“The beautiful thing about theatre is that it is an art form that flows and continues to change.”
Colorado Native Missy Moore speaks with such love and respect for the unending possibilities of theatre. The multitalented actress and director has certainly made her mark not only within the Denver Theatre Community but in Colorado Theatre as a whole. Through her twenty years of experience she has created such an encaging and warm presence that to not know of Missy Moore would be considered blasphemy to many in Colorado Theatre circles.
Earning a True West Award for her work in the Toto Too Company’s production of The Pink Unicorn, Missy has once again proven what talent rests within the women of Denver Theatre.
This year, we are taking time to speak with creative minds like Missy, who have dedicated their time and talent to the theatre here in Colorado. As they continue to promote and nurture the creative vision of those in the Rockies.
What is your favorite musical?
I would have to say, ah it’s a tie.
Top three how’s that?
Sucker for Les Mis, love that musical. I’ve seen it four times, and every time it gets me. I’m like here comes…andddd water works now, Yeah Les Mis definitely. Then I had a chance to see Wicked within the last week with Ida Mendez in New York. And that… was… It was jut one of those …awesome. Musical theatre is not my genre at all as an actor. One musical that is truly nostalgic for me and I grew up with was Pippin. I love the story, I love the music, Corner of the Sky, get out. I saw it when it came to the Denver Center, there was so much magic to do.
What is your favorite movie?
Ohhh, can it be a saga?
Star Wars, all the way, but specifically The Empire Strikes Back, then follow it up with Rogue One. I have to say though, I love the deeper seeded meaning that the Force represents and the way of the Jedi; as well as the Yin and Yang, and flow like that. I love Star Wars. Let’s be honest Yoda’s a badass, and so is Obi-Wan.
Favorite pre-show snack? If you have one
To be honest with you. Especially if I am doing a comedy, or something that takes a little more of the physical stamina. All the last couple of show I’ve done, especially The Pink Unicorn which I just finished. Is so dialogue heavy, that you know, I believe that Red Bull gives you wings. I’m also a sucker for Harbo gummy bears. But I don’t really like to eat before a show because of the vocal cords. So I save that for after the show.
Wine. I love Wine
Being a Colorado Native what has it been like to grow up with this theatre community that appears to keep gaining momentum as time goes on?
Well I mean my roots started with community theatre, and that’s what really kinda of spread my wings. Then in high school I realized that being an actor is what I wanted to do. So why not go and get a degree in it. I just think there is a lovely supportive nature within this community. That stems from designers, to actors, to directors and I think we continue to challenge one another as artists. I think it’s important that we are nurturing our local playwrights too and we are seeing more and more of their work being fully produced and completely realized.
The beautiful thing about theatre is that it is an art form that flows and continues to change. So the flow might be skyrocketing now, and you don’t know if it’s gonna drop after five. You know I will say that last year there has been a rather seismic shift of people either moving to Denver to start their careers or people leaving Denver and theater companies closing.
One thing I do think is really exciting to see is the work of the Black Box at the Arvada Center. That’s huge and also I think that, Curious Theatre has really found their voice along with Benchmark. I love that Miner’s Alley Playhouse is really challenging the audience base. Especially Len Mateo and Linda (who unfortunately is no long with us). I mean by continuing to support true classics but bringing the new work to the forefront I think is one of the beautiful things of the Denver Theatre Community.
Like to see productions like, The Catamounts, Men on Boats, and the Arvada Center’s, The Drowning Girls. It’s incredible to see the combination of both oldies but also the new work coming in.
Oh I wanted to see Drowning Girls and never got the chance .
It was a beautiful show, and I mean another example is Toto Too Theater company producing The Pink Unicorn. It sparked such a conversation and that I think is important and I love seeing it.
Given the different roles you have taken on over the years, which role has spoken to you and taught you the most?
Hm, can I break this down into a three part?
Because I think doing dramas is very different from doing comedies and is very different from doing children’s theatre. So….Drama wise, it’s an even tie between … I think because I’m just coming off of it, The Pink Unicorn. I’ve never done a one woman show and proving to myself that I could. And to have the true art form of theatre really resinate with my audiences instead of people going well that was nice. You know like I moved them to tears. I made them laugh, I was able to use my art form to the best of my abilities and create catharsis for a lot of individuals
So that was neat.
But I think Ugly Lies The Bone at the Lake Dillion Theatre Company. Where I played an Afghanistan war veteran, who after her third tour was hit with an IED, and half her body was covered in third degree burns. So to be able to tell that story, being a person who isn’t a vet or burn victim and to tell it in a meaningful way. And that play..is beautiful, just the way it’s written it’s very human.
I would say those are my top two when it comes to drama.
Comedy, I loved playing Hawkins in Men on Boats. I loved it. I just loved it, I loved the experience, I loved the people. To be in that room with that many amazing ladies, and where we all are surprised that we get to do this together was the most rewarding aspect of it. Plus, Hawkins was a f*** pervert. A Pervert, you know and women don’t get to play that very often.
I don’t know if you guys saw, Jess Austgen post on social media. But she posted on social media after Men on Boats that women don’t normally get to do that in plays. We don’t get to go on adventures. We are usually confined to the love interests and the corsets. But to purely just go and navigate a river, The Grand Canyon, woman don’t do that. We as women normally stay home while the men go off to war.
But Men on Boats for sure, when it comes to the roles I’ve played. For Children’s Theatre, Lily’s Little Purple Plastic Purse
With Directing a play like Resolutions at The Edge Theatre and performing in shows like Lend Me A Tenor at Miner’s Alley, which perspective do you prefer. Acting or Directing?
They’re different. They fulfill very different artistic needs. Directing makes me more nervous and I think its because I have been an actor most of my life you know and directing you’re kinda like, “Oh my god this is my vision, my voice on this piece,” and “oh did I do it right?” With Resolutions, it’s the same thing cause this was Josh Hartwell’s play and he’s a dear friend and for a long time I was like, “Don’t F** it up Missy.” You know and you hope that you hit the beats within the play, that the story jives and has an arch. Of course the playwrights do most of that work for you, but as a director, you have to have the skill set to bring that out and that the actors trust you.
Resolutions was fun though.
That particular piece was important to me, I told the actors on day one you have to remember that this is a comedy. And that it’s a dark comedy. So we can’t shy away from the humor and there are going to moments where the audience may be like, “Why am I laughing at this violence.” You know and to me that was the biggest hurtle of where do I find that tone. Can I communicate that to an amazing dynamic, smart group of actors? I mean the fact that I landed that cast. Like…What!?
Every actor has them, what is your biggest mishap on stage?
All right. I’m gonna tell you two.
I have broken both of my fourth toes, they are the only bones that I have ever broken in my body. And they were in two separate productions of Lend Me A Tenor. At the same moment, when I am hoping on Titto, kissing him, and my dad knocks on the door and I go into the closet door to hide. In both production I did not have shoes on at that point and I go to open that closet door and I broke my toe. Yep and then had to put the shoes back on and do the fast forward curtain call at the end of the show. Let’s just say this last time I did, Lend Me A Tenor, I did not take my shoes off. Through the whole show.
The biggest mishap that I have ever had on stage.
Actually involves our mutual friend BLF, I have found it in my heart to forgive him. It has take many years. But.. on the evening that I performed Getting Out at The Edge Theatre Company, our archival footage was being shot by BLF. So in my actors brain I kinda…I gotta be on point right? This is going to be viewed, I am being reviewed by The Denver Post, and I actually like to know as an actor when reviewers are in the audience. A lot of actors don’t. Depends but um…I go to do my props check. Once I’m on stage in Act one I don’t leave the stage and there is no way for me to get off the stage unless I walk out the front door. Which doesn’t make sense. So there’s this scene where the mom comes in and is bringing a hamper of towels and sheets for her apartment. At some point I am to go into the bathroom and come back out with only wearing a towel. And I’m okay to run around in my panties on stage, but I am not comfortable with nudity on stage. So within this hamper of towels, there is one body towel that I am suppose to wrap my body with and then there were smaller hand towels. So imagine my surprise when I am about twenty minutes into the show and I am going through the hamper looking, trying to engage with my screen partner wondering, “Where in the F** is my towel?”
So I end up dealing with the smaller towel, and I have to do a good eight pages with my hand holding a towel in front of my crotch, and trying to hold the seam of it so my boobs don’t fall out. While my screen partner is trying to throw me on a bed, while I am only a stone throw away from the audience. So the whole time, I come off stage at intermission going, “Where is the towel? It was there for props check?” I am ver diligent about props check.
I go through the rest of the show, and the entire time its driving me crazy. Like I know there are theatre ghosts but theatre ghosts are not that mean. Well it just so happens that after I did my props check BLF came in to set up his camera, walked back stage, saw there was a nice little hamper ON A PROPS TABLE mind you. And put it under his bum so he has a soft seat on his stool while he was recording.
But..Yeah, so that was my biggest mishap.
Obviously I am still a little upset about that. But yeah that was the biggest mishap where I was like, I am very aware that I am on stage right now and I am acting and there are things happening right now where my crotch and boobs might fall out.
Well, it seems like it didn’t carry over because congratulations on your True West Award for the Pink Unicorn.
Yes! It was a lovely surprise! It was nice to wake up for that. All my hard work that I put into it and it resinated with the audience. Which is wonderful
What was the first playbill you ever received?
You know what I don’t know, but I can tell you…. No, it was for a production of Blood Brothers the musical. When I was in fourth grade maybe? I don’t know but I can tell you that they are in memory trunk at home. I save every program I get.
What actor or actress inspires you both in Hollywood and Denver’s Theatre community as well.
Oooo Meryl Streep! Defiantly that woman is a chameleon and… Jeff Bridges. I am big Jeff Bridges fan. Just across the board, everything he touches is gold.
Hmmm Now let’s see, in this community, that’s hard.
Well…an actor? Director? It can be anyone in this community.
Oh I’m a fan of Jess Robblee, man… She is so good. She’s so nuance, honest, kind. She’s just one of those people and I forget it’s her.
I would have to say male wise, I am a big fan of Augie Trum. He’s just one of those guys that gets it along with Bill Han.
Director wise… That’s tough, that might be one of my harder questions. Because each director that I have worked with, they bring their own strengths and so as an actor you kinda find that foil around it. They all brought their own stuff. But I love working with Josh Hartwell’s in Bad Jews, but that also works because we have done so much work together where I have directed him and he has directed me. Warren Sheryl is smart.
I don’t think I can pick one.
Playwrights, there are so many that I love. Bill Downs who is a professor at the University of Wyoming, our artistic experience goes way back. I don’t think I can chose a favorite playwright. There are so many that I love. But that is the beautiful thing, local playwrights are being commissioned! Benchmark does their, Fever Dreams, where they bring new plays, and it’s a whole weekend. Um… Another example is with The Edge commission Josh Hartwell, to create Resolutions. They literally asked him, “We want you to write a play about the holidays, but it can’t be able Christmas and has to be funny. I tell this to my students all the time, the best thing they can do is nurture new work. As an actor if we don’t have new plays, how is our career gonna survive.
If you do any play in the Denver Theatre Community right now what would you do?
Ah the one that got away, because I think I’m little too old for it now was Other Deserts Cities. I auditioned three times for and never got. Also I will tell you that in some point in my career I will play Vi in August Osage County. I played Karen a few years ago in a beautiful production. I also would have loved to play Saint Joan in George Bernard Shaw’s Joan of Arc.
Where would you like to travel?
I’d love to go back to Italy, love to. I also would love to go to ALL of Greece. Wishful thinking I’d love to go to Bora Bora.
Given your sister Mandy Moore, and the experience she has done with winning her Emmy for her choreography on So You Think You Can Dance, have you ever wanted to collaborate with her on anything?
Funny you bring that up because I am moving to Los Angeles in July. The interesting aspect of that is, I am not moving out to Los Angeles to be an actor. I am gonna go out to my sister and learn the beginning skill sets of television production cause let’s be honest we are a TV nation right now. It’s just kinda like the time is now, one of my biggest reasons of going is one of my promises to myself was, by the time I reached forty I would no longer be in the service industry. And it’s a promise that I wanna keep to myself. I kinda like in the last year I have had such wonderful artistic experience here in Denver that I wanna go out on a high. Does that mean I will never act again no; once my feet are wet once I’m out there I may start taking classes with film; cause I am a strict theater actor, you know you use your voice, you use your body, trying to reach the back of the theatre. So just a new experiences, I also am doing Life Sucks at the Aurora Fox after the first of the year, then I am directing at the Mizel again, so yeah gotta lot going on!
Clearly Missy has a bit of a busy schedule during the New Year, and for those lucky enough to see her upcoming works are in for a real treat as she graces the Denver Theatre Community with her bright personality and amazing talent.