The Denver Center for the Performing Arts will end its prestigious National Theatre Conservatory, the nation’s only congressionally chartered Master of Fine Arts program, in an effort to save up to $1.2 million a year. “This year ending in June, we will be a little bit in the black,” DCPA chairman Daniel L. Ritchie tells The Denver Post. “But next year is going to be much more challenging.” The decision to eventually end the program, which provides students with scholarships worth about $100,000 each, has angered some who see the move as short-sighted: Students are often used to fill out the casts of DCTC productions. “I wonder how the Denver Center will struggle after the NTC is gone,” says 2009 graduate Leigh Miller, “both because of the vitality the students brought to the Center, as well as the highest level of professionalism the Center brought to the students.” Indeed, Denverites have recently been making headway on Broadway, as Denver Post critic John Moore points out in his most recent column on the local theater community.