Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts: Now –Sep 20


The current production of PIPPIN, now on view at The Buell Theatre in Denver, is THE MOST LUCIDLY CONCEIVED AND EXECUTED DIRECTORIAL VISION OF THIS SHOW EVER!

     Director Diane Paulus makes Pippin’s journey so clear and accessible that people who do not know the show or may not have even previously been musical theatre mavens will be WOWED into Musical Theatre Heaven.

      The show might be called Cirque de Theatre! The players, many of whom are professional acrobats, provide the audience with a spectacle that is fraught with meaning...and chock-full of magical fun and music to die for!

     Matthew James Thomas is hugely talented and adorable as Pippin.

      Lucie Arnaz is a show-stopping Berthe! Her aerial performance as PIPPIN’s grandmother, Berthe, is worth buying a ticket all on its own.

     Sabrina Harper’s take on Fastrada, Pippin’s conniving stepmother, is another show-stopper. When she “Spread(s) a Little Sunshine” ear-drums will be happy and eyeballs will be popping out of their sockets. This lady’s sexy performance makes one wish for a revival of  “Lil Abner” so Harper can be cast as Stupefyin’ Jones. Can you say “smokin’?”

     John Rubenstein is a fine Charlemagne. Mr. Rubenstein was the actor who originated the role of young Pippin back in the day. Now he has come full circle playing Pippin’s father, Charles the Great.

     Callan Bergmann portrays Pippin’s step-brother, Lewis with fiery energy and cheerful malevolence.

     Kristine Reese’s enchanting portrayal of Catherine, Pippin’s ‘ordinary’ love is quite “Extraordinary” in her acting and her singing.

     And although there will never be another Ben Vereen… Sasha Allen is absolutely unforgettable in the role of the Leading Player.

     This touring company is quite exceptional. The launching of the national tour of PIPPIN by The Denver Center For the Performing Arts will skyrocket through the country in a blaze of GLORY! I hope you can still snag a ticket!

 Box Office is in the lobby of the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby, located at the northwest corner of the Denver Performing Arts Complex at Speer Boulevard & Arapahoe Street.
Hours : Mon-Sat 10am-6pm (except major holidays). Ticket agents also are available at each theatre one hour prior to each show.
Call : Toll-free: 800.641.1222 | Local: 303.893.4100 | Group Sales: 303.446.4829 | TTY: 303.893.9582
Email : Marlowe's Musings

                  Left to right: Jim Hogan and Aisha Jackson

   Director Rod Lansberry has cast the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities’ production of “Memphis” with performers who display true star quality and paced it with a rhythm and blues heartbeat. Joe Pietro’s book for the musical makes us feel what it was like to be living in the racially segregated South when the Civil Rights movement was just getting started. David Bryan’s music and lyrics let us hear the rocking rise of black rhythm and blues upstaging the previously exclusive bland white bread tunes on the radio.

     Aisha Jackson’s performance in the role of Felicia is that of a musical theatre star of the first magnitude. Ms. Jackson's soprano soars!

     Jim Hogan’s heroic rebellious Huey is a tour de force.  One hopes to see LOTS more of this fine artist’s work.

     Keith L. Hatten’s Delray is not just brilliantly acted. Hatten is a great singer as well! Who knew?
     Mathenee Trico (Bobby) executes some breathtaking moves that prove you don’t have to be a skinny guy in tights to execute stunning high-kicking athletic dance moves onstage. Trico is a force of nature! And what a voice! This man deserves to be seen onstage much more often.

     How exciting to get to see and hear Melissa Swift-Sawyer (the critically acclaimed “Always Patsy Cline” at The Galleria) onstage again. Here she plays the white cracker momma you love to hate.

      Robert Michael Sanders does a great job as the consummate bigot. The scene in which he is unexpectedly introduced on a television program featuring African American dancers is golden. Mr. Sanders’ portrayal of this good ol’ boy as deer in the headlights is priceless.

      Kitty Skillman-Hilsabeck’s choreography is as always fresh and vitally inventive even when making studied references to such work as that of Jerome Robbins in West Side Story’s “Dance at the Gym” in order to illustrate racial integration.

      David Nehls’ music direction is magnificent.

      Chris Campbell’s costumes are spot on.

      Matt La Fontaine, Noah Lee Jordan, Shannan Steele and Mark Rubald are a few of the local favorites featured.

Box Office Phone: 720-898-7200
 or go online at for tickets Marlowe's Musings 

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