Sunday in the Park with George's
George is Cole Burden
Theatre can open many doors throughout ones career, and lead one to many places in order to perform. Cole Burden, an actor that has built his resume to amazing heights has now found his way back to The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities for his second production with the company in Sunday in the Park with George. We caught up with him to see how he was enjoying Colorado in his third adventure out west and what brought him to begin a career in the arts.
What drew you to theatre?
Honestly Music, I started singing in choir, when I was in the third grade. I was in a boys choir in my home town in Georgia I loved singing, being from the South my mother and grandmother always sung to me and music was always in my life.
And while I was in choir I started being introduced to plays, and being on stage. I wouldn’t say for me it was musicals per say, than performing in general. I really enjoyed singing, and I really enjoyed acting. When I realized that you could combined this within musical theatre
Favorite pre-show snack?
This show I have a hard time, because I hit the ranks so much, going up and down so much. Honestly this is one of the first shows where I can’t eat a lot. I do have Ricola all the time. I also have at my station some Trader Joe's dried mangos slices.
What is the one show tune that always finds its way into your head?
Apart from the show I am currently in, you know, I’m going to be honest, I love wicked. I love singing the Wizard and I all the time. A lot of my girlfriends have gotten to play Elphaba, and so I feel like a total nerd saying that but I love Wicked.
First playbill you ever received?
I am from Georgia like I said, so I didn’t go to New York for a long time. I always went to the Fox theatre in Atlanta, so I thought that was Broadway, and it was. I wanna say the first one I ever collected was the revival of Carousel, with Patrick Wilson as Billy Bigelow.
That was really cool and I got to know him later in life while I was living in New York, and he asked what got me into musicals. And I said, "There was this production of Carousel I saw in 96', and he was just beaming when I realized, "OH! It's you!" He really loved that and it was really funny because I also wanted to go to school at Carnegie Mellon University and he was wearing a Carnegie Mellon hat. But yeah Carousel was the first playbill I ever collected.
With this being your third time performing in Colorado what do you feel is different from your first experience?
Well George takes a lot of time and work I haven’t gotten to relax as much as I want to. But I do love it here. The cool thing is I work all over in regional land like, Chicago, New York, L. A. Denver, and I love creating mini families all over the country. I really enjoy being back in Arvada cause I remember it was such a lovely experience with the cast, and the people I was working with. I just love the people. Again this company specifically, the cast has been very supportive and really prepared.
Now that I am back, it is always nice to do theatre that isn’t in New York but that is still familiar. Like I have been to the Stanley Hotel a couple of times, I know Olde Town Arvada, and now I have gotten to do things I wasn't able to do during my first or second experience out here. I have been enjoying Idaho Springs for the first time. I have never gone there and I love the Indian hot springs! I also love Boulder, and that Arvada is specifically between Denver and Boulder. The whole area is really fantastic!
Who was your biggest inspiration in theatre?
There has been so many. Patrick Wilson was certainly in that production of inspiration and getting to know him was very inspirational. He always told me that I had humility and to hang on to that, cause it would get me very far. I also have gotten to know Stephen Schwartz pretty well, I just exchanged emails with him the other day. He just turned 70 not that long ago and they had a big birthday celebration for him and it’s kinda wild to know that you know, I’m friends with Stephan Schwartz. That’s kinda inspiring sometimes, but I have to say my biggest inspiration is Stephen Sondheim and Jason Robert Brown. They are kinda neck and neck.
There are many pieces that come together within a cast to create a great performance. What do you think is one of the most important pieces to this?
For me, Rod Lansberry the director has just been incredibility supportive of me. Giving me full permission to create. He obviously came to the table with ideas, and knowing the things he had to have with the show. But he certainly let me find this George and find all these multiple layers that are in this piece. He was just very supportive in a short amount of time.
We put this show together in two and a half weeks. By the end of the first week we were already running the show. I came in pretty prepared and ready to push through, and he allowed me to push through. We got the show on its feet and he was very malleable as a director and collaborative. It made the experience very joyful, and I have a lot of pride for this specific production because I feel it was a true collaboration. Everyone in this show, the designers specifically made me feel as comfortable as I possibly could within a short amount of time while putting the show together.
I love this company, I love Rod, and Emily Van Fleet, who is a local Denver actress. It is scary a little bit when you are coming from New York and you don’t have a co star that is also from New York and you come in like, “Okay who am I about to jump into bed with,” and I just adore her. She has been really wonderful to play with and incredibly collaborative. I don’t think we realize how much we love each other. I know, but we have had to work so quickly within a certain amount of time but, it certainly hasn’t been taken for granted with how easy it is to work with her and this entire cast. So..I have to say the collaboration is the most important.
Every actor has them, what is your funniest mishap while performing?
I remember when I was in Les Mis, I played one of the soldiers on the barricade and theres a moment Enjolras turns to, I played Courfeyrac, and he says, “Courfeyrac, you take the watch!” and it’s very dramatic you know, Jeremy Hayes played Enjorlas, said, “Take the watch,” and all of a sudden Courfeyrac has this big responsibility to watch the barricade, and I took his gun all dramatic and I tried to totally sell it but I managed to slip while on the barricade.
What do you feel it is about Colorado theatre that draws people from out of town?
You know I think you have some great theatre going on here. But for me personally if I can get anywhere closer to the West coast I am happy. You have beautiful weather out here too, I love the mountains and it really makes all the difference. I love the core group of local talent as well. I think because they spend so much in the sun they are happier, but also people here are just really kind. I have not run into any ego thus far here in Denver.
What is your favorite musical?
I will always say Sunday in the Park with George, I do also like Lights in the Piazza.
What is your favorite movie?
Gone with the Wind
Where do you love to travel?
California, there is many option there. There’s Lake Tahoe, L. A. and the mountains, it's a beautiful part of the country and so different from what I grew up with on the east coast. Anytime I can go out there I am very happy.
Cole is currently performing in the Arvada Center production of Sunday in the Park with George through May 6th, if you wish to get to know more about Cole and his amazing talent he can be reached at https://coleburden.weebly.com/