UA loop, Walden give home to kids’ theater

Five original prod'ns to be performed at Playhouse

DENVER — Exhibitor United Artists Theaters is teaming with Walden Media to produce live children’s theater at the Walden Family Playhouse.

Off nights and free afternoons, the Playhouse becomes a movie house.

The theater, with 476 seats and a 57-foot-wide stage, is located in the 16-screen United Artists multiplex at the Colorado Mills Center in Lakewood. It was launched in mid-March, with the promise of five original productions during the year.

New York City-based Walden Media, parent of the Walden Family Playhouse, owns the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles, site of this year’s Oscar presentation. Owned by Denver’s high-profile Phil Anschutz, Walden plans to become a major player in theater, film and television.

Construction of Walden Playhouses in other cities will provide a theater chain for such original productions as “Rock Odyssey,” which opened the season.

Television and theater producer Douglas Love is producing artistic director of the Playhouse.

Actors will be paid $370 a week, equal to Equity requirements for a Theater for Young Artists. The Playhouse has a guest-artist contract with Equity and plans to use an Equity cast in its next production, “Merlin’s Apprentice.” Book is by Susan Kim, who adapted Amy Tan’s “The Joy Luck Club” for the stage; lyrics are by Stephen Cole and music by Gary Pozner.

Theater is in the mode of new United Artists houses with stadium seating, cup holders and state-of-the-art lighting.