Physically Handicapped Actors Tackle Wilder's "Our Town"

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2007 will be another break through year for nationally recognized, award winning PHAMALy (The Physically Handicapped Actors & Musical Artists League) with a production of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" opening in January.

2007 will be another break through year for PHAMALy (The Physically Handicapped Actors & Musical Artists League) with a production of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" opening in January. Long known for their annual musical productions, PHAMALy is now realizing its long time dream of a second show and introducing audiences to the dramatic talents of the traditionally musical cast.

PHAMALy's mission is to enable persons with disabilities to showcase their talents and abilities through live productions and to make the performing arts more accessible to everyone.

  •     As a not-for-profit membership organization, PHAMALy is dedicated to producing traditional theater in nontraditional ways.
  •     Year after year, our professionally produced shows continue to reaffirm that dedication.
  •     We strive to empower our actors as they acquire and improve their acting skills.
  •     We educate theater professionals in methods of adapting their own productions to the needs of people with disabilities.
  •     We develop, discover, and incorporate assistive technologies to improve the experience for actors and audiences alike.

Each actor in "Our Town" is physically or developmentally challenged, some are blind, others hearing-impaired and several are in wheelchairs. Their disabilities include Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson's and others. But audiences will be focused on the actors' talent, not their disabilities.

PHAMALy is not only unique to Colorado but nationally as the only company comprised of actors with varying disabilities that presents a full production of a commercial musical every year.

"Our Town" runs January 12 through February 4 at the Aurora Fox Theatre, 9900 E. Colfax Ave in Aurora. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. An additional performance will be held on Monday, January 22 at 7:30 p.m. (Tickets $20 all seats). The Sunday, January 21 performance will be audio-described for low-vision and blind patrons and sign language interpreted for deaf audience members. There will be a talk-back with the cast following the Friday, January 19 performance. Tickets are $22 adult and $20 for students, seniors, PHAMALy members and Aurora Fox subscribers. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling the Aurora Fox box office at 303-739-1970. For general information call the PHAMALy hotline at 303-575-0005.

The Stage Manager guides us through life in Grover's Corner, introducing us to the Webbs and the Gibbs, two of the town's respected families. A typical day starts with getting the children up and off to school, George Gibbs always struggling with schoolwork while Emily Webb is the best student in her class. "Our Town" provides the audience an informal, intimate and compelling human drama. Wilder creates types rather than individuals -- where every audience member can say, "Yes, I know someone like that. He's just like so-and-so," or "I know what he is feeling. I've felt that way myself." This sense of "recollection" permeates the play to both thrill and haunt us with reminders of our common and fragile humanity. Though set during the early Twentieth Century, Grover's Corner New Hampshire is anyplace and all places, anytime and all times. The experience motivates the audience to treasure everyday life just as it is.

Now in its 18th season PHAMALy is the nationally recognized, award winning Colorado Theatre Company that presented last summer's critically acclaimed production of "The Wiz" at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. PHAMALy was featured on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and is available for viewing at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment/july-dec06/theater_08-29.html.

The company's inspirational 2005 production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" was named Best Musical of 2005 by the Denver Post; one of the top ten productions of 2005 by the Rocky Mountain News and Best Overall Production of 2005 by the Boulder Daily Camera. PHAMALy Artistic Director Steve Wilson garnered a 2006 Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award for Best Direction of a Musical for this astounding production. Additionally PHAMALy has received numerous honors over the years including the Mayor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. More information at http://www.phamaly.org or call the PHAMALy Hotline at 303-575-0005.

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GLORIA SHANSTROM
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