RENT Rises Again

Rent returns to the stage at the Lincoln Center December 1–3, and is staying true to the original production from the costume designer, to the set, to the sound — the only change is a new cast.

Rent follows the lives of seven artists struggling to pursue their dreams without selling out. One of these fresh-faced actors is Kaleb Wells, who plays leading character Roger, an ex-junkie with HIV in love with Mimi.

For Wells, Rent has always been “that white whale of a show.” He grew up listening to the album, watching the movie and seeing the tour in Boston. It influenced his decision to pursue acting as a career.

“This show at its heart is about family, not the family that you’re born with, but the family that you choose to spend your life with, ” Wells says, who feels constant support from his peers.

With a brand new cast, the audience will find elements of the characters that they haven’t seen before. Roger often seems closed off, but Wells’ goal “is that he’s human, and the things he does, he does because of the situation that he’s in and he ultimately regrets a lot of his decisions.” As actors first and singers second, the cast tries to affect each other and react naturally on stage to provide a genuine experience.

Rent addresses some heavy themes, but Wells emphasized that it carries “a message that really needs to be told and heard in this climate politically and globally.” He’s noticed that while all of their audiences have had vastly different backgrounds, they all have a similar reaction. Rent isn’t just for the younger generation, but for anyone who has dealt with struggle or seeks to understand it.

As one of only five musicals to win both a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize, Rent continues to speak loudly and defiantly across generations. Tickets start at $20 and are available here.

Share the Warmth This Season

The Lincoln Center, Homeless Gear, and Northern Colorado Pride are teaming up to make this holiday season a little warmer for folks in need by  holding a coat drive. Collections will take place at the Lincoln Center during four performances of the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, December 1-3, 2016.

“Talk about life imitating art, ” says Lincoln Center Executive Director, Jack A. Rogers. “RENT is a show about invisible communities that are struggling as the cost of living goes up and up. I think a lot of people in Fort Collins can relate to that. It’s not only a great show, but a great way to give visibility to our own communities in need.”

In 1996, RENT’s creator Jonathan Larson was barely paying the rent himself and seemed to always be on the cusp of homelessness. Despite this, he penned a groundbreaking musical that gave voice to a whole generation that still speaks to us today.

The musical deals with subjects ranging from friendship, and creativity to poverty and LGBT concerns. Since 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT, this is a critical issue for Northern Colorado Pride. Partnering with Homeless Gear will ensure that homeless youth in Fort Collins will have supplies they need to endure the cold Colorado winter.

“Our goal at Homeless Gear is to provide people who face homelessness with the support that they need to survive, gain stability, and progress toward self-sufficiency, ” states Chelsey Mandell with Homeless Gear. “This is an amazing opportunity to help people get what they need to survive, but it also allows people to focus on aspects of life beyond meeting those basic needs. We send a huge, huge thank you to the Lincoln Center and anyone who participates this year.”

The most needed items are adult hoodies, fleeces, sweatshirts (no sweaters), jackets, winter gloves, tents, tarps, framed backpacks, school-size backpacks, socks, sleeping bags, warm sweatpants, and thermal tops and bottoms.

New or gently-used items will be taken at the Lincoln Center during the four performances of RENT, December 1, 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec 3 at 2 p.m., 2016.

For more information, please go to

#FoCoArt National Arts & Humanities Month Contest

Welcome to #FoCoArt, where residents can share their experiences of arts and humanities throughout Fort Collins to celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month. Post your photos on social media using #FoCoArt and enter to win one of four great prizes!




– Prize 1: FOUR (4) Fort Collins Museum of Discovery guest passes

– Prize 2: TWO (2) tickets to the national tour of Once at The Lincoln Center

– Prize 3: TWO (2) tickets to any Bas Bleu Theatre Co. show during the 2016/2017 season

– Prize 4: TWO (2) tickets to Fort Collins Children’s Theatre’s production of Beauty and the Beast


Rules And Regulations

This is a subjective contest, and chance plays no part in the determination of winning.

1. Contest is open to all residents within Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming. (City of Fort Collins employees and their immediate family members are not eligible to enter)

2. Contest begins October 3 at 12:01 a.m. MT and ends October 31, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. MT.

3. To enter, share your photo to #FoCoArt via Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. You may also email your entry to with subject line “Arts and Humanities Entry”.  Alternatively, entries can be mailed to: City of Fort Collins,  215 N. Mason St., 3rd Floor CPIO, Fort Collins CO, 80524. Entry must include your full name and contact information. Entry must also include a parent or legal guardian’s full name, telephone number and email address if under the age of 18.

4. Entry must be received by the City of Fort Collins no later than 11:59 p.m. MT on October 31, 2016 by social media, email or mail. No other method of entry will be accepted.

5. The City reserves the right to reject any or all submissions at any time for any reason in the review and selection process.

6. Contact and shipping information collected will be used for the purposes of this contest only and will not be used for marketing or other purposes.

7. All entries must be entirely created by the entrant.

8. Photographs that include logos, copyrighted or trademark images, advertisements or political, commercial, religious or sexual symbols, themes or messages will not be accepted.

9. Photographs should be appropriate for a diverse, broad-based audience of all ages.

10. Entries will be judged by City of Fort Collins staff based on creativity, composition and subject. Two winners will be determined by the judges at their sole discretion. The decisions of the judges will be final and binding in all respects.

11. All winners will be selected on or about November 7, 2016. We will contact the potential winners by email on or about November 7, 2016. The name and entry will be posted on the City Website on or about November 10, 2016.

12. The prize will be awarded to the winners by Historic Preservation.

13. Non-compliance or return of prize notification as undeliverable, whether by email or telephone, may result in disqualification and selection of an alternative potential winner.

14. The City of Fort Collins may substitute prizes of equal or greater value. In the event of insufficient entries for a category, a winner may not be chosen.

15. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.

16. Prizes will ship on or about July 20, 2016.

17. By participating, Contest entrants represent that they (1) have complied with these Official Contest Rules; (2) have received parental consent (if under 18) and grant the City of Fort Collins the right to use his or her name and likeness, (3) release the City of Fort Collins from any  and all liability in connection with this Contest, and (4) agree to execute an affidavit of eligibility/prize acceptance form and publicity release if requested to do so, all without further compensation.

18. By participating, Contest entrants further affirm that the City has permission to use the photo in any way related to the project; that the submission is the contest entrant’s original creation, and does not include or copy work that belongs to other people.

19. The City of Fort Collins is not responsible for lost, late or misdirected entries, or incomplete/incorrect entries.

20. The City of Fort Collins reserves the right to disqualify anyone who attempts to tamper or otherwise interfere with the proper functioning of the promotion.

21. For a copy of these Official Rules or the Winners List, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to The City of Fort Collins at the above-address; Attn: CPIO 2016 Arts and Humanities Contest. Please specify which item you are requesting.

The Fine Art of Satire

Before they became The Capitol Steps, the joke is that they were just three put-upon staffers trying to put on a nativity play for a Congressional Christmas Party. But when they couldn’t find three wise men or a virgin, they decided to satirize their employers with song parodies and skits. Only the latter half of that is true, but it makes a good story.

From the very beginning, The Capitol Steps have always been on the cutting edge of political humor, even when it came to choosing their name.  The year they were formed, a congressman was being lambasted for allegedly having relations on the steps of the Capitol Building. The scandal was just too much to pass up.

The members of the Capitol Steps didn’t quit their day jobs as staffers to pursue the stage until their day jobs quit them. Or to be more accurate, the senator they worked for lost his reelection bid and they were out of work.  After that, they released an album and then dedicated themselves to the Steps full-time in 1987. Since their inception, The Capitol Steps have expanded their group to include other House staffers on both sides of the political spectrum, delivering some of the best political comedy around.

As art sometimes imitates life, they have been at the mercy of the things they satirize. In a sketch called “Pack the Knife, ” a nun is harassed as she tries to get through the TSA line at the airport. The nun leaves, and comes back with a suitcase that says “Acme A-Bomb” and then proceeds to waltz through, mocking the efficacy of airport security. That exact “Acme A-Bomb” prop got them into trouble at an actual airport, even though it was just a cardboard cutout, and sent them to airport security. Fortunately, a visit from the FBI hours later cleared it all up, and they were able to continue on their way.


Since their failed nativity play, The Capitol Steps have recorded over 30 albums, appeared on NBC, CBS, ABS, and PBS, and can be heard on NPR twice a year on Politics Takes a Holiday. They also have delivered their unique brand of comedy to Presidents.

We at the Lincoln Center are incredibly excited to welcome them back to our stage, and see their take on the current political climate. It’s going to be hilarious.

Get tickets to see The Capitol Steps, October 9th, 2016 here!



The Ghost Light

Ever wonder what our theater looks like when it’s empty?

The lone light bulb standing at the center of the stage looks very eerie, doesn’t it? It has an equally eerie name: “ghost light”.

Nearly every theater has this light, and The Lincoln Center is no exception.

But why do we have one? Some say ghost lights are used because theaters are filled with ghosts, and the only thing that keeps them from making mischief in the dark is the light. Others suggest the light is actually meant to keep ghosts happy by illuminating a safe path for them to cross the theater.

The real reason is probably more practical. Even when a show isn’t going on, stagehands still need to get to different areas on the stage. The ghost light ensures that no one falls off into the orchestra pit, trips over the soundboard, or walks into a wall.

As practical as that seems, the actual origins of the light is as elusive as the ghost for which it is named.  Some, like James Fisher in the Historical Dictionary of American Theater: Beginnings, suggest that ghost lights started as dimly-lit gas lights that were kept on to relieve pressure in the gas valves (theaters had been known to blow up due to gas pressure). There are also tales that candles were used as early as Shakespearean days to either placate ghosts or to discourage burglaries by making it seem as if someone was there.

There may not be any ghosts at the Lincoln Center, but we will keep the ghost light powered. Not only for our stagehands but just in case a friendly spirit needs a light as well.