Thursday, August 6, 2020


RAGTIME:THE MUSICAL
BDT STAGE: Streamed on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7pm August 6-29
L-R" Tracy Warren, Wayne Kennedy and Charles Ray King, Jr.


     With music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, as well as book for the musical by the late Terrence McNally, RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL is based upon the 1975 novel by E.L. Doctorow.
     Nominated for twelve Tonys, it garnered four: Best Book of a musical (Terrence McNally), Best Original Score (Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens), Best Orchestrations(William David Brown) and Best Performance by a Featured Actress (Audra McDonald).
     Set in the early days of the 1900s, Ragtime follows three segments of American society:a group of African Americans represented by Coalhouse Walker, Jr., an upper class white suburban family in New Rochelle, represented by its matriarch (Mother), and a group of Eastern European immigrants, represented by Tateh, a Latvian Jew.
     A number of historical figures are interwoven into Terrence McNally's book for the musical. Among them are: Harry Houdini, Emma Goldman, Booker T. Washington and J. P. Morgan.
     Charles Ray King,Jr. delivers a tour de force as Coalhouse. From his bright and bouncy singing of "The Gettin' Ready Rag," to "The Wheels of a Dream" to "Make Them Hear You," Mr. King is a force to be reckoned with.
     Coalhouse's paramour, Sarah, is played by Camryn Torres, a new addition to the constellation of stars at BDT Stage. One hopes to see her onstage again soon.
     Tracy Warren's nuanced portrayal of Mother delivers a character of tenderness and strength. Her soaring soprano in the singing of "We Can Never Go Back to Before" will take your breath away.
     Wayne Kennedy's Tateh is a wonderfully tender, affectionate and protective father.
     Scott Beyette's performance as Father is appropriately stern and unyielding.
     Scott Severtson's portrayal of Younger Brother's ascent from adoring fan to social activist, shows him once again to be 'a natural' in the craft of acting.
     Alicia K. Meyers portrays social lightning rod, Emma Goldman, with spunk and backbone.
     Linda Morken's costumes are eye-popping as usual.
     Neal Dunfee's music direction of the beefed up BDT stage orchestra is outstanding. 
             Thanks to director Michael Duran for casting this show so impeccably, and allowing all the aspects of the show to come together in the imaginative 'melting pot' it is. 
            It would have been great to have seen the show live onstage. Unfortunately this virus has us all staying home. The show is one of this reviewer's favorite musicals, and aside from some issues with the sound  and learning how to access the show in a new way, it's a treat to get to see it!
            Duran promises that the technical issues of translating sound from stage to screen will be worked out soon.

            For tickets go online at www.bdtstage.com or call the box office at 303-449-6000


































Thursday, July 30, 2020

THE LEADING LADIES OF BDT STAGE: 

              July 30,31 and August 1 and August 6,7 and 8!!!

     

L-R: Joanie Brosseau-Rubald, Alicia K. Meyers and Tracy Warren ( Photo credit: Tim Acheson)




BDT Stage has done it again!

 

Ever since the middle of March, live theatre has been nearly non-existent. Right?

     Thanks to BDT Stage’s new cabaret production of THE LEADING LADIES OF BDT, things are starting to look up.     


     This weekend and next, three of our favorite divas take the stage in the south parking lot of BDT Stage to enchant you with your favorite Broadway songs as well as a little Gershwin… and just a smidge of The Andrews Sisters.   These three glorious musical theatre Divas -  and Marlowe Award winners - are Joanie Brosseau-Rubald, Alicia King Meyers and Tracy Warren.

     Brosseau-Rubald , who has played everything from Nellie Forbush in  SOUTH PACIFIC to  Dulcinea in MAN OF LA MANCHA, enchants us with such favorites as “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina,” from EVITA and Adelaide’s Lament from GUYS AND DOLLS. 

     Tracy Warren, who has acted on Broadway as well as done touring shows, blesses us with “We Can Never Go Back To Before” from RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL and “Practically Perfect” from Disney’s Broadway production of MARY POPPINS. 

     Alicia King Meyers delights us with “Before the Parade Passes By” from HELLO DOLLY and her fantastically funny version of Ursula singing “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from “Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID.” 

     If that were not enough, producer/director Michael Duran sings and does a bit of a soft shoe accompanied by multiple Marlowe Award winner, music director, Neal Dunfee.

 

The price of a ticket includes your choice of a scrum diddly sandwich with cookie and chips. 

 

You bring your own lawn chair and BDT Stage serves you a scrumptious picnic dinner.

     How does it get any better than that? Oh, and they're serving their usual outstanding drinks from their well-stocked bar.

 

     Dinner’s at 6:00pm and the show starts at 7:00pm.

 

     Masks are required when not eating, and 10 x 10 plots of land are marked off six feet apart. 

     Safety measures are everywhere adhered to. You’ll feel safe and enjoy an evening you will never forget.

 

     Give yourself a much-deserved and totally protected evening of musical theatre cabaret!!!

 

Not to be missed.

 For tickets be sure to call the box office at 303-449-6000 or go online at bdtstage.com

 

Friday, July 3, 2020

     DISENCHANTED

     BDT STAGE: July 2020

Due to the social distancing caused by this pandemic, live theatre has been sadly missing from our lives.

      Now, however, BDT Stage producer Michael J. Duran is reimagining it, so that we can all access it right in our own living rooms.

     Starting on July 1, and running at least through the end of the month-we hope it will extend!- Duran has created a wonderful online streaming event with his production of DISENCHANTED, the hilarious send-up of the Disney princesses’ lives after their princes have come.

     The royal honeymoons are over and this reality therapy look at life in the aftermath is not looking very much like “happily ever after.”

     The bevy of beauties portraying these famous and very funny animated Disney princesses are Jessica Hindsley (Snow White), Tracy Warren (Cinderella), Annie Dwyer (Sleeping Beauty) and Maryjune Scott as Pocahontas/Mulan/Jasmine. Anna High plays the Princess who Kissed the Frog and Alicia K. Meyers is Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Ariel(The Little Mermaid.) Meyers also co-directs and co-choreographs the proceedings with Denver/Boulder favorite Matthew Peters.

     Linda Morken delivers the eye-popping costumes and Amy Campion’s scenic design is one for the (story)books. (sorry.)

     Neal Dunfee’s music direction and conducting of the just off and above stage, BDT Stage band (he also plays keys) with Jon Stubbs on bass and Nick Gnojek on drums, is Amazing!

     The book,music and lyrics penned by Dennis J. Giacino, made the show a big hit off Broadway. DISENCHANTED was nominated for the 2015 Outer Critics Award for Outstanding Off Broadway Musical as well as receiving the 2015 Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Musical.

    

Put the kids to bed early, because this is a more adult type of look at Disney's princesses.


 Go to the BDT Stage website and get your tickets now. Who knew that you could have the Hottest Ticket in Town playing right in your own living room this summer?

 

 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

       THE GRASSHOPPERS
       BUNTPORT THEATER: through Sunday, June 27

                    

Roughly twenty four centuries ago Aristophanes gave us Greek classic plays such as "The Birds," "The Frogs," and "The Wasps." 
Lucky for us, Buntport Theatre has given us "THE GRASSHOPPERS."
Just as Aristophanes showed us the Greeks with tongue firmly planted in cheek, Buntport holds up the mirror to those of us straddling the blades of grass in our contemporary world of pandemic.
The four comic geniuses of Buntport theatre: Hannah Duggan, Brian Collona, Erin Rollman and Erik Edborg produce theatre magic in the open air now. This indomitable troupe has created a production, which is not only socially distanced for the safety of the actors, but also accessible to the socially distanced audience observing from the safe space of their cars. A sanitized speaker is provided the theatergoers in each car so that we can hear the superb narrative being delivered by Erin Rollman (sometimes like that great narrator, Richard Attenborough.)

Although it is certain that swarms of theatregoers would love to see this production, the show's sold out so far. Nevertheless, once in a while a space opens up. That said, this reviewer recommends that you call and put your name on a waiting list. The space over at 8th and Lipan is centrally located, and well worth the trip.
It's a short 35 minute long piece that is wondrously entertaining. I will not "bug" you with all the ways in which these geniuses of the thespian variety amuse us! Let me just say that it's a theatrical treat that proves how invincible live theatre can be...even in a time of pandemic.
According to many, Shakespeare penned "King Lear" during the Black Plague.  

Not wishing to "bug" you with possible spoilers, I hope you will all get on the horn or the "web" and ask to be put on the waiting list...and that the show will be extended.

Thanks again to each and all at Buntport Theatre, for showing us all how invincible live theatre is, and that the possibilities are endless.


 




Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Marvin’s Room
Vintage Theatre: 2/28 – 4/5


The cast of MARVIN'S ROOM (photo credit: RDG Photograpy)


     Marvin’s Room, Scott McPherson’s touching play about a family brought together under traumatic circumstances, is currently on view at Vintage Theatre.
     Marvin’s been dying for twenty years. Bessie’s been taking care of him for that long. Bessie’s estranged sister, Lee, who lives in another town, can’t seem to deal with her teenage boys. When Bessie gets a dire diagnosis that requires her to call Lee, memories of the past collide with current events and old wounds cause family dynamics to erupt.
      Bernie Cardell’s direction brings out just the right blend of humor and heartache to make this one of the most emotionally rewarding shows onstage this month. In his Director’s notes, Cardell asks ‘who helps the caregiver when the caregiver gets sick?’
     Diane Wziontka gives a poignantly nuanced portrayal of Bessie.
     As the play opens, Dr. Wally, played with delightful good humor and disturbing amnesia by local favorite Andy Anderson, takes a second look at Bessie’s blood work.
     Adding comic relief where we need it most, Linda Suttle is hilarious as Bessie’s Aunt Ruth.
     Jacqueline Garcia gives us a lively portrait of Bessie’s feisty sister, Lee. We first get a glimpse of Lee as she visits her son Hank, portrayed by Braidy Kirkegaard.
   Kirkegaard shows a great deal of promise, and one hopes to see him again soon upon the Denver stage.
     In the intimacy of Vintage Theatre’s Bond-Trimble auditorium, we as audience get to know these characters in an up close and personal manner. The set by M. Curtis Grittner exudes a no-frills realism. Will Melendez’s lighting design is effective and unobtrusive. Luke Rahmsdorff -Terry’s sound design does a good job of bridging the scenes, without calling attention to itself.
     Even the smaller roles are cast well. They include: Gabriel Waits, OD Duhu, Allistair Basse and Bruce Smith. 

Worth a peek.Marlowe's Musings


Vintage Theatre presents
“Marvin’s Room”
A human, hopeful, and hilarious play about being there for each other.
Feb. 28 – Apr. 5*
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
$20-$32
303-856-7830 or online at 
www.vintagetheatre.org
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE and other songs
Aurora Fox Arts Center: 2/21 – 3/15


     Jordan Leigh and Mary Louise Lee

As written by Marc Acito, Secrets of the Universe and other songs is awash with provocative and humorous dialogue and glorious song that invite us as audience to sit back and revel in the beauty of the mysterious Universe in which we live.
    This play about the lifelong friendship between Albert Einstein and opera singer Marian Anderson is not to be missed. 
After one of her operatic successes in 1937 Ms. Anderson was unable to get a room in a hotel because of racial discrimination. Hearing this news, Einstein gave her an invitation to stay at his home. Out of this brief moment, a friendship grew that would last a lifetime.
     Walking the tightrope of sly intellect and wry humor, Jordan Leigh nails the role of Albert Einstein with a performance that’s indelible! 
       Mary Louise Lee is luminous as Marian Anderson. Adorned by Linda Morken’s costumes, Denver’s first lady’s acting shines and her vocals soar. 
     The acting of Sharon Kay White as Einstein’s housekeeper, and of Marc Rubald as Ms. Anderson’s gay accompanist are as brilliant as always. And although they also play other famous people, one can’t help wishing that the playwright had given their characters more to do, so that their roles allowed for them to be onstage more. In numerous roles, Andrew Fischer slips with chameleon-like ease from one character to the next by the flip of a scarf or the donning of a hat.
      The stunning technical work is a character all unto itself. 
     Brandon Phillip Case’s scenic design rises up above the usual level of the stage giving us Einstein’s cozy intellectual living space with mahogany furnishings backed up by a grand piano one level up and behind it. 
      Seth Alison’s lighting design, including delicate projections of stellar sparks in outer space and fluid ribbons of Physics formulas and equations, enhance the show immeasurably.  
     CeCe Smith’s sound design delivers the sonic equivalents of the shifting tides of time and space superbly. 
     Helen R. Murray’s direction is superb. Her casting is impeccable!  Ms. Murray creates the illusion of a vastly multidimensional universe in which time and space are truly “relative” and utterly simultaneous. If one might offer one suggestion it would be that there be no intermission, allowing the illusion of the cosmic flow to continue to expand right up until final curtain.
     Ms Murray’s direction of this production reminded me of the excitement I used to feel at the Denver Center Theatre Company back in 1995 when there were such experimental productions as “Beethoven and Pierrot” and “The Stories of Eva Luna,” directed by such Czech directors as Pavel Dobrusky and his Norwegian counterpart, Per-Olav Sorensen. Shows in which the elements of wonderment and surprise were so great they would lift you right out of your seat!
     Don’t miss this show!

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

Sunday, February 23, 2020

THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS
VINTAGE THEATRE: 2/7 -3/15
       
The cast of The Scottsboro Boys (photo credit RDG Photography)

The rich and thrilling season at Vintage Theatre continues with the regional premiere of THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS. 
      Under the astute direction of Betty Hart, this show is as harrowing as it is entertaining. 
     With music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb and book by David Thompson, this musical has an edge reminiscent of Kander and Ebb’s other musicals, such as Cabaret, Chicago and Kiss of the Spider Woman.
     This reminder of the horrifying event that sparked the Civil Rights Act, describes the fate of nine African American lads who hop a train looking for adventure in 1931, and instead find themselves confronted by two lying southern girls who accuse them of rape.
    It’s a hard watch that’s infused with vaudevillian humor that’s both vulgar and garish. You know, the kind that makes you laugh and wince simultaneously? Much of this is delivered with brilliant panache by Denver favorites Dwayne Carrington (Bones) and Michael Peters (Tambo.)
     With his powerful acting and singing,    
Christopher Razor delivers a tour de force as Haywood Patterson. From “Starting in Chatanooga” to “Make Friends with the Truth,” to “You Can’t Do Me,” Mr. Razor’s performance shines!
     The two ignorant and malefic white girls, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, are played to hilarious eye-rolling perfection by Jayvon Rollerson and Randy Chalmers respectfully.  
     From the exhilarating first number to those describing a macabre nightmare and a longing for home, the score is exceptional.    
     Musical director Lee Ann Scherlong rises to the challenge once again, providing us as audience with sensational choral work as well as dynamic orchestral work from the offstage band.
      Phil Cope’s minimal set design and Kevin Taylor’s intense lighting design -it even includes footlights- allow the actors to really pop.
     Christopher Page-Sanders' choreography is inventively creative and precise.
     This reviewer had wondered if the director might have included mirrors to reflect us as audience in the proceedings. This was not needed however.  Director Hart has instructed Timothy Kennedy as the Judge and Governor  to run out into the audience periodically soliciting validation from audience members. “Are you having fun? Enjoying the show?” 
     Generally performed without an intermission, the decision to include a break is a brilliant one, allowing the audience a brief respite from the harsh subject matter.
     Adults looking for an evening of powerful musical theatre should run to get tickets!


Marlowe's Musings


Vintage Theatre presents
“The Scottsboro Boys”
A powerful musical based the landmark case that gave rise to the civil rights movement.
Feb. 7 – Mar. 15
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
$20-$40
303-856-7830 or online at www.vintagetheatre.org
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010