Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Animal Farm
Germinal Stage Denver: 8/22 - 9/14

     “Animal Farm,” George Orwell’s dark serious allegory based upon the author’s disgust at Stalin’s betrayal of the Russian revolution, is now on view at Germinal Stage Denver.
     Nelson Bond’s stage adaptation focuses on the incremental steps used by power-hungry pigs as they enslave their comrades. Their Machiavellian strategy is illuminated with lucid simplicity and one can’t help comparing them to some of the contemporary swine featured on the evening news.
     Since History seems to repeat itself maybe if we all pay attention to the cautionary aspect of Orwell’s tale  and heed its historical message it could mean the difference between having to choose between an all expense paid one-way-trip to the abattoir and wallowing around in a political pig sty while slopping the hogs.
     The show is evenly cast and minimally staged. Besides his insistence on a clear elocution of the text director Baierlein has added the sometimes humorous and more often unsettling use of a shrill “eeeee” whenever an actor encounters a hard “e” in his character’s lines. In this way Squealer’s evil glee is accentuated and Benjamin’s braying terror exponentialized.
     This is the second production of "Animal Farm" that this reviewer has had the honor to see at Germinal Stage Denver. Whether you’re familiar with the professional quality of GSD’s productions or not one must state unequivocally that Baierlein’s productions of the classics are quite simply without equal in the region.
     This time Orwell’s barnyard menagerie includes such fine actors as: Suzanna Wellens, Steven Kramer, Dane Torbenson, Lori Hansen and Randy Diamon.

             Gallop, canter or trot on over to get a ticket.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 7:00
Through September 14th
All tickets $20.00 
phone the box office at 303-455-7108 or go online at germinalstagedenver.orgMarlowe's Musings

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Avenue Theatre: through September 6
                       Amie Mackenzie and John Ashton
     When you’ve seen a show umpteen different times and still bust a gut you’ve gotta know the show's a winner.

     A.R. Gurney’s “Sylvia,” is a hoot the first time around. And when you get seasoned actors who have done the show multiple times and a director who has not only acted in the show but also directed it you can’t go wrong buying tickets and indulging your funny bone.

     Director Pamela Clifton has infused the show with genuine warmth and given it a quick pace.

     Greg (John Ashton) and Kate (Abby Apple Boes) are the married couple whose marriage is threatened by the intrusion of Sylvia, an adorable lost dog who follows Greg home from the park and insists on becoming part of the family.  Greg is a menopausal male, who has become disenchanted with his work as an exec in corporate America and Kate teaches literature to inner city students. Tupper Cullum portrays three characters: Greg’s male buddy,Tom, Kate’s female friend Phyllis and Leslie, a marriage counselor of uncertain gender. 

     In her portrayal of Sylvia, Amie MacKenzie delivers the consummate canine sweetheart. Her enchanting stage business and hilarious physiology will win the heart of anyone who has ever owned a dog. 

     Patrick Gerace’s set design gives Greg and Kate’s New York apartment an awesome 3D view of the city in miniature.

     It’s a perfectly marvelous and enchanting evening of theatre that has the audience roaring with laughter.

For tickets go online at or call the box office at 303-321-5925.Marlowe's Musings

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mack and Mabel
Vintage Theatre: 8/8 – 9/14
                         Rachelle Wood and Keegan Flaugh

     When was the last time you HAD to see a show two nights in a row? This show's the one. Director Bernie Cardell’s pacing of "Mack and Mabel" will make your pulse race. 
     A big old-fashioned flashy Jerry Herman musical with more hummable songs than his better known musicals "Hello Dolly" and "Mame" is not produced often enough.
     Keegan Flaugh portrays Mack Sennett, the king of slapstick silent comedy, with brio and power. His delivery of “I Won’t Send Roses” is heartbreaking.
     Rachelle Wood is ravishing as Mabel Normand, the deli delivery girl that Sennett  transformed into a star of the silent flickers.  Wood knocks us out with her singing of “Time Heals Everything.”
    Shahara Ray is smashing in such big numbers as“Tap Your Troubles Away” and  “This Time it’s the Big Time.”
    Christian Munck and Brian Murray do fine work as stuffed-shirt, by-the-book ‘suits’ from the studio.
      Jenny Weiss-Mather is hilarious  as a little crook out-foxing a bunch of bumbling Keystone Kops.
      Joshua Bess as the young Frank Capra leads us into “ Whenever Mabel comes in the Room” with style.
                                               The cast of "Mack and Mabel"
                                              Photos by DenverMind Media
     Jessica Hindsley’s choreography, especially for “Tap Your Troubles Away” is electric.
     Music Director Eric Weinstein provides music direction that makes us grateful for the live band.

Vintage Theatre presents "Mack and Mabel" - The hilarious classic musical Hollywood love story. August 8 – September 14, Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2:30 p.m; Thur. Sept 11 @ 7:30p.m. and Sat. Sept 13 @ 2:30 p.m. $26 ($21 advance); Groups of 6+ $18. 303-856-7830 or online at - Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor DreamCoat
The Space Theatre: THROUGH AUGUST 10

Daniel Traylor (Center) and the cast of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

     PHAMALY’S   new production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is now on view in the Source theater at the Denver Center.
     Opening on a note of pathos in a contemporary institution for the mentally ill director Steve Wilson flies Joseph through his world of dreams to a blissful conclusion.
     Daniel Traylor is an innocent nearly angelic presence as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph. Traylor is fast becoming one of the finest young actors in the community.
     Leonard E. Barrett Jr. unfurls a buttery-voiced version of the Narrator…who in this version might well be the guardian angel of young Joseph.
     The superb choreography by Debbie Stark is peppered with moments of genius such  as the aerial acrobatics performed by Traylor at the end of Act One.
     It is to be noted that this show is so short that one wishes to keep the momentum without an Intermission. However…if there must be one director Steve Wilson’s choice to cut it here is truly well thought out.
    Trenton Schindele is most memorable as the Pharaoh and Potiphar. Jeremy Palmer (Simeon), Lindsay Marie-Giraldi Palmer(Gad) and Mark Dissette(Napthali/Baker) appear in roles that also demand mention. In fact the whole cast is engagingly playful in their various and sundry roles and one wishes to congratulate them all.
      Leslie Wilburn is a fine Benjamin. His true genius lies, however, in his sublime playing of the violin. This 7th grader who also composes, nearly upstages everyone with the exquisitely played music that ascends from his bow.  Andrew Lloyd Webber look out!
     There are lots of lighthearted moments invoked by funny costumes, goats, camels and the like as well as a thrilling downpour of color in one of the scenes.
     The lighting design is interesting and works well for the most part. The geometric patterns that randomly appear upon the floor of the playing space are well done. Nevertheless …. they become a bit distracting after a while.
     Donna Kolpan Debreceni’s music direction and keyboard playing are dreams all unto themselves. Scott Alan Smith, Larry Ziehl and Austin Hein, the mainstays of Debreceni’s stage band are without equal in the region.
    Previews July 10 and 11 and opens on Saturday, July 12 in the Space Theatre at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.  Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. on Monday, July 28. Tickets are $30 - $36 adult, $25 groups of 10 or more, and $20 for July 10 and 11 previews as well as the Friday, July 18 and (Industry Night) Monday, July 28 performances. Post show talk-backs follow the Sunday matinee performances. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling Denver Center Ticketing at 303-893-4100; online at; or at the Denver Center Ticket Office, located at the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Groups of ten or more call 303-365-0005.Marlowe's Musings

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Henry IV (Parts One and Two)
The Colorado Shakespeare Festival
Now through August 10
     The Colorado Shakespeare Festival is “such stuff as dreams are made on.”
     Sunday this reviewer was in attendance at the performances of both “Henry IV” Part One and “Henry IV” Part Two. What an astonishing day of Great Theatre! "Henry IV" Part One has long been a personal favorite. To be able to see both parts of this formidable history play done so well is a rare treat.
     As directed by Carolyn Howarth, the production of Part One of "Henry IV" has so much to recommend it that you may wish to go twice. It’s rare to see all of these great roles inhabited by such wonderful actors.
 L      L-R: Michael Winters and Benjamin Bonenfant 

Geoffrey Kent turns in an astonishing performance in the role of the firebrand Hotspur. (This is one of Shakespeare’s most indelible characters and it’s a tragedy that what happens historically to him disallows his return in Part Two.)
      It's no surprise that Sam Gregory’s portrayal of Henry IV is superb. After seeing his brilliant Atticus Finch in CSF’s great “To Kill a Mockingbird” and his brilliant Polonius in The Denver Center’s “Hamlet,” one simply expects the highest and best from his acting of every role he assumes.
     Benjamin Bonenfant is the perfect casting for Prince Hal. This actor’s bright ascendance into the firmament of the theatre is that of a star of the first magnitude. Bonenfant’s portrayal of young Hal’s trajectory through both plays is revelatory.
     Falstaff is given a solid reading by Michael Winters.
     Jenna Bainbridge sings exquisitely as Lady Mortimer.
     Vanessa Morosco’s (Ariel in this season’s “The Tempest”) Earl of Westmoreland is powerful!

     "Henry IV" Part Two is presented using “original practices.” This is an attempt to “recreate the staging and performance conditions of Elizabethan England.” With only a couple days of rehearsal the actors are given only their own lines and the line that cues them. There is also an onstage prompter as well as four above stage Renaissance musicians.  The lights are up full onstage as well as having the house lights on. So the actors can see and interact with the audience in much the same way they did in the time of Shakespeare.
     In Henry IV (Part II) all the principals continue in their vein of excellence.  Tammy Meninghini does some formidable work as Mistress Quickly.  Geoff Kent returns in the role of a hilarious scenery-chewing codger. Awesome work!

    It is to be hoped that these two grand productions will be remounted so that a greater audience may attend.

For tickets go online to coloradoshakes.orgMarlowe's Musings

Monday, July 28, 2014

Don’t Dress for Dinner
Spotlight Theatre Company: 6/28 – 8/16

Left to right: Erica Fox, Bernie Cardell and Jaclin Walsh

     “Don’t Dress For Dinner” is playing in repertory with “Boeing Boeing” at The John Hand Theater on Lowry. This time playwright Marc Camoletti sets the action in a country home outside of Paris.
    While “Don't Dress For Dinner” takes a little longer to build up steam during the set-up in Act One than "Boeing Boeing" did, it makes up for it big time in the second Act.
     "DDFD" has a great cast that includes Joe Von Bokern  and Bernie Cardell continuing their roles as Bernard and Robert in this second of these two Marc Camoletti  farces.
     The ladies in "Don't Dress For Dinner" are all strikingly bodacious and deliciously funny. They are: Erica Fox (Suzette) , Molly Killoran (Jacqueline) and Jaclyn Walsh(Suzette.)
     The romantic entanglements, lies and cover-ups created by these Camoletti characters are crazy-making and hilarious.
    The appearance of TJ Hogle (George) in the final scenes turns up the amps on the laugh-o-meter exponentially.
     It’s all light-weight fluff that’s very entertaining. The perfect antidote for what’s on the evening news!

For tickets call 720-880-8727 or go online at