Phamaly Theatre Company

Phamaly Theatre Company

(formerly known as The Physically Handicapped Actors & Musical Artists League) produces professional scale plays and musicals year-round throughout the Denver Metro region, cast entirely of performers with disabilities across the spectrum (physical, cognitive, emotional, blindness, deafness…etc.). Phamaly was formed in 1989 when five students of the Boettcher School in Denver, Colorado, grew frustrated with the lack of theatrical opportunities for people living with disabilities, and decided to create a theatre company that would provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to perform. Four of these five founding members remain active as actors in Phamaly productions today (Kevin Ahl, Kathleen Traylor, Gregg Vigil, and Teri Westerman).

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For its first show in 1990,

Phamaly Theatre Company - Leonard imagethe founders of Phamaly produced the musical Guys & Dolls, directed by Gregg Vigil. With massive community support and interest from performers with disabilities, the following year Phamaly presented the musical Oklahoma!, bringing in Mark Dissette to direct. Mark remains heavily involved with Phamaly as an actor today, and has performed in almost every production by Phamaly. That year, Phamaly also began its tradition of performing in the Space Theatre at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, thanks to the support of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

On August 29, 2006, Phamaly was featured in a lengthy segment of The News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. This marked the company’s first mainstream national publicity. Previous to that, Phamaly had also been the subject of a documentary short entitled “We Are PHAMALY” directed by Oscar winning filmmaker Daniel Junge. A feature length documentary made by Mark Dissette called “There’s Still Hope for Dreams (A PHAMALy Story)” was recently aired on Colorado PBS, and has been featured at film festivals across the country.

In January 2007, the company opened the first non-musical production in its history: Thornton Wilder’s classic, Our Town, at the Aurora Fox Theatre. The company has performed a non-musical production at the Aurora Fox every winter since. In 2011, these plays expanded to the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities as well.

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, improv, and musical material written in a workshop over several weeks before being performed. 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.

Phamaly further expanded in 2012 with the creation of an annual Boulder-based show, disLabled, serving actors and audiences living in the Boulder region. Phamaly also began touring statewide in Colorado, first with the play Cyrano, followed up by the hugely popular musical The Velveteen Rabbit.

Two actors of Phamaly have gone on to become the first ever full-time wheelchair users accepted into, respectively, a Master’s of Acting program and a PhD for Theatre and Drama program, both through the University of California San Diego (Regan Linton & Jason Dorwart). In addition, one of the original Vox Phamalia actors/writers has been accepted to the Masters program for screenwriting at UCLA (Laura Alsum). Long time Phamaly actress Lucy Roucis was also featured doing her stand up comedy act about Parkinson’s Disease in the 2010 romantic comedy Love & Other Drugs.

Mission

Phamaly Theatre Company’s mission is to inspire people to re-envision disability through professional theatre.

Vision

Phamaly Theatre Company’s vision is that every individual with a disability has the opportunity to participate in all aspects of high quality performing arts.

www.phamaly.org