Phamaly Theatre Company

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Phamaly Theatre Company
Industry Entertainment
Genre Theatre / Disability
Founded 1989
Headquarters Denver, CO, United States
Area served
Denver Metro

Phamaly Theatre Company (formerly the Physically Handicapped Actors & Musical Artists League or PHAMALy), also known as just Phamaly (as in "family"), is a theater group and touring company based in Denver, Colorado formed entirely of people with disabilities from across the spectrum.[1] Phamaly was founded in 1989 by a group of former students of the Boettcher School, a now-closed school for the disabled.[2] The students were frustrated with the lack of theatrical opportunities for people with disabilities and wanted to create a theatre company that provided those individuals with the opportunity to perform.[3] Phamaly Theatre Company performs primarily at the Denver Performing Arts Complex and the Aurora Fox Theatre.[4] The company's season also includes various touring and educational shows. Its recent seasons have seen productions tour outside the state of Colorado into neighboring Wyoming as well as Osaka, Japan.[1]


Phamaly Theatre Company has gained national attention and has received numerous local awards, including the Mayor's Award for Excellence in the Arts[5] and Theatre Company of the Year from 5280 Magazine and the Alliance for Colorado Theatre.[citation needed] Phamaly's 2005 production was awarded two Ovation Awards from the Denver Post, including Best Musical and Best Director, was recognized by the Rocky Mountain News as one of ten best productions of the year, and was named top overall show by the Boulder Daily Camera.[citation needed] At the 2008 Henry Awards (Denver's version of the Tonys),[6] Phamaly won four awards with Urinetown, the Musical, for Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Juliet Villa), Outstanding Lighting Design (Stephen D. Mazzeno), Outstanding Choreography (Debbie Stark, Cindy Bray) and Outstanding Direction of a Musical (Steve Wilson).[7]

On August 29, 2006, Phamaly was featured in a lengthy segment of The News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS.[8] This marked the company's first mainstream national publicity. Previous to that, Phamaly is also the subject of a documentary short entitled We Are PHAMALY directed by Daniel Junge.[9] Long-time company member Mark Dissette made a feature-length documentary, There's Still Hope for Dreams (A PHAMALy Story) (2008).[10]

Phamaly was honored to receive grants for community impact from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2013 and 2014.[citation needed]


Phamaly performs a musical every summer, usually in the Space Theatre at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.[citation needed]

In January 2007, the company opened the first non-musical production in its history at the Aurora Fox Theatre on historic Colfax Avenue. The company has performed at the Aurora Fox every winter since. In 2011 it expanded to the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities as well.[citation needed]

Since the fall of 2008, Phamaly has also produced a series of sketch comedy productions entitled Vox Phamalia. These cabaret style shows consist of original comedic, dramatic, and musical material written in a workshop over several weeks before being performed.[11] The 2011 version – Vox Phamalia: Quadrapalooza – received numerous awards and nominations from Denver theatre critics, including one for Best Director for Edith Weiss, who originated the Vox Phamalia series.[12]

2012 saw the start of another original comedy series titled disLabled which marked the company's debut appearance in the city of Boulder, Colorado and recurred for two years in 2013 and 2014.[13]

Throughout its history, Phamaly has also had a number of touring productions consisting of original and previously produced pieces. These productions have been performed at schools, corporate events, community gatherings, and resort venues. Since 2012, Phamaly has had a regular touring series of children's theatre productions that has traveled all over Colorado and Wyoming.[citation needed]

Phamaly Success Stories[edit]

Two members of Phamaly – Regan Linton and Jason Dorwart – have gone on to earn, respectively, a Master of Fine Arts in Acting program and a PhD for Theatre and Drama, both through the University of California, San Diego.[14][15] Linton went on to become the first wheelchair user to be cast as a company member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and was recently hired as Phamaly's Artistic Director. Dorwart is now a Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater at Oberlin College. [14] In addition, Laura Alsum, one of the original Vox Phamalia actors/writers completed the Masters program for screenwriting at UCLA where she won the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Student Grand Jury Prize for Screenwriting.[16] Long time Phamaly member Lucy Roucis was featured doing her stand up comedy act about Parkinson's Disease in the 2010 romantic comedy Love & Other Drugs.[17] Jeremy Palmer earned his MFA in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California in 2017.

Production History[edit]

Previous productions have included:[18]


  1. ^ a b c Moore, John (December 30, 2015). "2015 True West Award: Phamaly Theatre Company's 'Cabaret'". DCPA Newscenter. Denver Center for Performing Arts. Archived from the original on March 20, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Accessibility". Arizona Commission on the Arts. Archived from the original on August 11, 2015. 
  3. ^ "About Phamaly". Phamaly. Retrieved March 26, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Where we perform". Phamaly. Retrieved March 26, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Mayor's Awards for Excellence in Arts and Culture". Arts & Venues Denver. Archived from the original on March 11, 2016. 
  6. ^ Flomberg, Deb (June 19, 2015). "2015 Henry Award nominations are announced". AXS. Archived from the original on March 26, 2016. 
  7. ^ Calhoun, Patricia (July 11, 2008). "Oh, Henry! A Rewarding Night of Theater Awards". Westword. Archived from the original on March 26, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Bowser, Betty Ann (August 29, 2006). "Denver Theater Featuring Disabled Cast Gains Popularity". PBS Newshour. Archived from the original on January 19, 2011.  Transcript.
  9. ^ a b Crosetto, Alice; Garcha, Rajinder; Horan, Mark (2009). Disabilities and Disorders in Literature for Youth: A Selective Annotated Bibliography for K-12. Scarecrow Press. pp. 263–4. ISBN 978-0-8108-6962-2. 
  10. ^ "There's Still Hope for Dreams, A PHAMALy Story". Denver Film Society. Archived from the original on March 27, 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Moore, John (October 28, 2011). ""Vox" is PHAMALy's knee-slapping sketch comedy – knees optional". Denver Post. Archived from the original on November 3, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Moore, John (December 24, 2011). "2011 Denver Post Ovation Award Winners". Denver Post. Archived from the original on January 14, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Veltman, Chloe (April 24, 2014). "Weekend Arts Roundup". Colorado Public Radio. Archived from the original on April 28, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b Holicky, Richard (May 1, 2015). "The Transformation of Regan Linton". New Mobility. Archived from the original on June 16, 2015. 
  15. ^ "About Jason Dorwart". UC San Diego. Archived from the original on October 3, 2015. 
  16. ^ Guerrasio, Jason (February 28, 2014). "Get To Know Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize Winner Laura Alsum". Tribeca Film Institute. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. 
  17. ^ Moore, John (November 13, 2010). "Parkinson's comedy has Denver actress riding high". Denver Post. Archived from the original on March 27, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Past productions". Phamaly. Retrieved March 26, 2016. 
  19. ^ Lillie, Jim. "Step Right Up". Westword. Archived from the original on February 18, 2005. 
  20. ^ Wittman, Juliet (June 12, 2008). "Side Show". Westword. Archived from the original on March 27, 2016. 
  21. ^ Kleinman, Jessica (September 10, 2012). "Phamaly Presents: Cyrano de Bergerac". Theatre. 303 Magazine. Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  22. ^ Kennedy, Lisa (December 22, 2013). "Best of 2013: The 10 highest theater notes that made a critic happy to be watching". Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. 

External links[edit]