Art to Experience

Sense of Place: Norma Alonzo, Ann Johnston, Meghan Wilbar opens December 14 and will be on view through January 26. For this exhibit, three artists, Norma Alonzo, Ann Johnston, and Meghan Wilbar, share their unique interpretations of the landscape around them.

Norma Alonzo of Santa Fe, New Mexico, paints landscapes as an exploration and expression of the feeling, and perhaps the understanding to our state of being. Her paintings reflect this push and pull, back and forth between opposites. This tension and energy accompany hope, balance and peace through structure, space and color.

Ann Johnston of Lake Oswego, Oregon, shares quilts from her body of work The Contact: Sierra Nevada, Dyed and Stitched. These works explore the sunlit white granite peaks as well as the dark mines and machinery of the California Gold Rush of which Ann is a descendant. Her quilts explore her life-long connection to and exploration of this landscape.

Meghan Wilbar of Pueblo, Colorado, explores the sky. She feels the color, shapes and movement of the sky alter our sense of being and understanding of the world. Her pieces investigate this connection between the observational and emotional view of the sky. Shown are both collage studies completed on location and sky/land paintings.

In the lobby, we continue our celebration of The Lincoln Center’s 40th Anniversary with a display of items from the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery Archive, sharing The Lincoln Center’s history.

The Foothills are Alive with The Sound of Music

A fresh new production of the beloved story of Maria von Trapp and her musical family is sure to become one of your favorite things when the National Tour of The Sound of Music plays The Lincoln Center, January 10–12. 

“It’s a timeless story about love, family, music and faith,” says Lauren Kidwell, The Mother Abbess in the current touring production of  The Sound of Music. “Those are things that human beings have faced since the beginning of time and the story continues to bring people back in because it’s a story that never gets old.”  

Popularized by the 1965 Academy Award-winning film of the same name, the story was derived from a true story told by Maria von Trapp in her 1949 book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.  Although the musical alters some of the actual events, the tale still closely follows von Trapp’s account. Set in 1938 Austria,  a young woman (Maria) who is studying to become a nun is sent to work as a governess for a retired widowed naval officer. She nurtures the seven children and love abounds but the world begins to change at the start of World War II and the family finds itself in very real danger from the Nazis.

Although the musical is set in Europe nearly a century ago, the underlying theme of the story remains relevant today. “I think people are becoming more aware of issues all around the world and in our country, and it resonates because the story is about how you stand up for what’s right. How do you stand for what you believe in when no one else around you will?” 

“The director really wanted to infuse a sense of urgency and historical accuracy in the story because the movie, I think, focuses more on the family and about music. But this is 1938 in Austria and this production really wanted to make sure that was prominent,” says Kidwell. “The von Trapps were real people and that’s something this production wanted to illustrate. It’s not just about learning how to sing and learning to have music in your life but really how these people faced these issues in real life.”  

“Our set is incredible, it’s a Broadway-caliber production with design by Tony award-winning designers. Every day right before I go on, I look around and am dumbfounded by how beautiful the backdrops, costumes, lighting and everything is together,” says Kidwell. “While the show is based on the Broadway production, the way it is directed feels very cinematic and, in that sense, we’re paying homage to the movie as well with how scenes transition from one to the other is very fluid.” 

Thrilling audiences with its Tony, Grammy and Academy Award-winning Best Score, audiences will be amazed to hear the songs they know so well from the movie in a different light. “People are surprised by the choices of the production because they know the movie so well, but audiences end up being on the edge of their seat, hearing these lyrics for the first time and seeing this production. It feels to them like it’s the first time they’ve seen The Sound of Music,” says Kidwell. “Like with my character specifically, the Mother Abbess is the one that sings ‘Favorite Things’ with Maria and not the children, so you see my character in a completely different way. She’s able to open up and have fun with Maria in a way that I think people are unexpectedly surprised when they see this production.” 

Kidwell is especially excited for the ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’ scene and how audiences will relate to it being from an area with mountains, and what the song can mean for people as everyone faces their own challenges in life. “I live in Southern California near the Sierra Nevada Mountains so that’s something that I see in my mind’s eye when I’m singing that song and I can only imagine how audiences that get to see Colorado’s beautiful mountain ranges every day will relate,” says Kidwell. “It becomes a metaphor that you’re able to see so clearly with the show which is about facing your trials and troubles and being able to climb mountains in your life.” 

The Fort Collins foothills will come alive with the sound of music at the Lincoln Center January 10–12. Seats start at $20 and are available at 

Defining Greatness

Bold and fearless, Shaun Boothe’s Unauthorized Biography Series modernizes history by adding a hip-hop twist. Part TED talk and part live concert, Boothe takes the stage January 26 to present his viral documentary-style music video series. The series, which has received social media love from folks like Kanye West and Sean (P. Diddy) Combs, has garnered much attention and provided Boothe the opportunity to perform with legends like Nas, Lauryn Hill, Talib Kweli and Snoop Dogg.

Each chapter in Boothe’s series captures the legacy of a positive and influential iconic figure. Boothe’s highly interactive performances have featured the incredible stories of people like Pakistani women’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai,  one of “The Greatest” boxers of all time Muhammad Ali, influential electric guitarist Jimi Hendrix, and beloved philanthropist Oprah Winfrey.

Boothe’s unusual take on history explores the “greatness that is inside all of us” and encourages everyone to find it within themselves. “We are all more similar than we are different,” Boothe says. While some people think they don’t have what it takes to do what they want in life, Boothe demonstrates otherwise. “We are made of the same stuff,” Boothe says, “it is just up to us to dig deep and work hard for that level of greatness.”

This may be what the series does best, allowing people to recognize that greatness is something everyone can achieve. The power of what Boothe’s message can do was realized by Boothe himself when he received a phone call from Muhammad Ali’s daughter. She praised Boothe for capturing her father’s life and legacy while expressing gratitude in knowing that Boothe’s message would inspire others.

Boothe’s unique performance will be presented in two separate school shows on January 22. Poudre School District high school students will have the opportunity to watch Boothe drop his history knowledge and walk away inspired for free courtesy of the Lincoln Center Support League.

See greatness defined in Shaun Boothe’s The Unauthorized Biography Series on January 26 at the Fort Collins Lincoln Center. Seats start at $15 and are available at

Then and Now: A 40-Year Retrospective

Before The Lincoln Center opened in 1978, arts and culture in Fort Collins was a bit hit or miss. Local groups performed less often in front of smaller audiences in places not always suited to the art they performed. Access to larger more professional touring productions was almost nonexistent.

“Some individuals view Fort Collins as the capital of boredom, where the most exciting annual event is the return of students in the fall,” wrote the RamPage in 1980. These thoughts were echoed by Shelton Stanhill, the director of cultural programs during the 70s at CSU in The Coloradoan. “There has not been a tradition of active participation in the arts in this town,” Stanhill said.

In 1978, The Lincoln Center transformed arts and culture in Fort Collins giving local groups a place to call home and touring companies a place to include as a scheduled stop.  Every year The Lincoln Center continues to strive to make arts and culture more inclusive and accessible to the Fort Collins community and beyond. A lot has changed in the last 40 years, but what hasn’t changed is our commitment to deliver the finest in art, culture and entertainment in the region.

The “White Elephant”

What started as Fort Collins High School in 1903 built by prolific Fort Collins architect, Montezuma Fuller, became the Fort Collins Junior High in 1925. In the 1930s, it took the name Lincoln Junior High. In 1976, the building began a transformation which utilized parts of the old junior high. If you look closely, you can see hints of the old architecture today. While the performance hall and lobby were added as completely new spaces, the Magnolia Theater, Columbine Room, Canyon West Room and dressing rooms were carved from the original school auditorium, gymnasium, and locker rooms.

The building’s transition from a Junior High to a cultural center was made possible by visionaries like Mayor Karl Carson, Lila B. Morgan, Frank Johnson and many others. The citizens of Fort Collins voted to fund $2.2 million (the equivalent of 8.4 million today) of the project through the Designing Tomorrow Today (DT2) initiative and was backed by community leaders like Mayor Carson, Buford Plemmons, Ray Chamberlian, Bob Everitt, Charles Patchen, Donald Webber who created the Community Foundation to help raise an additional $300,000 for the project.

Despite community support, there were many who contended the Lincoln Center was a “white elephant” and a burden to the community. It took very little time for The Lincoln Center to prove them wrong.

In 1979, the number of season package holders had to be limited to make single tickets available for those who only wanted to see one show. Matinees were added for sold out shows. The rental spaces were overbooked and there was a struggle for reservations even a year out.

“The acoustics are so good that letters have been received from touring companies which have been here, favorably comparing The Lincoln Center’s acoustics to those in much larger cities” raved The Coloradoan in 1980.

Such was the success that a good-natured prankster gifted The Lincoln Center with two white elephants with The Lincoln Center logo painted on their backs to poke fun at the skeptics. (These elephants are on currently on display as part of The Lincoln Center’s 40th-anniversary retrospective exhibition.)

The Best Is Yet to Come

Cities with a flourishing artistic and cultural environment are the ones that generate strong overall economic growth. From the first performances of the Fort Collins Symphony and OpenStage Theatre, arts and culture in Fort Collins has definitely expanded and it continues to grow stronger with each passing year.

Through The Lincoln Center, the City of Fort Collins will continue their strong history of supporting arts and culture to create a dynamic, unique and economically healthy community.

As The Lincoln Center celebrates 40 years, we look forward to the wonder and magic that the next 40 holds!

Then and Now

1978: Population of Fort Collins was around 50,000.
2018: Population of Fort Collins is around 150,000.

1978: Minimum wage in Colorado was $2.65.
2018: Minimum wage in Colorado is $10.20

1978: The LC presented 10 shows.
2018: The LC presented 30 shows.

1978: The small theatre was named the Mini-theatre
2018: The smaller theater is named the Magnolia Theatre.

1978: Volunteers donated 4,887 hours of their time.
2018: Volunteers donated  14,406 hours of their time.

1978: Four spaces available for rental.
2018: Seven spaces available for rental, including the addition of the Terrace and the Rooftop Deck.

1978: Two Art Gallery Exhibitions hosted at the Lincoln Center
2018: Eight Art Gallery Exhibitions hosted at the Lincoln Center

Play It Forward and Give the Gift of Music

As the music of the giving season begins to fill the air, The Lincoln Center will be accepting donations for our Play It Forward Instrument Drive during the holiday season.

Partnering with Boomer Music Company and Bringing Music to Life, we will kick off the instrument drive at the very fitting performance of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s Wild and Swingin’ Holiday Party the evening of November 24.

“What better show than Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, with their amazing big band instrumentation, to spur folks to blow the dust off their unused instruments and donate them to a great cause,” says Jack Rogers, Lincoln Center Executive Director.

We will accept donations of gently used instruments including strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion and guitars beginning at 6:30 p.m. November 24. The Play It Forward drive will then last through December 23 and anyone can donate during the hours that The Lincoln Center is open, which vary but include Tue-Sat, noon-6 p.m. and during performances. Tickets to events are not required to drop off donations.

Bringing Music to Life is a Colorado-wide effort that awards donated instruments to deserving schools who apply and meet the program criteria. This includes Title One and other schools that have underfunded music education programs. All the instruments awarded are in excellent playable condition thanks to Bringing Music to Life’s partnership with the Colorado Institute of Musical Instrument Technology, which appraises and repairs donated instruments.

Boomer Music Company is the Fort Collins donation center for Bringing Music to Life’s annual drive, which typically takes place in the spring. Boomer owner, Drew Holmes, is excited for the opportunity to help with The Lincoln Center’s drive during the holiday season. “I think this is a great opportunity to do some good in our community,” says Holmes. “We usually gather instruments for this amazing program in the spring, but with music being such an important part of the holiday season, it just makes perfect sense to remind folks that the gift of music is something that needs to be shared.”

Steve Blatt the founder and executive director for Bringing Music to Life is also thrilled for the Play It Forward Instrument Drive that will benefit the Fort Collins area. He expressed his delight for donations outside of the annual drive and why the instrument drive is important. “When children learn to play an instrument, they learn much more than notes and scales. They develop skills for life: how to listen carefully, work with others, persevere until a goal is reached. They become more creative, compassionate and complete people.”

Bringing Music to Life will send a formal thank you letter with the appraised value of any instrument donated that can be used for tax purposes. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by the law.

Donations accepted Nov. 24–Dec. 23 during Lincoln Center Business Hours which vary but include Tue-Sat, noon-6 p.m. and during performances.

Colorado Ballet’s Yosvani Ramos Returns After Achilles Injury

Back in September 2017, UCHealth first shared their story about Yosvani Ramos and his devastating injury. This month they follow up with an exciting video featuring Ramos’ journey and a look-back on the original article to reflect on his amazing recovery.

The second Yosvani Ramos hit the ground, he knew something horrible had happened. He could see his heel bone, but not the tendon.

Ramos has been in love with ballet since he was young and started performing as a youth. He won the gold medal at the Paris International Ballet Competition in 1998, and then went on to be a principal dancer for the English National Ballet, The Australian Ballet and the Cincinnati Ballet before joining the Colorado Ballet in 2015. But at only 37, he lay on the ground during a “Nutcracker” rehearsal, thinking it was the end.

Six days after his injury, Dr. Joshua Metzl performed a minimally invasive procedure to fix Ramos’ Achilles injury — a technique proven to decrease surgical risk and allow for quicker recovery.

Metzl serves as the head orthopedic physician for the Colorado Ballet, as well as the assistant team physician for the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies.

“I have a very small scar and was in a cast for two weeks instead of the usual six,” Ramos said. “Then once I was in a boot, I was able to work that muscle so I didn’t get muscle atrophy, which was a big deal for my recovery. Then I started rehab.”

And that’s when Ramos realized it wasn’t the end.

UCHealth Steadman Hawkins Clinic-Denver has a marker-less motion analysis known as Dynamic Athletics Research Institute. It’s essentially an avatar — a system that tracks the patient’s every joint — and by taking them through a battery of tests, evaluates their range of motion and strengths. This allows for a specifically tailored rehab program to bring the patient back to where they want to be.

“My recovery wasn’t about just being able to walk like a normal person,” Ramos said. “I needed to be back on stage.”

Ramos started rehearsing for Colorado Ballet’s “Dracula” in early September 2017 — less than a year after his Achilles injury — and he returned to the stage a month later for its opening.

“Right before the show it was like I’d taken four espressos,” he said. “I hadn’t been on stage for a year. I had so much energy. I’d been dancing for 29 years and had never been offstage for that long. But it was like riding a bicycle, and I felt completely prepared to be on that stage.”

Ramos continued the season, performing in the “Nutcracker” in December 2017, then on to play the part of Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet,” and starting in October, the prince in Colorado Ballet’s production of “Sleeping Beauty.”

Support Arts Education on Colorado Gives Day

Our nonprofit partner, the Lincoln Center Support League, is participating in Colorado Gives Day — Colorado’s largest one-day online giving event presented by Community First Foundation and FirstBank.

On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, thousands of donors will come together to support Colorado nonprofits like the Lincoln Center Support League. Their goal is to raise $3,000 for arts education outreach at The Lincoln Center. Your contribution helps them bring professional artists into local schools and student field trips to The Lincoln Center.

Nearly fifty university and high school students along with community members experience an interactive masterclass with PUSH Physical Theatre in October 2018. This is the type of educational outreach your donations support!

Find the Lincoln Center Support League on Colorado Gives Day here.

Give where you live on Colorado Gives Day. Your support helps the Lincoln Center Support League continue to Excite, Enlighten and Educate young people through the performing arts. Make a donation here.

About Colorado Gives Day
Community First Foundation and FirstBank are presenting Colorado Gives Day on Tuesday, December 4, 2018. This annual statewide movement celebrates and increases philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. The $1 Million Incentive Fund created by the partners is one of the largest giving-day incentive funds in the country. Donate right here on to make your donations.

When: 24 hours starting 12:01 am MST on Tuesday, December 4

Or schedule your donation now! Learn how

For more information about the Lincoln Center Support League, please visit For more information about Colorado Gives Day, please visit

Or click here to donate