Steamboat brain cancer survivor surprised by "Wicked" tickets as part of UCHealth Moments to Shine program |

Steamboat brain cancer survivor surprised by “Wicked” tickets as part of UCHealth Moments to Shine program

Todd Danielson, third from left, reacts after being presented a Moments to Shine experience from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, a partner of UCHealth. UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer Marie Timlin, left, Chris Wadopian and Matt Eidt, far right, surprised Danielson at the late performance of “Cabaret” on Thursday, May 9.
Photo by Christy Carter

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the name of the group that puts on “Cabaret.”

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Creates’ annual “Cabaret” show makes fun of everyone and everything in Steamboat Springs. It makes its audience laugh so hard they cry, and it’s a party bordering on rowdy. But this year’s late show on Thursday, May 9, brought a surprise that was more sweet and serious than anyone could have expected.

In February 2017, a week before the “Super Fun Steamboat Show,” creator-writer-producer-actor Todd Danielson had a seizure. Doctors at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center found a tumor on his right frontal lobe, and the 44-year-old was admitted to UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora for brain cancer treatment. The “Super Fun” actors declined their pay and decided to accept donations at the show to support Danielson and his family.

Danielson — who is known for his leadership of local theater, his hilarity and his writing skills — completed treatment, is in remission and is doing well.

At the start of Thursday’s late night “Cabaret” performance, Director Chris Wadopian introduced the show, then paused and told the audience Danielson’s story.

“It’s hard to talk about,” he said.

Wadopian went on to present a grinning, unsuspecting Danielson with four tickets to attend “Wicked,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz,” at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts at the end of May. Danielson, his wife and their two daughters also will get behind-the-scenes access to meet the cast and watch the “greening of Elphaba,” the makeup application of one of the show’s witches, a process that’s open only to media and special guests.

The package was provided by the UCHealth program Moments to Shine, which partners with organizations in various communities to create special experiences to recognize patients and their support teams.

“Our community partners, such as the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, make the Moments to Shine program possible by providing special opportunities that benefit mind, body and soul,” UCHealth Communications Specialist Lindsey Reznicek wrote in a email.

Seeing the show might be extra special for Danielson and his family because, in December 2015, he played the wizard alongside both his daughters in Elevation Dance Studio’s production of “The Wiz.”

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to take my kids backstage of a big Broadway-style production,” Danielson said. “It’ll be good to show them parts of the show you don’t normally see and to be a little more involved with the show.”

To reach Julia Ben-Asher, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @juliabenasher.

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