Last Friday night - we were treated to and participated in a magical event. We had gotten tickets to the play "Harvey" which was produced by the PHAMALY Theatre Company. It was held in the Historic Olin Hotel - Apartments which is located on Logan street in Downtown Denver.
The Olin is home to numerous - over 100 - low and very low income seniors who live in subsidized housing. The average income for the folks there is $10,800.....a year. Senior Housing Options owns and operates the hotel and was established in 1979 to try to address the needs of seniors and older individuals with disabilities. A worthy organization in collaborating with PHAMALY Theatre Company......but the magic was just the beginning.....
PHAMALY Theatre Company is the oldest and longest running theatre company in the United States that EXCLUSIVELY casts actors with all natures of disabilities. It doesn't make any difference with regards to race, gender, class, ethnic background or religious beliefs. It was established to give individuals a chance to realize their dreams in the theatre with respect to but without prejudice to their disabilities. It casts for potential - and performance !
The play was "Harvey". It was written in Denver by Mary Chase for the people of Denver....fitting since we were watching it here. It took her over two years and is quite the story.
Jimmy Stewart made it famous on the big screen. - It is about a man who has as his friend a 6 foot invisible rabbit...only he can see him. It was written after WWII to brighten the lives of so many that had been affected by the travesties of the war....it was written to make them smile and laugh again. The question being.....do you have to deal with reality that makes you unhappy or maybe deal with a belief that brings joy to you and others. The point.....look past the tragedy.
That is basically the story but this is where the magic happened for us:
The actors and acting were FABULOUS...splendid and memorable. I don't disclose the names of people on line or in blogs without their permission.....and I wasn't able to talk with the members of the cast after the show so I don't feel comfortable blogging about them without their approval. But I can say this........The entire cast including the ensemble was comprised of sixteen dedicated and hard working actors, a production team of ten and a staff of four. As for the actors their personal "disability" issues ranged from Parkinson's to dyslexia, traumatic brain injury, deafness, bipolar disorder, autism, epilepsy.....on and on. Talk about courage, commitment and support for the sake of theatre. Working as the true professionals they are they made "magic" happen. They were downright good !!!!!
The production was also wonderfully unique. There were two sets - a living room and a sanitarium office. The were placed on different floors of the Olin Hotel-Apartmen building. Instead of the sets changing the audience simply moved from one floor to the other as the scenes changed. Ingenious......
PHAMALY Theatre Company is a professional - well coordinated and superior acting group. We have seen shows - plays - musicals around the world. From London to Broadway to Denver and in between. This group ranks as one of our favorite. Treat yourself if you get the chance and go watch some magic being made.
They have a Mission & Vision:
"OUR MISSION is to inspire people to re-envision disability through professional theatre.
OUR VISION is that every individual with a disability has the opportunity to participate in all aspects of high-quality performing arts."
"MISSION and VISION ACCOMPLISHED"
BK Travel Tips
To enjoy travel and see the world and often yourself as if for the first time and with with the eyes of a young child.