got to get back together one final time and perform, which was special.”

The 2016-2017 season was one of ups and downs for the Fox, with successes like “Porgy and Bess,” delayed productions due to an injured actor and the theater’s longtime executive producer Charlie Packard leaving the Fox unexpectedly in late May.

But as the Fox prepares for its upcoming season, the staff is focused on continuing the theater’s work on bringing a diverse set of productions into Aurora. After Packard left, the staff scrapped the planned season that was about 80-percent complete and in several weeks formed a new five-show season that was announced this month.

As in previous seasons, Bisson said the staff was intent on selecting plays that not only spoke to the diversity of the community in Aurora but also were worthy of that diversity.

“When it comes to the next season, we’re not looking to restart or turn the ship in a new direction. We wanted to look at what happened at the Fox in its previous seasons. And we’ve been bringing in more and more diverse shows,” Bisson said.

“The most important thing is for the shows is to be original and to be good. So we see this next season as a continuation of what’s happened at the Fox in the last few years. We want to push boundaries and to start a conversation.”

While the Fox is gearing up for its next season, the city is in the midst of a search for a new executive producer. Gary Margolis, the city of Aurora’s cultural services manager, is currently acting as executive producer for the Fox until a new leader can be selected.

Margolis said the city has posted the job as being open until filled which means a hire could happen at any given time. As of now, the goal is to start phone interviews with prospective candidates by the middle of August.

From there, a narrow list of candidates will be invited to travel to Aurora for in person interviews in the middle of September with a hire coming by October.