Sunday, September 16, 2018

benchmark theatre: 9/15 – 10/13

Anne Myers and Neil Truglio

“Uncanny Valley” is a play about the probabilities – and problems - involving androids or humanoid robots. 
             Anne Myers (Marlowe Award for Best Actress for her astounding portrayal of Amanda in Germinal Stage Denver’s “THE GLASS MENAGERIE,”) is one of our most accomplished actors. As Claire, she gives a nuanced portrayal of a woman, who, at the end of her successful career, is haunted by family traumas. One wonders from the start if she will fall in love with her android creation or be destroyed by it.
       As Julian, Neil Truglio gives us well enacted bio-mimetic mimicry. Mirroring his creator right from the start, Truglio punctuates his performance with well-timed humor. One looks forward to seeing Mr. Truglio again soon upon the Denver stage.
     Director Rachel Rogers has done an admirable job casting and pacing the show.
       John Hauser’s sound design successfully creates tension by bridging the scenes with the grinding and ratcheting of gears as well as the insistent ticking of an imaginary clock. Hauser also provides original electronic music for atmospheric effect during Intermission.
       Perhaps one expects too much of playwright Thomas Gibbons’ script due to memories of other works about artificial intelligence such as those of the machines in Spielberg’s AI, the robotic gunslinger in West World, and the malevolent Hal in Kubrick’s 2001. Both AI and West World can be appreciated on many levels. Nevertheless, they both left this reviewer feeling empty. 
        Although one respects playwright Thomas Gibbons’ ingenious concepts about the evolution of the science of artificial intelligence, this production never delivers the unsettling emotions or creepiness one expects.  Marlowe's Musings

Benchmark Theatre is located at:
1560 Teller Street
Lakewood, Colorado, 80214

For tickets call the Box Office at:   303-519-9059 
or go online at

Monday, September 10, 2018

PARTS 1 & 2


     Robert Schenkkan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, THE KENTUCKY CYCLE, spans two centuries from 1775 to 1975. More than just the story of three families, who are Black, White and Native American, and whose histories are irrevocably interwoven, THE KENTUCKY CYCLE encompasses all things Americana from mythology to reality and back again in nine short plays.
     Playwright Schenkkan is a three-time Emmy award nominee who has written for stage, film and television. Among his more recent works are the Henry Award-winning musical, THE TWELVE, the critically acclaimed play about Lyndon Johnson, ALL THE WAY, and the screenplay for the film, HACKSAW RIDGE. 

     Craig A. Bond’s deft direction paces this epic production in such a way that the matinee and evening performances fly by. Bond’s unflinching ability to give us a clear-eyed vision of things not always found in our history books, rivets us.    
     Kevin Taylor’s projections provide lush natural backgrounds and locations for us as we go along the journey. 
      Luke Rahmsdorff-Terry’s sound design, which bridges the scenes with folk tunes and other environmentally descriptive sounds, is most memorable.
     Susan Rahmsdorff-Terry’s costume design provides just the right look. 
     There are many luminous and nuanced performances in this two-part play. Standing out in this huge cast are: Sam Gilstrap, Perry Lewis, Joe Mack, and Darcy Kennedy, along with, Jeff Jesmer, Christin Mason, David Harms & Cris Davenport.
     Not for the faint of heart, this production deals honestly with those things that we of this generation were only told about, and not there to see.
    It’s a gift to have Vintage Theatres produce this two-part opus. The fact that it’s done with such skill makes the two parts of THE KENTUCKY CYCLE unmissable. Run to get tickets. Marlowe's Musings

Vintage Theatre presents
The Kentucky Cycle”

Parts 1 & 2
Sept. 8* – Oct. 21
Part 1: Sat./Sun. at 2 p.m. and Monday, Oct. 1 at 6:30 p.m.
Part 2: Sat./Sun. and Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 6:30 p.m.
$32 or 303-856-7830. 
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010.

Vintage will be serving dinner during intermission for the Kentucky Cycle for $15 per person. To make a dinner reservation please call the box office at 303-856-7830.

Friday, September 7, 2018


Dan Connell above and L-R: Jan Cleveland, Kelly Alayne Dwyer, Eddie Schumacher, Carolyn Lohr,Charlie Wingerter and Brandon Palmer
(photo credit: Soular Radiant Photography)

     Hopefully you can still get a ticket for this utterly charming production that’s directed by Bernie Cardell.
     In 1937 George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s “You Can’t Take It With You” won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. When it was adapted for the screen it won the Academy Award(s) for Best Picture and Best Director. 

Director Bernie Cardell has cast Spotlight favorites: 
Dan Connell (Grandpa Vanderhof), Katie Mangett (Penny Sycamore), Charles Wingerter (Paul Sycamore), Carolyn Lohr (Alice Sycamore), Kelly Alayne Dwyer (Essie Carmichael), Luke Rahmsdorff-Terry (Ed Carmichael), Eddie Schumacher (Mr. DePinna), Brandon Palmer (Tony Kirby), Molly Turner (Mrs. Miriam Kirby), John Green (Mr. Anthony Kirby), Gracen Porreca (Donald), Meg Ralph (Rheba), Mari Geasair (Kolenkhov), Scott Hogg (Wilbur C. Henderson), Jan Cleveland (Grand Duchess Olga Katrina) and Kerry Beebe (Gay Wellington).

     This entire cast is superb to a man/woman. Nevertheless
Special kudos go to Dan O’Connell as Grandpa Vanderhof, Jan Cleveland as the Grand Duchess, Olga Katrina, Mari Geasair as Kohlenkov and Katie Mangett as Penny Sycamore.
     This beloved old war horse is a perennial favorite that’s full of warmth and great good humor. Do yourself a huge favor and get on over to The John Hand Theater on Lowry and see SPOTLIGHT THEATER’S enchanting Grand Finale!  It’s a glorious swan song you will long remember.

Thanks, Spotlight Theater, for all the wonderful memories!!!Marlowe's Musings

Lowry’s Spotlight Theater
"You Can’t Take It With You"
At first the Sycamores seem mad, but if they are mad, the rest of the world is madder.
Sept. 1-29
Fri/Sat & Mon., Sept. 10 & Thurs., Sept. 27 @ 7:30 p.m.; Sundays @2:00 p.m.; Sat, Sept. 29 @2:00 p.m.
Tickets $12 – $25 or call 720-530-4596.
@ The John Hand Theater, 7653 East 1st Place, Denver, Colorado 80230 
2hr 15 min (1 intermission)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

                      L-R: Roger L. Simon and Joey Wishnia   

     Neil Simon is second only to Shakespeare as far as being the most produced playwright in this country. When you see Vintage Theatre’s production of THE SUNSHINE BOYS, you'll know why.
     Willie Clark and Al Lewis were a top-drawer team of comics who worked together for 47 years on the vaudeville circuit. At the end of that time they had a falling out and didn’t speak for years. When a television network promoter gets the idea to do a show on the history of comedy in America, the two grudgingly agree to appear together on the program.
     That’s all you get to know about the plot. Any more would need a spoiler alert.
     Director Bernie Cardell takes direct aim at the audience’s funny bones, and scores non-stop bull’s eyes all night. Cardell’s casting is the kind you dream about. Even the new faces in the cast will be ones you’ll want to search for in programs in the future.
     Roger L. Simon’s performance in the role of Willie Clark is an absolute stitch. His acting in this play is simply delicious. Simon’s dead pan expressions will put you in mind of the classic comic expressions of silent movie star,Buster Keaton. As Al Lewis, Joey Wishnia counters Simon’s curmudgeonly snarls, growls, scowls and grimaces with an adorable grumpiness. Marcus Turner is most memorable as Willie’s nephew, Ben Silverman. Kristine Bachicha and Ghandia Johnson could not have been better as two nurses with strikingly different approaches to life.
     Phil Cope’s set design delivers nostalgia in the form of Willie’s dilapidated apartment by adorning it with vintage furniture that’s weathered and worn. The walls are covered with aged black and white photographs and the theatre lobby cards of yesteryear.
     Luke Rahmsdorff-Terry’s sound design delights by including some catchy, up-beat tunes, which lead us into the show and bridge the scenes.Marlowe's Musings

For tickets call 303- 856-7830 or go online at

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Composer Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Salvadore Cammarano

L-R: Michael Mayes, Alexandra Loutsion and Jonathan Burton (Photo courtesy of Central City Opera)

     I’ve been waiting for two seasons to experience Central City Opera’s production of Verdi’s IL TROVATORE. Worth the wait on all counts, this is Grand Opera of true magnificence.
     The complex plot is made simple to understand because of director Joachim Schamberger's brilliant concept!  This opera and the play on which it was based, were penned in an era in which it was considered to be tasteful to have the characters only talk about the violence and gore in their world, rather than to display it onstage. 
     Lucky for us, director Schamberger took into account the sensibilities of a modern audience, and opted to make those offstage scenarios visible above the stage as well as in an aperture behind it.
      Some of the glorious vignettes depicting the offstage action are lit so exquisitely by master lighting designer David Martin Jacques, you may feel as if you’re seeing classical paintings come to life.
     The look of this production owes a great deal to the genre of Fantasy, which includes such works as Game of Thrones and the Lord of the Rings.  Just as in those quasi Medieval productions, cruelty is often couched in visually stunning imagery. In IL TROVATORE, some of Verdi’s most beautiful music is paired with disturbing atrocities.
     Lyndsay Amman(Azucena) and Michael Mayes (Count Di Luna)Photo courtesy of Central City Opera

 The casting is sensational! For this opera CCO has brought back the outstanding cast of TOSCA!  
     Michael Mayes, who thrilled us as Scarpia, is Count Di Luna. Jonathan Burton, whose Cavardossi stunned, is Manrico, and Alexandra Loutsion , who dazzled us as Floria Tosca, has been cast as Leonora.
     Add to this the magnificent mezzo soprano of Lyndsay Ammann as Azucena and Ashraf Sewailam’s profound basso as Ferrando, and you have a cast of dreams!
      Casting against the traditional choice of two buff, muscular men pounding out the percussion in the famous Anvil Chorus, CCO has opted to have two strong, beautiful women hammer it out.
      The costume design by Dana Tzvetkova, with its armor for the men and fur-collared gowns for the women, assists in creating the illusion of Medievalism.
    Conductor John Baril elicits all the dynamic passion and power of Verdi’s score from Central City Opera’s ear-pleasing orchestra with glorious ease.
     A riveting and visceral production of one of the best loved Verdi operas, this is Grand Opera at its finest!

     Just as I had to wait for two seasons to experience CCO’s IL TROVATORE, now the wait is on for their production of Benjamin Britten’s “BILLY BUDD” next summer. Having seen this company’s breathtaking productions of Britten’s GLORIANA and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, the chance to see and hear them do BILLY BUDD will be a dream come true!Marlowe's Musings 

For tickets call: 303-292- 6700  or 1-800-851-8175 or go online at

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder

L-R:Veronique Filloux(Papagena) and Will Liverman (Papageno,the Bird Catcher) (Photo: Courtesy of Central City Opera.)

Director Alessandro Televi’s vision for Central City Opera’s production of THE MAGIC FLUTE will make the most jaded opera-goer feel as though he were attending Mozart’s masterwork for the very first time. You will be enchanted from curtain to curtain!

     Mozart wasn’t doing well in the period just prior to composing THE MAGIC FLUTE. Money was scarce, and his wife, Constanze, was not well. When his friend, Emanuel Schikaneder, proposed the idea of working on an opera based on a play involving magic, humor and Masonic ritual (both men were Masons), Mozart agreed. As Mozart set to work on the musical composition, Schikaneder, who would later play Papageno, wrote the libretto. The opera appeared in 1791, having 100 performances, and becoming one of Mozart’s most popular operas. 
    Alessandro Televi’s directorial concept for the opera allows us as audience to view our young hero, Tamino’s, journey through the eyes of three spirits (in this case, three very talented little boys from the Colorado Children’s Chorale.) 
     Their mother is the Queen of the Night in this production.  Sarastro, the high priest at the Temple of Isis and Osiris, is their father.
     As the Queen of the Night, Jeni Houser gives a virtuosic performance. Scaling the musical heights with her exquisite coloratura, this Diva dazzles us. 
    Kevin Langan has played the role of Sarastro numerous times over the last two decades. His superb basso delivers the hymn-like “O Isis, O Osiris,” magnificently.
       In his journey to and through the ritual cleansing of fire and tears at the Temple, Joseph Dennis provides a strong stage presence and a superb tenor as Tamino.
      You will fall in love with Will Liverman’s  Papageno, the bird catcher.  Liverman’s performance is most memorable in both the singing and the acting.
     Katherine Manley is a fetching Pamina with a gorgeous soprano.
    The harmonies delivered by the Three Ladies (Tasha Koontz, Kira Dills-DeSurra and Melanie Ashkar), who follow Tamino throughout the opera, are nothing short of divine.
     Under the baton of conductor, Andre de Ridder, Mozart’s sublime score receives exquisite treatment from the luscious Central City Opera orchestra.
     Madeleine Boyd’s scenic design is eye-pleasing indeed. 
     Susan Kulkarni’s costumes are eye-popping! Besides a nod to the costume design of Downton Abbey, Ms. Kulkarni leans into the look of 19thcentury German circus posters with her imagining of Papageno, the bird catcher. Here he and his love, Papagena(Veronique Filloux),  are seen as half human and half ostrich. Whimsical magic!
     David Martin Jacques’ lighting design delivers the supreme best in mood-altering, scene illumination. He’s a master of the craft and has done this great work for virtually every season except one for two decades. Marlowe's Musings

For tickets call: 303-292-6700 or 1-800-851-8175.

Or go online at

Thursday, June 28, 2018

BDT STAGE: June 1 – Sepmber 8

L-R: Lillian Buonacore and Cole LaFonte

BDT Stage’s production of DISNEY’S THE LITTLE MERMAID is sheer theatre magic from curtain to curtain. The magician who created this evening of delight is director/choreographer Matthew Peters. His casting is phenomenal, and his team of techies unbeatable.
     Lillian Buonocore, who plays Ariel, enchants us! 
     Cole Lafonte’s performance in the role of Prince Eric is unforgettable. Both actors come to us from the theatre arts department at CSU. Their onstage chemistry will make you smile.
     Alicia K. Meyers is hilariously wicked as Ursula, the Sea Witch. 
     Chas Lederer is smashing as Flounder!    
    Bob Hoppe’s Scuttle, the sea gull is sensational.          Anthony P. McGlaun (Sebastian) gets to delight us, singing "Under the Sea" and "Kiss the Girl!" 
    Scott Beyette’s performance in the role of Chef Louis is a dazzler.  
     Add to this list stellar performances by Scott Severtson as King Triton and Brian Burron as Grimsby! 
      Both the kingdom beneath the sea and the one on land perfectly mirror the animated Disney film.      
       Amy Campion’s scenic design is a breath
taking stunner. 
      Linda Morken makes her costumes shimmer, sparkle and flash. This artist’s costume design, creating the illusion of scales, fins and their requisite stage movement, is genius!
   Karl Hermanson’s puppets for Flounder,Scuttle and Sebastian delight us in a way that brings up memories of Julie Taymor’s “The Lion King.”
     The music by eight-time Academy Award winner, Alan Menken sounds better than ever under the baton of musical director Neal Dunfee. 
     I could say more about this glorious production, but absolutely refuse to add spoilers. 

     You, and your entire family – and the rest of the neighborhood - need to experience this for yourself!
It’s the hottest ticket in town this summer! Run, swim or fly to get tickets now!!!Marlowe's Musings

BDT Stage 
5501 Arapahoe Ave
Boulder, CO 80303 United States
(303) 449-6000 Website: