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Tufts E-News --Broadway Bound

Tufts E-News --Broadway BoundMitchell Maxwell brought student musical theater to Tufts – and now he brings a little bit of Broadway to the mile-high city by reopening the Denver Civic Theatre, where he has produced a hit new musical. Denver.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [07.25.03] When Mitchell Maxwell sees a void, he does everything in his power to fill it. An accomplished Broadway producer, Maxwell decided that there were not enough venues for new pieces of theater to play to regional audiences before making the move to New York. To remedy the situation, the Tufts graduate, who was heavily involved in theater as a student, reopened the Denver Civic Theatre with the purpose of nurturing Broadway-bound productions. Among them is his latest musical, Brooklyn, which played to an average of over 90 percent capacity during its recent seven week run.

"We are thrilled to bring this show to Denver, but it is just the tip of the iceberg,"' Maxwell - a member of the Class of 1975 - told The Denver Post. "There are lots of high-quality shows by established artists that need a place to work out the kinks away from the hot, white glow of New York, and our facility in Denver is the perfect place to do that."

Brooklyn - which critics have compared to the hit Broadway production Rent - has proven to be the ideal show for inaugurating the Civic's new image.

"The show is a perfect marriage of art and commerce," Maxwell told the Post. "It's great entertainment, but the societal issues it speaks to are what make it important."

The musical, which tells the story of a troupe of homeless street performers yearning for success, centers on the life of an aspiring singer named Brooklyn who uncovers her true identity on a journey to the city that bears her name. The show's endearing characters and pop/rock score have helped the musical's Denver run earn rave reviews.

"Brooklyn is already too beautiful to watch and listen to for its homeless troubadours not to soon find a home on a New York stage," reported the Post. "It is a rare treat for Denverites to participate in the birth of a heartfelt work that should be given every opportunity to evolve into the kind of youth-oriented hit that Broadway hasn't seen since Rent."

Maxwell's reopening of the Civic brought thousands of Colorado residents to the newly revitalized Denver theatrical scene. Such statistics alone provide evidence that Brooklyn is bound for New York success.

"A successful six-run week here is about 1,600 patrons. Brooklyn will have played to 9,384 in 40 performances... That's 92 percent filled seats," reported the Post. "That Brooklyn pulled this off at a previously closed theater, with no season-ticket holders and with no previously established marketing, may be the miracle of the season."

But this isn't Maxwell's first theatrical success. He began his career as a producer during his junior year at Tufts, when he convinced a friend's parents to invest $50,000 to lease a theater in Plymouth, MA. Maxwell produced shows at the theater for three summers and jump-started his path towards backing acclaimed Broadway and off-Broadway productions.

After his studies at Tufts, Maxwell and his sister Victoria founded Sibling Entertainment - a company which has produced six Broadway shows, 21 Off-Broadway shows (including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Dinner with Friends), four national tours, three West End shows in London and five feature films.

"I've been proud of all the shows that I've been part of," Maxwell - who returned to Tufts this past spring to teach a course on producing to undergraduates - told the San Diego Jewish Journal. "Even when they're mostly populist entertainment, they speak to someone."

Because it brought a new brand of culture to the mile-high city, the beauty of Brooklyn will be fondly remembered by Denver residents, regardless of how the musical fares on Broadway.

"Denver audiences now have a vested interest in the future of Brooklyn, and saying goodbye feels like sending a child out of the house for the first time," reported the Post. "You are hopeful for her survival in the big, bad real world, but also fearful that she might be chewed up and spit out. Either way, Brooklyn apparently always will have a home in Denver."

Brooklyn will have one more tryout run at the Rich Forum in Stamford, CT later this summer before bowing on Broadway in the fall.

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