Saturday, November 10, 2018

XANADU
THE GARNER GALLERIA THEATRE: 11/9 -4/28/2019
Lauren Shealy and Marco Robinson   (photo credit: Emily Lozow) 

 Kitschy, kookie and intentionally campy, XANADU, now on view at The Garner Galleria, is totally awesome, rad and gnarly.
     Based upon the 1980 Universal Pictures film of the same title, it’s the perfect antidote for the five o’clock news as well as a great choice for date night for those seeking feather-weight, fluffy entertainment that’s delightfully ear-pleasing.
       Visually, it’s a rainbow of celestial colors that play out in the costumes (Meghan Anderson Doyle) and lighting (Charles R. McLeod). So whether you’re looking to revisit this cult classic for reasons of nostalgia or just in the mood for a silly, goofy romp enlivened by fantastic actor/singer/skaters - yes, it’s all done on roller skates! - you can’t go wrong getting tickets for this celestial, yet remarkably down-to-earth, (sorry!) evening of musical theatre.
     The story is all about the adventures of the goddess Kira, who comes down from Mount Olympus to be the muse for a struggling mural painter, named Sonny on Venice Beach. Just as in Greek mythology, when the Goddess falls in love with the mortal, all kinds of mayhem breaks out with her goddess sisters and father, Zeus.
     Lauren Shealy ravishes the eye and the ear as Kira, in one of the best musical theatre performances of the year! This accomplished actor/singer/dancer is a Denver favorite who makes Olivia Newton John take a back seat in both looks and vocal prowess.
     Marco Robinson is terrific as Sonny, the struggling mural artist, and Kira’s paramour. This artist is exceptional in his duets with Ms. Shealy: “Magic” and “Suddenly.”
    As Calliope, Sarah Rex dazzles us with her singing of “Fool” and “The Fall.” Ms. Rex has rocked Denver with incredible performances of such characters as: The Narrator in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and Ellen in “Miss Saigon,” both at The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities.
      Sheryll McCallum (Melpomene) is a force to be reckoned with belting out “Evil Woman.” 
     Aaron Vega is the Gene Kelly stand-in as Danny McGuire. This actor, whose character lost his muse long ago, turns in super smooth vocals as Danny, in “Whenever You’re Away from Me” and later as Zeus, in “Have You Never Been Mellow?” 
     Doused with a spectrum of pastels in cotton candy colors and sprinkled with a rainbow of shimmering sequins, it’s certainly visual ambrosia.
       Grab one of the specialty cocktails being served up at the bar – The Zeus or The Kira – and kick back for an evening of blissful musical theatre comedy of the light, fluffy and delightfully entertaining variety.
     With Tag Worley on drums, Dave Demichelis on guitar and music director David Nehls on keyboards, this three-piece onstage orchestra sounds incredibly full!
     The show is directed and choreographed by Joel Ferrell.Marlowe's Musings


 With music and lyrics by Jeff Lynn and John Farrar and a book by Douglas Carter Beane, XANADU will play the Garner Galleria Theatre from 11/9 to 4/28.
For tickets go online at denvercenter.org or call 303-893-4100 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Humans
Curious Theatre Company: 11/3 – 12/22
                   L-R: Anastasia Davidson and Kevin Hart  (photo credit Michael Ensminger)

Not your usual holiday fare, Stephen Karam’s Tony Award-winning play, THE HUMANS, plays out at a Thanksgiving dinner in an apartment in lower Manhattan.
     Kevin Hart leads a uniformly fine cast with an outstanding portrayal of Erik Blake, the patriarch of this dysfunctional clan. Hart, who dazzled Denver audiences with his outstanding portrayal of Willy Loman in The Edge Theater’s production of DEATH OF A SALESMAN earlier this season, proves once again what a powerful presence he is in dark, serious drama.
     As Erik’s wife, Deirdre, Annie F. Butler gives a nuanced portrayal of a woman suffering from wounds of disregard and neglect.  
     Anastasia Davidson portrays Erik and Deirdre’s daughter, Brigid. New to this reviewer, her engaging performance makes one hope to see her soon again upon the Denver stage.
     Susannah McLeod portrays the couple’s other daughter, Aimee, whose sparkling personality and bright smile veil a year filled with tragedy.
     Antonio Amadeo, who was nominated for a Henry Award for his performance in A KID LIKE JAKE at Benchmark Theatre and gave a breathtaking performance as Biff in The Edge Theater’s DEATH OF A SALESMAN, is Richard Saad, Brigid’s acquiescing boyfriend.
     Delivering a heart-breaking portrayal of a woman suffering from dementia, Kathryn Grey is brilliant as Momo.
     Dee Covington delivers her directorial concept with a stealth-like pacing.
     Charles Dean Packard’s excellent lighting design creates the perfect eerie, mysterious mood. 
     Markas Henry’s superb two-level set, complete with spiral staircase and intentionally dilapidated furnishings, is one of the best scenic designs so far this season.
     Jason Ducat provides such an intentionally nerve-jangling sound design that the sonic effects so integral to the piece, almost become another character.
      This is provocative theatre that’s not for the theatregoer looking for a night of light, fluffy entertainment.
     Disturbing, and at times uncomfortable, THE HUMANS will reward those seeking an evening of theatre as Art.




Thursday, October 25, 2018

LOVE NEVER DIES
THE BUELL THEATRE: 10/23 – 10/28


                           Meghan Picerno (photo Joan Marcus)


Vocally outstanding and visually magnificent, the production now on view at The Buell Theatre is sheer musical theatre magic!  

     “LOVE NEVER DIES,” the long-awaited sequel to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s beloved “PHANTOM OF THE OPERA,” is a feast for both the ear and the eye.  From the principals to the supporting cast, the acting, singing and dancing, dazzles. 
     Megan Picerno’s vocals as Christine Daae are delicious. The dulcet tones of her singing of the title song, “LOVE NEVER DIES,” met with such an appreciative roar from the audience, one fully expected a 
mid-show standing ovation immediately thereafter.
      “Devil Take the Hindmost,” the duet sung by Raoul (Sean Thompson) and the Phantom (Bronson Norris Murphy) at the top of Act Two, is unforgettable. 
     As directed by Simon Phillips, the staging of the show is mysteriously magical and often deliciously dizzying.
     The live orchestra, conducted by music director Dale Rieling, explodes with Lloyd Webber's gorgeous, melodic score! 
     There is a crackling good lighting design by Nick Schlieper, as well as eye-popping scenic and costume designs, both by Gabriela Tylesova. 
     Whether engaging us with the cirque aspects of the show, as in “The Coney Island Waltz,” or bringing the music hall to life, as in Meg’s (Mary Michael Patterson) lively performance of “Bathing Beauty,” The choreography (Graeme Murphy AO) for the show dazzles.

      In case you missed something, I LOVED IT!!!Marlowe's Musings


“LOVE NEVER DIES” has music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by Ben Elton that’s based upon “The Phantom of Manhattan” by Frederick Forsyth.
For tickets call 303-893-4100 or go online at denvercenter.org

Saturday, October 20, 2018

 MY NAME IS ASHER LEV
CHERRY CREEK THEATRE and the MIZEL ARTS AND CULTURE CENTER: 10/18 – 11/11



                                                             Josue Ivan Prieto 


     Based upon the novel penned by Chaim Potok, Aaron Posner’s stage adaptation of MY NAME IS ASHER LEV, is a profoundly spiritual journey about a young man’s struggle to express his artistic talent as it collides with his Hasidic Jewish family and their religious beliefs about Art. 
     Perhaps due to a case of opening night jitters, MY NAME IS ASHER LEV was a little slow building steam on Thursday evening. Shortly thereafter the show caught fire, and the rest is history.
     Josue Ivan Prieto portrays the creator of such masterpieces as “Brooklyn Crucifixion 1” and “Brooklyn Crucifixion 2,” from innocent child to master artist, with true chutzpah.
          Josh Levy portrays all the men: Aryeh Lev Yitzchok Lev, The Rebbe and Jacob Kahn. Levy, who recently played Charley in The Edge Theater’s critically acclaimed DEATH OF A SALESMAN, is especially memorable as Jacob Kahn, the outspoken mentor of the burgeoning artist. 
     Christy Kruzick plays all the women in the piece: Rivkeh Lev, Anna Schaeffer and Rachel. Kruzick shines in her nuanced portrayal of Anna Schaeffer, an outspoken Art connoisseur. 
        Bernie Cardell’s direction is of the professional quality Denver audiences have come to expect from him. 
     M. Curtis Grittner’s eye-popping scenic design covers the back wall and the floor of the playing space with a fantasia of splatters and brush strokes in a chroma key of primary colors that appears to have splashed right out of a can.
     Morgan McCauley (MARLOWE AWARD for SOUND DESIGN for TARTUFFE at ARVADA CENTER) stitches the scenes together with a stirring and sensitive sound design.
    Karalyn Star Pytel creates her usual mood-shifting magic with the lighting design.
    Go and support Cherry Creek Theater and the Mizel Arts and Culture Center.Marlowe's Musings

For tickets go online at cherrycreektheatre.org     or call 303-800-6578

Sunday, October 14, 2018

BOSTON MARRIAGE
VINTAGE THEATRE: 10/11 -11/5
 
L-R: Michelle Moore and Kelly Uhlenhopp(photo credit: RDG Photography)

Playwright David Mamet is perhaps best known for writing “Glengarry Glen Ross” (Pulitzer Prize), “American Buffalo” and “Speed-the-Plow.” Word has it that this oft considered misogynist playwright, whose plays are primarily male-driven, was once challenged to write a play about women. The result is said to be “Boston Marriage.” 

     “BOSTON MARRIAGE” centers on two women, who, living together in Victorian times, are doing their best to live a life “on the fringes of upper-class society.” Anna, the older of the two women, is the mistress of a wealthy man who gives her jewels and a nice income. Claire, the younger of the two, has become infatuated with another young lady, and seeks Anna’s help in ‘sealing the match.’  When Claire’s new “friend” appears on the scene, the prosperity of Claire and Anna is put at risk. 
     Catherine, the maid, is the only other character.
     Director Lorraine Scott has cast the play impeccably.
     The play contains three Bravura performances by Michelle Moore, Kelly Uhlenhopp and Jean Schuman, with Ms. Moore delivering a tour de force.
     Kelley Uhlenhopp portrays Claire with pluck and luminosity.
     As the scorned and much-maligned Scottish maid, Catherine, Jean Schuman is by turns, hilarious, pitiful and finally triumphant.
     The technical aspects of the play are especially well done, barring one glitch in the lighting apparatus at the top of the play.
     Susan Rahmsdorff-Terry’s eye-popping costume design is spot on!

Vintage Theatre presents
“Boston Marriage” 
A wickedly funny comedy spiced with an impeccable plot and Wildean wit.
Oct. 5 – Nov. 11
Fri/Sat and Mon., Oct. 15 & Thurs. Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m.;

Sundays & Sat. Nov. 10 at 2:30 p.m.
$16 - $32 
www.vintagetheatre.org or 303-856-7830. 
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010Marlowe's Musings

Saturday, October 6, 2018

DEAR EVAN HANSEN
THE BUELL THEATRE: 9/25 – 10/13
 
IF ANYONE WISHES TO HAVE THEIR HEART OPENED, THIS MAGNIFICENT, LIFE- AFFIRMING PRODUCTION IS JUST THE TICKET!!!

The Tony Award-winning DEAR EVAN HANSEN, is now on view at the Buell Theatre for only one more week.
     It’s such a mind blowing, heart expanding experience everyone should see it.
     Especially families in crisis!!!   
     Or families who are in any kind of therapy that’s hard to talk about or express!!! 
      Especially anyone in emotional crisis!
      Especially anyone who even remotely appreciates the wonder(s) of the American Musical Theatre.
     Ben Levi Ross is just astounding in his acting and singing of the part of Evan Hansen. This actor delivers the exact right vulnerable sensibility for this character. His vocals fill The Buell with heart-swelling power and emotion.
     Jessica Phillips is luminous in her performance of Heidi Hansen, Evan’s Mom.
      Jared Goldsmith is completely “natural” and adorably forthright in his acting of the part of Evan’s hilariously outspoken friend, Jared Kleinman.
     The excellent scenic design by David Korins is married to the eye-popping Lighting design by Japhy Weideman in such a wondrous way you’ll be astounded. 
     Nevin Steinberg’s sound design is the clearest, crispest, absolute best to have been heard by this reviewer at The Buell Theatre in memory.

       “DEAR EVAN HANSEN is the story of the unintended consequences of following your heart.” -Tony Award-Winning Playwright Steven Levenson.

     You don’t need to know more about the story. Just go and let your heart be broken and mended in the time it takes for these phenomenal actors and techies to tell it.
      This production comes with highest recommendations from this critic’s desk. 
   Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!Marlowe's Musings

Go online to Denvercenter.org for tickets

Thursday, October 4, 2018

OKLAHOMA!
THE DENVER CENTER THEATRE COMPANY: 9/7 – 10/14
                       Antoine L. Smith
OKLAHOMA was the first musical written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. Based upon Lynn Riggs’ “Green Grow the Lilacs,” it’s set just outside Claremore in Oklahoma Territory, 1906.
      Rodgers and Hammerstein received the Pulitzer Prize for the musical on stage and later an Academy Award for the screen adaptation.
     Celebrating the 75thAnniversary of OKLAHOMA, Chris Coleman, the Artistic Director of the DCPA Theatre Company, has cast it with an African American cast.
      It’s a Glorious production that’s visually magnificent and vocally superb.
     Wilson Chin’s rustic frontier scenic design is enhanced by the sweeping backdrop of a cloud-swept sky. The authentic look of the costume design for the show is credited to Jeff Cone.
     In the ballet sequence of “Out of My Dreams” Dominique Kelley’s choreography honors that of Agnes DeMille, while sparking It with some innovations of her own. Here, as in the other big dance scenes, this cast shines.
      Ya’Nika Gibson is luminous as Laurey.  Her soprano soars through such classics as “Many a New Day” and “People Will Say We’re in Love.”
     Antoine L. Smith is a handsome Curly with dynamic presence. His vocals of “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” as well as his duet with Ms. Gibson, are stellar.
          Bre Jackson shines as the flirtatious and pouty Ado Annie.  Her humorous take on “I Cain’t Say No” is delicious.  
         Rennie Anthony Magee turns in a sensational portrayal of Ado Annie’s suitor, Will Parker. His high steppin’ dancing and singing of “Kansas City” is amazing.     Barrington Lee (Jud Fry)who has sung such opera roles as the Commendatore in Mozart's Don Giovanni, is a powerful presence, both vocally and in the acting. 
     Cooper Grodin gives a studied portrayal of the peddler, Ali Hakim.
          Sheryl McCallum is an Aunt Eller for the ages!
          The sensational live orchestra keeps those classic Rodgers and Hammerstein melodies rolling from curtain to curtain.

       Added bonus… you will leave humming the tunes with a smile on your face.Marlowe's Musings

  for tickets go online at denvercenter.org