Thingamajig’s Perry Davis Harper wins best actor

Photo courtesy Carole Howard
Perry Davis Harper, star of Thingamajig Theatre Company’s summer 2019 production of “Jekyll and Hyde,” won best actor in a musical from the Denver-based Henry Awards, known informally among actors as Colorado’s Tony Awards.

By Carole Howard
Thingamajig Theatre Company

Perry Davis Harper, star of Thingamajig Theatre Company’s summer 2019 production of “Jekyll and Hyde,” won best actor in a musical from the Denver-based Henry Awards, known informally among actors as Colorado’s Tony Awards.

Winners of these distinguished annual awards normally are honored at a gala event in Denver. Because of COVID-19, however, this year’s celebration was a virtual ceremony streamed live on YouTube on Sunday, July 26, that was available for viewing by thousands of friends and family of the nominees and fans of theaters throughout the state. 

Thanks to gremlins in cyberspace, however, Harper almost missed seeing the announcement of his win when the Internet went down at his new home in Charleston, Mo., just as his honor was being broadcast. He quickly reached for his phone, where he and his family watched the exciting news on its small screen. 

Reactions from Moore and Harper

“We are incredibly proud to have Perry honored with this award,” said Tim Moore, producing artistic director and co-founder of the theater with his wife, Laura. “When I first auditioned Perry in 2014, I knew he was something extraordinary. Not only is he a once-in-a-lifetime vocalist, but more important, he was actively seeking ‘community’ and meaningful artistic endeavors. 

“Perry is one of those unique performers you meet who you instantly want on your theatrical team. He inspires greatness with his commitment to excellence, is an amazing collaborative partner, and cares deeply about the work and the people he’s surrounded by.” 

Said Harper, “I am deeply humbled by this win. ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ was one of the most exciting and rewarding shows I have ever been a part of. I am so grateful to Tim and Laura for the opportunity, and to Melissa Firlit for her brilliant direction.” 

Harper became a local favorite when he first came to Pagosa in 2014 to play Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables.” Since then, he has performed in a variety of roles in six more Thingamajig productions, including “A Very Perry Christmas” and “Grand Night for Singing” over the holidays last December. Had the coronavirus not made Thingamajig go dark, Harper would have been on its stage this summer in the lead role of “Sweeney Todd,” another production that is an ideal platform for his amazing voice.

Other Thingamajig

This year, the prestigious Henry Awards also honored Thingamajig’s “Jekyll and Hyde” with two other major nominations — Melissa Firlit for best direction of a musical, and Thingamajig Theatre Company plus Firlit and music director Boni McIntyre for outstanding production of a musical. 

As well, Kathleen (“Kat”) Macari was nominated last year for outstanding actress in a musical for her performance in the lead role in “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” directed by Dennis Elkins, during the summer 2018 season.

Nominations for the Henry Awards are determined through a judging process conducted by a panel of more than 100 statewide peer professionals, academics/educators and other theater lovers.

“Jekyll and Hyde” is a horror thriller musical loosely based on the Robert Louis Stevenson novella. It was part of Thingamajig’s highly successful Broadway in the Mountains 2019 summer musicals season that also included “Ring of Fire,” “The Who’s Tommy,” “Mamma Mia!” and “Alice in Wonderland.” 

Henry Awards

Established in 2006, the annual Henry Awards showcase outstanding achievements among members of the Colorado Theatre Guild, the largest not-for-profit theater organization in the U.S. 

Thingamajig competes in Tier 1 of the Henry rankings against prominent theaters with stellar reputations in Colorado. They include Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Creede Repertory Theatre, Arvada Center, Cherry Creek Theatre, Vintage Theatre and more. 

Normally, the Henry Awards season runs from June 1 through May 31 of the following year. Because of the shortened theater season due to COVID-19, this year the awards season closed on March 31. In the 2018-2019 season, judges saw 206 shows in Colorado. Because of the shortened season, judges saw only 157 shows for 2019-2020. About 40 shows were either canceled or postponed across the state because of the coronavirus.

More about Thingamajig

Thingamajig is an award-winning professional nonprofit 501(c)(3) theater in residence within the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. Its talented actors, directors and designers come from across the U.S. and around the world to produce musicals, comedies and dramas year-round. The theater closed in March because of public health directives relating to the coronavirus pandemic just as it was about to begin its 10th season. 

Thingamajig’s mission is to provide high-quality theater experiences at a low cost to our community, thereby making art accessible, as well as providing a major economic driver for our tourist industry. They also provide youth, many of whom are recipients of scholarships, with low-cost, hands-on educational opportunities to see and participate in professional productions of important plays.

This story was posted on July 31, 2020.