woman throwing hair back and a bathtub

May 18 – June 15

Season Sponsors
Dr. Jan Kennaugh & Chip Horne
Diana & Mike Kinsey
Susan & Jeremy Shamos
Jim & Lori Steinberg
The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust

Gold
Olivia H. Thompson

Silver
Jessie Harris
Michelle & Robert Kenney

Note from Leadership & Director

LEADERSHIP

As we curated Season 26, we asked ourselves, “What makes a play Curious?”

As one way to answer, we challenged ourselves to choose plays that would amaze, delight, and invigorate our audiences and artists alike. Curious continues to lean into uncharted territory and we are thrilled you are joining us for the last show of our season with the Regional Premiere of cullud wattah, by Erika Dickerson-Despenza.

The 2021 winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize is rhythmic, moving, and heartbreaking. A time-bending play that features an intergenerational cast of all Black Women joined in song, in reckoning, and in ritual. This play takes on the Flint Water Crisis and dives deep into the poisonous choices of the outside world, the contamination within, and how we make the best decisions for our families’ futures when there are no real, present options. This is a powerful play wading through the choices we make for the sake of survival. We hope it will leave you thinking, talking, and maybe humming for days.

As we plan for our future, we encourage you to consider supporting our Fund the Future campaign, a fund- and friend-raising effort to make sure Curious stays strong for the next 25 years!  Every dollar matters; you can donate by clicking here.

The adventure that awaits at Curious is only possible through the gathering of committed, enthusiastic theatergoers like you. Your ongoing support ensures we’ll continue to travel together on this art-filled adventure through the best of contemporary theatre.

-Jada Suzanne Dixon and  Jeannene Bragg

 

DIRECTOR

In her essay “The Site of Memory” Toni Morrison explores several themes: imagination, history, the fantastic, the power of images, and memory. These same themes are interwoven in the story you are about to experience. You are about to meet Marion, Ainee, Big Ma, Reesee, and Plum, a family of Black Women living during the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, which is still not fully resolved. I was intrigued by this family drama and how the depth of their deep love and connection buoys them through their grief and loss. How the element of water flows through the house and marks the characters, their journey, their stories, and their pain.

This is a story about the twin evils of racism (especially environmental racism) and how capitalist exploitation drives wedges between those who want to fight for justice and those willing to compromise themselves and their communities to keep their own families from going under, even while their hopes and dreams are withering away. At the heart of cullud wattah is the struggle of a matriarchal family desperately trying to take care of and love each other in ways they know how and can, despite being victims of political circumstances. 

I encourage you to be intentional about how you take in this experience. Inhale. Exhale. Bring your full self and allow yourself to go on the journey and as you do, remember….

Flint, Michigan has been without clean water since April 24, 2014.

Flint, Michigan has been without clean water since April 24, 2014.

Flint, Michigan has been without clean water since April 24, 2014.

 

Jada Suzanne Dixon

Curious Theatre Company Presents

cullud wattah

by Erika Dickerson-Despenza  |  Directed by Jada Suzanne Dixon

Setting

5th ward. genesee county. flint, michigan.
the cooper home. november 2016
but also the past, present & future
(which has already happened).

Cast

(in order of appearance)

Sade Housron as Plum

Alex Campbell as Marion

Daja McLeod as Reesee

Sheryl McCullum* as Big Ma

Kristina Fountaine* as Ainee

Production Team

Set Design by Tina Anderson

Costume Design by Meghan Anderson Doyle†

Lighting Design by Emily Maddox

Sound Design by Joseph Lamar

Props Design by Katie Webster

Stage Manager, Wayne Breyer*

Assistant Director, Evette Srouji

Scenic Coordinator, Steven McDonald

Stitcher, Kris Ferraro

Scenic Artist, Cheryl Brodzinsky

Run Crew, Krystal Brown

Wig Design by Richard Krammes

Special Thanks

Winifred R. Harris

Gabriella Cavallero

Colorado Theatre Guild

Annette & Jim Westerby

Red Rocks Community College Department of Theatre & Dance

The University of Denver Department of Theatre Tech Intern Program for set construction

Special Thanks

Winifred R. Harris

Gabriella Cavallero

Colorado Theatre Guild

Annette & Jim Westerby

Red Rocks Community College Department of Theatre & Dance

Board of Directors

Sheri Raders, President

Michael Potts, Vice President

John Flanigan, Treasurer

Michael Hughes, Secretary

Marike Fitzgerald

Chip Horne

Greg Laugero

Jim Steinberg

Jamie White

Alyssa Williams

*Jeremy Shamos, Honorary Lifetime President

*Roscoe Hill, Board Member Emeritus

*Cajardo Lindsey, Artistic Company Member

*Erik Sandvold, Artistic Company Member

*Jeannene Bragg, Managing Director

*Jada Suzanne Dixon, Artistic Director

*non-voting members

Curious Staff

Artistic

Jada Suzanne Dixon, Artistic Director

Wayne Breyer, Production Manager & Resident Stage Manager

Christy Montour-Larson, Artistic Producer

Piper Stormes, Technical Coordinator & Master Electrician

Laura Chavez, Education Associate

 

Administrative

Jeannene Bragg, Managing Director

Emily Whalen, Interim Marketing Associate

Katelyn Sauer, Operations & Patron Services Manager

Hillary Wheelock, Finance Associate

Camdon T. Presley, Digital Media Coordinator

 

Front of House

Evy DiPasquantonio, Front of House Representative

Katie Flynn, Front of House Representative

Halima Kamara, Front of House Representative

Sam Lowney, Front of House Representative

Evette Srouji, Front of House Representative

 

2023–24 Curious Bridge Apprentices 

Jordyn Good, Stage Management Focus

Clove Love, Directorial Focus

Evette Srouji, Directorial Focus

Curious Artistic Company

Lisa Boehm

Kevin Brainerd (In Memoriam)

Anastasia Davidson

Richard Devin

Jada Suzanne Dixon

Jason Ducat

Brian Landis Folkins

Ilasiea Gray

Kathryn Gray

William Hahn

Josh Hartwell

Markas Henry

GerRee Hinshaw

Jim Hunt

Cajardo Lindsey

Sheryll McCallum

Shannon McKinney

Michael McNeill

Christy Montour-Larson

Michael Morgan

Josh Robinson

Erik Sandvold

Sean Scrutchins

Karen Slack

Todd Webster (In Memoriam)

Annette Westerby


Artistic Company Emeriti

Thank you to our founding Artistic Company Members whose dedication, hard work and artistic vision has helped make Curious the amazing theatre it is today.

Dee Covington
Chip Walton

cullud wattah will be performed with a 15 minute intermission.

cullud wattah is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. www.concordtheatricals.com

cullud wattah was developed during the Lark Play Development
Center’s 2018 Van Lier New Voices Fellowship tenure (John Clinton
Eisner, Artistic Director) and received its first staged reading in October
2018 at Jackalope Theatre in Chicago (Gus Menary, Artistic Director;
Nora Leahy, Managing Director).

cullud wattah received a Public Studio workshop production
March 7 – 10, 2019 at the Public Theater.

BOLD = Curious Artistic Company Member
* Appearing through an Agreement between this theatre, Curious Theatre Company, and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
** Member of the United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829
† Member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers

AEA_USA

Bios: Playwright & Director

Erika Dickerson-Dispenza, (Playwright) is a blk feminist Pushcard Prize nominated poet-turned-playwright, educator, and grassroots organizer from Chicago, Illinois. She’s a 2018-2019 Dramatists Fuild Foundation Playwriting Fellow and The Lark’s 2019 Van Lier New Voices Fellow. She is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Obie-Winning Youbngblood Collective. Her work has been developed at the Public Theatre, The Lark, New Youk Stage and Film and Jackalope Theatre. Select stage plays include: A Water Tetrology examining water as a reflection of blk women’s bodies as sites of consciousness development and exile during key events in black history: oceans’s lip/heaven’s shore (the middle passage), took/tide, hung/split (Jim Crow) shadow/land (Hurricane Katrina), and culldu wattah (Flint Water Crisis)

Jada Suzanne Dixon, she/her (Director) is an actress, director, and playwright, a member of the Curious Artistic Company and serves as Curious’ Artistic director. She began her directing career with the development of new plays with Athena Arts Projects Plays in Progress (PIP) series. She served as assistant/associate director for Appropriate, Skeleton Crew, and Gloria at Curious Theatre Company. Directing credits include American Son and Amerikin, Curious Theatre Company; Fairfield, Miners Alley Playhouse; Bloomsday and The Royale, BETC; StickFly Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities; The Revolutionists, Little Theatre of the Rockies. Jada is a four-time recipient of the True West Award (including 2022 Colorado Theatre Person of the Year), a 2022/23 Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award Winner (Royale; Outstanding Play, Ensemble, Best Director), member of AEA, and a 2021 commissioned playwright for StageOne Family Theatre’s Program, Theatre for Everywhere. Additionally, she was accepted into the 2019 Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab; Models of Collaboration. Jada is also an Associate Artist with Local Lab Theatre.

Bios: Cast

Sade Houston, she/her (Plum) is an 8th grade theatre major at Denver School of the Arts. Her theatre credits include: Denver School of the Arts’ Black History Show (2024, 2023 & 2022); Hamlet, Act I Scene 3, (Laertes) and Midsummer Night’s Dream Act III Scene 2 (Hermia) – Shakespeare Festival 2023 & 2022; Blood at the Root, (Raylynn) Monologue – ThesCon 2023; The Audition, (Soleil) Monologue – Thescon 2022; Matilda the Musical, (Matilda) Monologue – ThesCon 2021; The Little Mermaid & The Little Mermaid, Jr. (Ensemble; Ursula); Annie, Jr. (Annie); Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck); Alice in Wonderland, Jr. (Alice); and Seussical, the Musical (Bird Girl). OTHER CREDITS include: The Engagement Plot (Kyla), and Nickelodeon’s Nick Vision Board for America (Self). Sade earned Superior ratings and qualified for nationals all three years she has performed at ThesCon and in 2023 was selected to perform in the Critics Choice Showcase on the mainstage.

Alex Campbell, she/her (Marion) feels exceedingly blessed to work with Curious Theatre Company for the first time! Regional work includes Little Red: A New Musical! (Denver Center for Performing Arts), Twelfth Night and The Tempest (Great River Shakespeare Festival); Men on Boats, As You Like It, The Cherry Orchard, The Grapes of Wrath, A Civil War Christmas, Henry IV parts 1 & 2 (Connecticut Repertory Theatre). Colorado credits include: King Hedley II, The Bluest Eye (Theatreworks: Colorado Springs); Cinderella, Bye Bye Birdie, Shrek the Musical, In the Heights, 9 to 5, White Christmas, Mary Poppins, and Reefer Madness (The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College); Little Shop of Horrors (Thin Air Theatre Co.); and Hairspray! (Performance Now! Theatre Company). In addition to her theatrical work, Alex is also a Teaching Artist and an aspiring Intimacy Director. Her work with theatrical intimacy was most recently seen in The Denver Center for the Performing Arts production of Clyde’s. MFA Uconn 2020. Alexcampbellactor.com

Daja McLeod, she/her (Reesee)is elated to make her Curious Theatre debut! She is a Colorado native and a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado, where she received a BA in Acting. Daja appreciates any opportunity to tell the stories of people who look just like her.  dajamcleod.com

Sheryl McCallum, she/her (Big Ma) is a Curious Company Member, who has performed on Broadway in Disney’s The Lion King. She also was seen in many City Encores! Theater; Curious Theater appearances include Aunt Elegua, Marcus: or the secret of Sweet; Emily Penrose, and Lifespan of a Fact She was recently seen at the Garner Galleria, starring in the World Premiere of Miss Rhythm, The Legend of Ruth Brown. A musical she co-wrote with David Nehls. Other roles include Melpomene in Xanadu at the Garner Galleria; Aunt Eller in Oklahoma! (DCPA Theatre Company); Delores in Wild Party (DCPA Theatre Company- Off Center); Mother, Passing Strange (Aurora Fox); Mrs. Banks, Barefoot in the Park, Sugar, Tiny Beautiful Things (Lake Dillon Theatre Company); Angela Wadley, Fairfield (Miners Alley Playhouse); Ruby Baxter, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Stepmother, Into The Woods, and Jesus Christ Superstar (Arvada Center for Performing Arts) Sheryl toured Europe as a featured singer in Blackbirds of Broadway. She directed Akeelah and the Bee and Seussical at University of Northern Colorado School of Theater Arts and Dance.

Kristina Fountaine, she/her (Ainee), a Denver-native, she was last seen as Chris in Amerikin at Curious Theatre. Other credits include: David in Theatre of the Mind (DCPA Off-Center), Cheryl in StickFly (Arvada Center), Isabelle/Sabine in The Liar (Henry Award Nominee, Best Supporting Actress) (Arvada Center), Muriel/Minorca in Animal Farm (Arvada Center), Vanessa in Fairfield (Miners Alley Playhouse), Shanita in Skeleton Crew (Curious Theatre), Angela in Show of Force (And Toto Too), Lisa in Corduroy (DCPA Theatre Company), Nessa in District Merchants (Henry Award Nominee, Best Supporting Actress) (Miners Alley Playhouse) and The Social Dilemma (Netflix). She holds a BFA from SUNY Purchase College.

Bios: Production Team

Tina Anderson (Set Design) Tina is thrilled to be back at Curious. Some of her most recent designs are The Laramie Project for the Arvada Center. For BETC are What the Constitution Means to Me, Coal Country (True West Award),  Eden Prairie, 1971, which she was nominated for a Henry Award for best Set Design. Ms.  Holmes & Ms. Watson Apt. 2B, The Royale, Fourteen Funerals, Tiny Beautiful Things, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Hurricane Diane for TRTC  (Carbondale). For Benchmark are The Road to Lethe, An Octoroon, Meteor shower and  Bull in a China Shop. For Cherry Creek Theatre Heartbeat of the Sun, Sondheim on Sondheim, Headliners, Moon for the  Misbegotten.

Meghan Anderson Doyle, she/her (Costume Design) At Curious: The Secretary, Inheritance, The Cake, The Brothers Size, In the Red and Brown Water, Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet, Up, A Number, Good People, and tempOdyssey. Select additional credits include: Rubicon, The Chineses Lady, American Mariachi, The Wild Party, Sweet & Lucky, 20+ productions with DCPA; Noises Off, Stick Fly, Drowning Girls, The Moors with Arvada Center; Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, and 7 additional seasons with Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award for Outstanding Costume Design-A Doll’s House DCPA 2020. B.A. University of Denver, M.F.A. University of Florida, DoyleCostumeDesign.com

Emily Maddox, (Lighting Design) This is Emily’s 2nd production with Curious Theatre. Emily attended the University of Oklahoma where she received her BFA in drama in 2014. She has had the privilege of working in 54 different theatres and performance spaces throughout Colorado. Her recent designs include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lamont Opera Theatre), The Bottle Tree & Poe’s Midnight Dreary (Community College of Aurora), Miss Holmes (Phamaly Theatre Company), Anon(ymous) (University of Colorado Boulder), The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First One Hundred Years & The Odd Couple (Firehouse Theater Company), The Last Session (Town Hall Arts Center), Cabaret & In the Heights (Vintage Theatre). Emily was the recipient of a 2023 Henry Award for her work on The Royale (Butterfly Effect Theatre of Colorado) and a 2023 Onstage Colorado Award for her work on Sondheim on Sondheim (Cherry Creek Theatre).

Joseph Lamar, he/him (Sound Design

Katie Webster, she/her (Props Design)  is thrilled to return to Curious Theatre after first joining the team for Heroes of the Fourth Turning. Most recently she created props for Lone Tree Arts Center’s production of The Mousetrap. She is grateful for the chance to create collaborative and site specific work with many different creators. Some past credits include Theatre Artibus, Public Works Theatre Company, Control Group, and Emancipation Theatre Company. The Denver art ecosystem needs Curious.

Wayne BreyerWayne Breyer, he/him (Stage Manager) is the Production Manager and Resident Stage Manager for Curious. Previously with Curious, he was the stage manager for On the Exhale, Amerikin, Franklinland, Heroes of the Fourth Turning, and the world premiere of Refuge. He has also stage managed for The Catamounts, The Aurora Fox Arts Center, Phamaly Theatre Company, Theater Artibus, and the Colorado New Play Festival. As a properties designer Wayne has designed for Curious, The Catamounts, Phamaly Theatre Company, Thunder River Theatre Company, and Vintage Theatre. Wayne trained as an apprentice stage manager with the Denver Center Theatre Company and is an associate company member of The Catamounts.

Evette Srouji, she/her (Assistant Director) is an emerging Arab-American theatre director and producer. She recently finished assistant directing The Minutes by Tracy Letts at Curious Theatre Company. This summer she will be directing Every Brilliant Thing at Little Theatre of the Rockies and will be back working at Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Her UNC college credits include The Laramie Project with Dr. Rand Harmon. She has assistant directed UNC’s mainstage RENT with Jason Veasey, and with Jada Dixon on The Revolutionist for Little Theatre of the Rockies. Other directing credits at UNC include Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson, Fefu and Her Friends by María Irene Forńes, and Mannequin: Do Not Open by Eva Grace.

Actors’ Equity Association (“AEA” or “Actors’ Equity”), founded in 1913, represents more than 49,000 actors and stage managers in the United States. Equity seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions, providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans. AEA is a member of the AFL-CIO, and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions. The Equity emblem is our mark of excellence. www.actorsequity.org