Wendy Ishii is founding artistic director of Bas Bleu Theatre and teaches acting at Colorado State University. Her resume encompasses over 175 roles from the classical and contemporary repertories. She’s been the recipient of numerous acting awards including top honors from The Denver Post, FC Coloradoan, Colorado Community Theatre Coalition (CCTC), American Association of Community Theatre (AACT), and International Telly Awards. By invitation, performances at festivals and conferences have taken her to Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Israel and South Africa. Her work in Samuel Beckett’s plays (Happy Days, Ill Seen Ill Said, Footfalls, Embers, Not I, All That Fall, and Eh Joe) has been noted in several books, articles, journals and academic papers and is included in the Beckett Archives in Reading, UK. She received a Fort Collins Coloradoan “Coloradoans Making a Difference Award”, Westword named her “2005 Best All-Around Woman of the Theatre”, and she was presented with the CCTC “2005 Distinguished Merit Award”. Wendy was named “2008 Theater Person of the Year” by John Moore at the Denver Post. In 2011 Ishii was nominated for a Bonfils Stanton Livingston Fellowship, was a City of Fort Collins “Human Relations Award” nominee, received the CSU David Lord Award for “Distinguished Contribution to the Performing Arts” and was honored as a “Woman of Vision” by Colorado Women of Influence. She received the 2013 CCTC “Best Actress” award at the state festival held at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts for her portrayal of Joan Didion in “The Year of Magical Thinking”. The production, directed by Oz Scott, also garnered the CCTC “First Place Production” award and Mr. Scott received an “Excellence in Directing” award. The production was included in the Denver Post’s “Top Ten”, and Wendy was also honored to be the recipient of the 2013 “Best Solo Performer” True West Award as well as Westword’s 2014 “Best One-Person Show” award.
Jay Benedict Brown is the General Manager at Bas Bleu. With over 1000 shows as professional standup comedian, 600 shows mixing live sound, 250 theatrical performances, and 150 comedy shows as producer and MC, Jay has been an integral part of over 2000 performances. Toss in untold nights performing at comedy open mics, the time as technical director and board member for The Acting Company in Loveland, and employment as the General Manager for the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, and the number of hours around the entertainment industry has made a career. Jay has been seen on many different Colorado stages, most recently in a staged reading of “Middletown” at Bas Bleu Theatre. Prior to that he played Father Mark in Midtown Arts Center’s “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding” and before that was his second production of “Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)”, this time in 25 performances for Nonesuch Theater in Fort Collins. For a period of time, Jay was a Frankie specialist, having played the asthmatic leader of The Plaids in “Forever Plaid” in 32 performances for Nonesuch Theater and also in “Plaid Tidings” for 43 performances in two separate productions, also for Nonesuch Theater. Jay played “The Padre” in OpenStage’s “Man of La Mancha”. He played the title role in “Scapino” and Jess/Jay in “Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” for The Acting Company in Loveland. Most recently Jay was seen in the 9News #RespecttheOrange campaign, promoting Denver Broncos Pre-Season Game with the San Francisco 49ers and appearing with Miles, the Broncos mascot. and a series of 8 different spots for Len Lyall Chevrolet in Denver.
Tricia Navarre, has been Bas Bleu’s Production Manager since 2002. She began her career in North Carolina in the 70’s with the Community Theatre of Greensboro, which led to her employment as the Production Stage Manager for The Frank Holder Dance Company with whom she toured throughout the Southeast and the Virgin Islands. Tricia also worked on the renovation of the Carolina Theatre, an historic vaudeville theatre, did Summer Stock with the Green Mountain Guild in Vermont and was the Stage Manager for other regional theatre groups in North Carolina. In 1980, Tricia moved to Ohio and was a Visiting Artist for the North Central Ohio Arts Council helping to develop a black box theatre in an historic fire station as well as working on another historic theatre renovation of the Sandusky State Theatre. She spent a number of years as a Stage Manager for the Toledo Repertoire Theatre and was hired as the Technical Coordinator by the Port Clinton Public Schools to run its newly constructed $2 million state of the art theatre facility. In 1992, Tricia and her husband, Paul, moved to Granby, Colorado where they owned and operated a Bed & Breakfast Lodge — as Tricia says, “A whole different type of production!” A move to Fort Collins early this century and a fortuitous meeting with Wendy Ishii led to her employment at Bas Bleu, where she has been the Production Manager since 2002.
Elizabeth M. Gilbert became the Development Director in 2014. Prior to joining the Bas Bleu family, Elizabeth served as the Executive Director of Lanyard Theatre Company, Maine’s only theatrical outfit dedicated purely to producing new works. Past experience also includes stints with Manhattan Theatre Club (NYC), the Freeport Shakespeare Festival (Maine), and Sydney Theatre Company (Australia). As a performer, she has had the pleasure of appearing with the American Irish Repertory Ensemble, Fenix Theatre Company, The Theater Project, Dramatic Repertory Company, The Theater at Monmouth, Manhattan Theatre Club, Sydney Theatre Company and many others. Her first two feature film projects, “How to Make Movies at Home” (nominee – Jack Nance Breakthrough Performance Award) and “Tangled 8,” recently concluded the national film festival circuit. Elizabeth earned a bachelor’s degree in theater from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Beyond theatre, she is an award-winning columnist and feature writer, once had the lack of sense to roller-skate down a mountain for the sake of a good article, and is reasonably good at writing particularly bad country music.
Ashley Cordova, Box Office Manager, has been employed by Bas Bleu since 2007. Prior to joining the theatre, Ashley was administrative technician for Larimer County Human Services. She enjoys House Managing and coordinating volunteers through the Larimer County Alternative Sentencing unit. She has also worked backstage as a scene shift crew member in Kosher Lutherans, helped paint the set for Rabbit Hole, and props and set dressing for Buffalo Gal. Ashley has run sound and lighting for main stage, Readers’ Theatre and many special events. Ultimately, Ashley plans on going back to school to pursue her Bachelors degree in Social Work. Ashley’s favorite role to date is being “Mommy” to her three children, Lucas, Arianna and Jenavicia. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, writing, photography, modeling, singing and enjoying the mountains.
Bonnie Helgeson, Bookkeeper
Mishelle Baun began writing articles and brochure copy for Bas Bleu in 2006, and joined the staff as Media Specialist in February 2011. Baun uses her communications background to encapsulate the essence of our plays, and to help audiences understand why they will benefit from seeing these important works. She previously served as the communications manager for Thoughtful Software for five years, communications director and fraud investigator for the Mountain States Better Business Bureau, taught composition and grammar at a junior high school, was the research director for the Northern Colorado Business Report and associate editor of Poudre Magazine. As a part-time employee, she also is principal at Baun Business Communications, a public relations firm specializing in nonprofit and real estate communications. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from Colorado State University and a paralegal certificate from the University of Denver. She became interested in theatre in junior high school—her mother served as technical director for high school productions in Hayden (Colo.) and community theatre in Craig—and was in several productions. Her children, Arin and Kelsey, have been involved in theatre both at Bas Bleu and Poudre High School, where she served on the board of the Poudre Theatre Guild. She has also sat on the boards of the Centennial Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Fort Collins affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. She is an avid reader, and has been known to cajole her book club to come see productions at the Bleu.