Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks
Vintage Theatre: 3/14 – 5/3

                                     L-R Dame Deborah Persoff & Preston Britton

     “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” is a two-character play set in  Florida.
     Deborah Persoff portrays Lily Harrison, a woman of a certain age who, widowed and lonely, wishes to experience a more fulfilling life.
     Preston Britton is Michael Minnetti, a gay dance instructor with attitude who appears at her door after Lily signs up for private lessons in her home.
     What begins as a decidedly incompatible relationship develops into a sometimes exuberant, sometimes graceful pas de deux.
Whether the dance is a romantic waltz or fast paced Hustle or Tango, Persoff and Britton move together with fluidity and charm. This duet has chemistry to go!
     Dame Persoff ‘s performance is revelatory. This artist exhibits a range of emotion from antagonistic disgust (contentious retaliation?) to animated joie de vivre to poignant self deprecation.
     Preston Britton’s hilarious portrayal of this flip, out-spoken gay man engages and endears.
Their repartee is laced with acerbic humor. At one point Lily says, ”If you say your age out loud your face hears it?”
     Christine Samar’s costume design provides us with real visual contrast. The wardrobe created for Dame Persoff is an array of dazzling gowns and ensembles while Mr. Britton’s outfits are mostly hilarious.
     Sharon Dwinnell, a professional dancer from New York, provides the varied choreography.

     Ever the champion of diversity in theatre it’s not surprising that director Craig Bond has chosen a script that addresses such issues as ageism and homophobia. Bond’s astute direction elicits performances that are as animated as his pacing is swift. His choice to have the scenes bridged visually by the cinematic expertise of Dan Rib's projections adds immeasurably to this evening of theatre.

     The play is a heartfelt work that speaks to the healing balm of friendship we all crave at every age.

Vintage Theatre Productions
“Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” 
March 13 – May 3
A widow, seeking to spice up her life, hires a young, private dance instructor.
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2:30 p.m.; Sat., May 2 at 2:30 p.m.
Vintage Theatre Productions, 1468 Dayton Street, Aurora, CO 80010

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Big Fish, the Musical
Aurora Fox Arts: 2/27 – 3/22

           Megan Van De Hey and Kevin Schwarz

     “Big Fish, The Musical,” based upon the movie, is a real heart-opener. It’s the story of a son who wants to know the real man he feels is hidden behind his father’s magical tall tales.
     Director John Ashton has done an admirable job in the casting and pacing.
     Kevin Schwarz is the perfect right casting for Edward Bloom. This man can sing and act and comes off onstage as a sort of regular guy ‘every Dad.’
     Matt Summers acts and sings the role of Edward’s son Will, with great heart.
     Megan Van De Hey delivers a luminous portrayal of Sandra Bloom that’s enhanced by her heartfelt singing of  “Two Men in My Life” and “I Don’t Need a Roof.”
    Rob Costigan stands out in a comic portrayal of Amos Calloway.
     Mark Rubald is charming as Karl, the giant.
    The ensemble is full of the names of local favorites such as: Rachel Turner, Heather Doris, Mark Lively, Brian Murray and Scott Rathbun.
     David Nehls’ music direction, Charles Dean Packard’s scenic design and Piper Lindsay Arpan’s choreography are all top-notch.

The Aurora Fox is located at 9900 East Colfax Avenue, Aurora, CO 80010

For tickets call 303-739-1970 or go online at www.AurorFox.orgMarlowe's Musings

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Vintage Theatre: 2/2 – 4/26

Shashauna Nickelson, Dwayne Carrington, Cicely O'Kain,Leonard Barrett,Jr. and Hannah Wheeler
     The joint is jumpin’ over at Vintage Theatre!
     Their production of “Ain’t Misbehavin”,’ the Fats Waller revue that pays tribute to the composers of the Harlem Renaissance, is exhilarating.

     Donnie l. Betts’ astute direction provides us with a zesty pace, flair and energy.

     Duane Carrington’s (Ken) hilarious rendition of “Your Feet’s Too Big” and “Fat and Greasy” are deliciously funny as well as being animated with exuberant vitality.

                                                        Leonard Barrett, Jr.

     Leonard E Barrett Jr.’s (Andre) sinuous, serpentine singing of "The Viper's Drag," an homage to reefer weed, is smokin' smooth and unashamedly racy.
     The three ladies of the production take the stage with great pipes, sexy bodies and a strikingly competitive drive. Cicely O’Kain, Shashauna Nickelson and Hannah Wheeler give animated and spirited performances that constantly compete for sexiest and most talented!
     Shashauna Nickelson(Armelia) turns in her best work to date in the dancing and singing of these upbeat nostalgic classics. This artist is the daughter of the late much beloved Jeffrey Nickelson, after whom this auditorium is named.

Cicely O'Kain, Shashauna Nickelson and Hannah Wheeler

     Cicely O'Kain’s (Nell) “Why Must You Be Mean To Me” and “Lounging at the Waldorf” are smooth as silk.
     Hannah Wheeler (Charlaine) is a knockout in her sailor’s cap as she sings “Yacht Club Swing.” Her “Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now” is just plain hot!
     The show is filled with songs that range from wickedly funny and racy to poignant and tender.  The ensembles’s singing of  “Black and Blue,” the heartbreaking exclamation point in Act Two, is harmonious and truly moving.
     The scenic design by Jen Orf gives us a room that’s in much need of repair in 1940s Harlem that’s unadorned with anything except an upright piano and a few nostalgic pictures of black musicians and singers of the 1920s and 30s. 

                                                         Dwayne Carrington

     Linda Morken nails the milieu with eye-popping costumes for the ladies that shimmer and shine. Those for the men are dapper and debonair!
     Janice Gay Sayles provides us with choreography that is vital and fun.
     The musicianship of Eric Weinstein(piano), Kurt Ochsner(drums) and Kenny Martinez(bass) adds immeasurably to the enjoyment of this evening of theatre.

       Come ready to smile and relive this magic era.

Photo credits: DenverMind Media

Vintage Theatre Productions
"Ain't Misbehavin'"
A musical tribute to the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and '30s.
Feb.27 - Apr.26
Fri/Sat @ 7:30 p.m.; Sun. @ 2:30 p.m; Sat., Apr. 25 @2:30 p.m.
$32 ($28 advance)
303-856-7830 or online at www.vintagetheatre.org
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Cripple of Inishmaan
Miners Alley Playhouse: 1/30 - 3/8

            L-R: Cody Schuyler, Linda Suttle, Sasha Fisher and Mark Collins

  The Cripple of Inishmaan is set in the isles just off the west coast of Ireland in 1934. When crippled Billy, the cow-gazing, book-reading titular character hears that Yank director Robert Flaherty is coming to film "The Man of Aran," he makes plans to leave home for his screen test. McDonagh's writing affords us a glimpse of rural Ireland with more than a dollop of the Irish flair for spinnin' a grand tall tale. One might say that it's a view of humanity "through a glass of the poteen darkly."
     Well cast and paced by director Len Matheo, the show rivets in the intimacy of Miners Alley Playhouse.  
      New to this reviewer,Cody Schuyler turns in an endearing  performance in the role of Billy. It is to be hoped that this will open up many opportunities for this very fine actor to tread the local boards.
     Mark Collins delivers a tour de force in the role of Johnnypateenmik, a relentless busy body who revels in his being the first to announce breaking news to the locals. To his credit, Collins has done excellent work with the dialect coaching as well. Unlike some previous productions in which playwright McDonagh's dialogue has been mercilessy mangled or swallowed, here the wordsmith's glorious prose is beautifully articulated and easily understood.
     Johnnypateenmik's drunken mother (Mammy) is  played with joyous abandon by the darlin' of the Denver stage herself, Carla Kaiser Kotrc. It's been way too long since we've had the pleasure of her company upon the local boards and herself is hereby required to grace our stage far more often. 

                                             Cody Schuyler and Meredith Young

     As Helen, Meredith Young gives the acid-tongued antics of the female gangsta of the neighborhood a spitfire appeal that will stay with you well past St. Paddy's Day. 

     The masterful muggings of  Brandon Palmer are exactly right for his portrayal of Bartley, the local lover of sweeties and victim of the mischievous pranks of young Helen.   
     Linda Suttle and Sasha Fisher play Billy's overprotective aunties with a wink and a grin that's got an underpinning of malevolent bile when they think they've been abandoned by the boy.     Sam Gilstrap turns in his best work to date as Babbybobby.
       Jonathan Scott-McKean's realistic scenic design somehow manages to include the rocky Irish shoreline as well as the requisite quaint rustic interior. 
     Shannon McKinney's lighting design is of the professional quality Colorado audiences have come to expect.  Nicole M. Harrison's patched and tattered costume design is spot on. 

Miners Alley Playhouse presents
"The Cripple of Inishmaan"
Jan. 30 - Mar. 8
Fri/Sat @ 7:30.p.m. Sundays at 6:00 p.m. (2 p.m. on Sun., March 8).
No performance on Sunday, February 1and Saturday, February 14.

Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden, CO 80401
303-935-3044 or online at minersalley.com
Marlowe's Musings