Benchmark Theatre

Smokefall by Noah Haidle Opening December 1st

Benchmark Theatre’s Inaugural Production

The Nether by Jennifer Haley is a virtual wonderland that provides total sensory immersion; just log in, choose an identity and indulge your every desire. But when a young detective uncovers a disturbing brand of entertainment, she triggers an interrogation into the darkest corners of the imagination.

Winner of the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, The Nether is both a serpentine crime drama and haunting sci-fi thriller that explores the consequences of living out our private dreams.

Please note that this production is intended for mature audiences.

Presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC

March 31 - April 23, 2017  
Thurs - Sat 8:00pm & Sun 6:00pm
All Performances at
Buntport Theatre
717 Lipan St, Denver, CO 80204
$30 GA
$20 Senior/Student/Military
Purchase Tickets

 

Meet the Cast

Haley Johnson - Morris

As Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director of Benchmark Theatre, Haley is privileged to be both performing in, as well as, producing The Nether for their inaugural production. A 3-time Henry Award nominated actress, she’s recently been seen in Casa Valentina (Edge Theatre); as Becca in last year’s Henry Award winner for both Outstanding Ensemble and Outstanding Play, Rabbit Hole (Vintage Theatre); How I Learned to Drive (square product); Westword’s Best Drama of 2014, Ambition Facing West (BETC); as well as, Jessie in the Henry Award winning Outstanding Play ‘Night, Mother and Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire both with Vintage Theatre. Some favorite past shows include Angels in America, A Small Fire, A Lie of the Mind, The Shadow Box, Enchanted April, Move Over Mrs. Markham and Some Girl(s). Gratitude to Rachel, Dan, Christopher, Stevie, Ann, Haushold, the cast and crew and the entire Benchmark company and board for taking a step forward with us.

Jim Hunt - Doyle

Jim is delighted to be part of Benchmark Theatre’s first production and to finally have actual scenes with Haley Johnson. A Colorado native, Jim has worked in area theatres, as actor and director, for nearly fifty years. He is an artistic company member at Curious Theatre Company where recent roles include Charles Ives in Charles Ives Take Me Home and Morty in After the Revolution. As a member of Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company (BETC), Jim has created the roles of Dr. Yahuda in Hysteria, Copernicus in And the Sun Stood Still (world premiere), Kaufmann in Bach at Leipzig, and Woolsey in Ghost-Writer. Recent roles on other stages include Zeus in The Zeus Problem (Buntport Theater), Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (Miners Alley Playhouse), Ralph in The Last Romance (Senior Housing Options), Judge/Amy in Casa Valentina (The Edge Theatre), Scrooge in A Puppet Christmas Carol (Breckenridge Backstage Theatre), Beverly Weston in August: Osage County (Creede Repertory Theatre), and F in Cock (Avenue Theatre). For eleven years, Jim directed the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Awards Ceremony and received their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.

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Ella Madison - Iris

Ella Madison moved to Colorado three years ago and has been in several productions and films, most recently a lead role in the independent film Rift! and a featured role in the feature film Cooper's Army.  She played a Bellingham Twin in Opera Colorado’s The Scarlet Letter and performed as Betty Parris in the Crucible and Dixie in Cat in a Hot Tin Roof with The Upstart Crow Theatre Co. Ella has also played Charlie in Charlie in the Chocolate Factory at the Wolf Theatre,  a young super hero in the independent film Poof!, and was featured in a holiday promotion on Good Morning America. Ella is a 6th grader at Denver School of Science and Technology where she loves learning film making and has a passion for challenging roles that help her experience different characters.

                                                          

Marc Stith - Sims/Papa

Marc is thrilled to contribute to Benchmark Theatre's inaugural production, and to have the opportunity to create alongside so many talented theatre artists who care so deeply about doing good work. Throughout the past 4 years Marc has, on occasion, dipped his toe into the Denver theatre scene, and considers himself lucky to have met and worked with so many gifted people - something for which he is eternally grateful. It's the shared experience of creating something larger than any one individual that keeps him coming back. Marc has trod the boards in productions all over the Denver area, including Rabbit Hole (winner of 4 Henry Awards) and Lobby Hero at Vintage Theater, Hir at Miner’s Alley Playhouse, and JerusalemCat On A Hot Tin Roof and Shadowbox at the Edge, just to name a few. When not onstage, Marc serves as Marketing Director for a large non-profit association. 

 

Cameron Varner - Woodnut

Cameron is proud to be a part of Benchmark Theatre's premier production. As a recent graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, he is eager to continue performance career in Colorado. Having grown up acting across the state, he is overjoyed to return to such a welcoming and thriving community. Most recently Cameron has played Dumaine in Love's Labours Lost (Bard in the Botanics), Chris in Becky's New Car (Firehouse Theatre Company), and multiple roles in CU, Boulder's commemorative First Folio production of Shakespeare and the Stars.

Meet the Design & Production Team

Director: Rachel Bouchard

Rachel is the Co-Founder and Executive Artistic Director of Benchmark Theatre. Since moving to Denver in 2009, she has had the honor of directing, acting and stage managing at a number of regional theatre companies including: Backstage Theatre, Creede Repertory Theatre, Cherry Creek Theatre, Curious Theatre Company, The Edge Theater Company, Miners Alley Playhouse, Spotlight Theatre Company, Starkey Productions, and Vintage Theater Productions. Prior to arriving in Colorado, she worked as a director, stage manager, and actor in Chicago, IL. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre from the University of Southern Mississippi with Honors.

Production Stage Manager: Dan Rib

Dan is a graduate of University of Southern California School of Theatre. He served as Los Angeles Ballet’s Stage Manager and Company Manager for their first seven years from 2006 to 2013, when he moved to Denver. He spent two years as Company Manager and Producer at Vintage Theatre in Aurora, but recently joined the staff at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center as Production Manager in 2016. He is currently stage managing Denver Children’s Theatre’s production of The Jungle Book simultaneous to his work on The Nether.

Scenic/Projection/Properties Design: Christopher M. Waller

Christopher is honored to be embarking on this maiden voyage with Benchmark Theatre. He is the fulltime Technical Director and Resident Designer at the Parsons Theatre in Northglenn, Colorado. He holds a double BA in Theatre Arts and Communications and an MFA in Theatre Design and Technology. His designs have been seen at various theatres throughout Atlanta, St. Louis, Boulder and Denver. When not doing theatre you can find Christopher working on his jeep or hitting the trail.

Lighting Design: Stevie Caldarola 

Stevie is a quirky nerd with a penchant for puzzles and learning what makes people tick. In her spare time, she likes to make things and get her groove on. To Stevie, there is nothing on Earth quite like painting with shadows. Stevie would love to hear your thoughts on this show. Find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/stevie.caldarola and let her know what's on your mind.

Costume Design: Ann Piano

For the past 14 years, Ann Piano has run the Opera Colorado Costume Department and designed their Young Artist Touring Production costumes. In 2012, she won a True West “Best Costume Design” Award for THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY at The Curious Theatre Company. In 2009, she was nominated for an “Outstanding Costume Design” Henry Award for ENCHANTED APRIL at Miner’s Alley Playhouse. Ms. Piano has also worked with The Aurora Fox, Central City Opera, Colorado Shakespeare Company, Emerald City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Theatre Or and THEATREWORKS. When her schedule allows, she makes custom clothing for private clients. Ms. Piano received a BFA in Fashion Design from Stephens College, Columbia, MO, with a Minor in Fine Art.

Original Music: Haushold

Sound Design: Rachel Bouchard

Video Production: Susannah McLeod

Susannah is stoked to be a part of launching Benchmark’s first production! Most recently you may have seen her performing in Red, Hot & Cole at Cherry Creek Theatre or Junie B. Jones at the Arvada Center. When not on stage, Susannah works as a photographer and videographer, recently launching her own business, McLeod9 Creative. For The Nether, she filmed and edited the marketing videos that will launch prior to the production, as well as pre and post-show videos you'll see when you come to the show! For more information, visit www.mcleod9creative.com.

Master Electrician/Production Assistant: Alexis K. Bond

Alexis is a Colorado native with a BFA in technical theatre from MSU Denver. Her previous work includes light designs around the metro area and lighting installs at schools and places of worship. Her most notable skill is fitting into small spaces. In her free time she can be found co-piloting a Jeep off road or snuggled on her couch playing XBox. Alexis would like to congratulate Benchmark Theatre for its premier production. She is thankful to be a part of such a collaborative, hardworking team.

Master Carpenter: Jeff Jesmer

Scenic Painter: Julie Lemieux

Fight Choreography: Luke Rahmsdorff-Terry

Social Media Campaign: Lauren Bahlman

Publicist: Sarah Kolb 

Sarah is a communicator, activist and storyteller based in Denver. She currently works in marketing with the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities and is on the marketing committee of Athena Project, a collective of female artists dedicated to supporting women's voices in Denver's artistic community. Sarah holds a Master's in Strategic Communication from the University of Denver, focusing on the practice of public relations and social movements as well as intercultural perspectives in PR practice, and a Bachelor's in Journalism from Northern Arizona University. Keep an eye out for her at the theatre, a concert or on the trail with her dog.

With Special Thanks

Buntport, Modest Arts, Mizel Arts and Cultural CenterDenver Center for the Performing Arts Education DepartmentThe Edge Theater Company, Orchid Quartet, City of Northglenn and the D. L. Parson Theatre, Vintage Theater Company, Michael Bouchard, Scott Goldbaum, John Hauser, Drew Hirschboeck, Jack Johnson, Chloe McLeod, Molly Rogers, Cole Schlam, Michael Stricker, Allie and Andrew Tolbert

Thanks to the following artists who helped make our video marketing campaign a success:

Abby Apple Boes, Carlos Flores, Erica Fox, Therese Gardner, John Hauser, Dakota Hill, John Jurcheck, Aspen Kush, Dale Martin, Gavin McAfoos, Anne Meyers, Jihad Milhem, Jenna Moll Reyes, Alena Olson, Erik Sandvold, Kaliea Schutz, Regina Steffen, Neil Truglio, Jason Valenzuela and Julie Kaye Wolf

 

Center Theatre Group/Kirk Douglas Theatre, Michael Ritchie, Artistic Director, produced the World Premiere of THE NETHER in Los Angeles, CA in 2013

Development of THE NETHER was supported by the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center during a residency at the National Playwrights Conference 2011, Preston Whiteway, Executive Director, Wendy Goldberg, Artistic Director

Developed at the Lark Play Development Center, NYC

UK premiere first co-produced by Headlong Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre on July 17, 2014 at the Royal Court and was subsequently transferred to the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions and Scott M Delman in association with Tulchin Bartner Productions, Lee Dean & Charles Diamond, 1001 Nights, JFL Theatricals/GHF Productions, Scott & Brian Zeilinger / James Lefkowitz. The West End premiere took place on February 24, 2015 at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London

New York Premiere at the MCC Theater February 24, 2015 Artistic Directors: Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, & William Cantler

 

And all our appreciation to our liquor sponsors: