SUGARCOATED is an autobiographical late (late) coming-of-age story about Jen: a romantic daydreamer who absolutely should have known she was queer by the time she was 8 years old. Through stories both mortifying and hilarious, Jen takes the audience through the big 'almosts': her first kiss (a girl!), her first heartbreak (a boy who looked like a lesbian!), and her fervent love for Girl Scout Camp. 

On the brink of coming out in college, Jen grapples with societal booby traps of womanhood and sexuality, shaving away bit by bit of her essence and knowing until she is a husk of her former self. 20 years later, only the catharsis of a global emergency can bring her crashing back to life, in full color--rediscovering herself, and finally experiencing the glitter, champagne bubbles, and sweet cake of queerness that she knew was inside her all along. 

(CW/TW for sexual assault, strong language, violence, emotional abuse. Suggested age range: 13+.)

Adults Only
75 minutes
Solo Performance, Theatre, Storytelling, LGBTQ+, World Premiere
The Lodge at Woods Boss
675 22nd St, Denver, CO 80205

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JEN PONTON (Writer/Performer): Colorado's biggest fan, Jen is delighted to be in her happy place for the world premiere of her autobiographical solo show, SUGARCOATED. As an actor, you might recognize Jen from Dietland, The Blacklist, 30 Rock, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Deadbeat, Orange is the New Black, Blue Bloods, Boardwalk Empire, Law & Order: SVU, and The Good Wife. Jen landed on the map of queer cinema when she starred in Ash Christian’s Love on the Run alongside Frances Fisher, Annaleigh Ashford, and Steve Howey. Other film credits include Rebecca Miller’s SHE CAME TO ME and Todd Solondz’s WIENER-DOG opposite Greta Gerwig and Kieran Culkin. She met director Tessa Slovis when she starred in her film PIZZA PARTY, based on the Larry Nassar trials, and knew Tessa would deftly and sensitively bring her story to the stage. As a multi-hatted creator, Jen has written and produced a number of projects that make her heart sing. From her storytelling podcast All the Fucks, to her nostalgia-core puppet sitcom, to her TEDx Talk, Jen weaves radical queer stories with unexpected main character energy. To learn more about Sugarcoated, visit

TESSA SLOVIS (Director): Tessa is a bicoastal director and actor. She met Jen when she cast her in her film directorial debut, Pizza Party which has screened at 25+ Academy Qualifying and International Film Festivals including: Florida Film Fest, Cinequest, Indy Shorts at Heartland, Rhode Island Film Fest, Bentonville Film Fest and Ashland Film Fest (jury mention). Her second film, Falsies premiered in late 2023 at the Tallgrass Film Festival. She is currently in Development and slated to direct her first feature film in early 2025.  As an actor she has recurred on ABC's Grey's Anatomy and has guest starred on numerous network and streaming television series, including the upcoming Walking Dead spinoff The Walking Dead: The Ones Who LivedLaw and Order SVU, New AmsterdamThe Affair and others. She freelances as a director and producer for short independent films and is a cinema and acting professor at the University of Southern California. She is one of the founding faculty members of the USC MFA Film initiative, which supports MFA Acting students as they write, direct and produce their own short films. Under her co-leadership, the program received a $250,000 grant from the Adobe Foundation. Tessa was named a USC Marshall School of Business Performance Science Scholar for her work in social justice and performing arts. She holds a BA from Barnard College at Columbia University and an MFA from USC. 

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The Lodge at Woods Boss

675 22nd St, Denver, CO 80205

Entrance: The main entrance for performances is on 22nd street

Parking: Street parking is available on neighboring streets and there is a large paid parking lot just across 22nd street.

Accessibility: Ramps and ADA bathrooms  

Admission: You must show your ticket confirmation or purchase a ticket at the venue; all seating is general admission, audiences will wait in a queue before entry to the show