Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Gershwins’ PORGY AND BESS
Aurora Fox Arts Center: 11/25 – 1/1/17

                Leonard Barrett and Tracy Camp

Who couldn’t love an opera that’s wall-to-wall Gershwin? The most famous of its now classic songs are so delicious to the ear that one wishes they could have encores.
     Director Donnie Betts (2015 Marlowe Award for Best Director for “Ain’t Misbehavin'”) has enlisted the talents of some of the very best actors in Denver as well as a few from out of town.
     Leonard Barrett’s (Porgy) “I Got Plenty of Nuttin,” Erica Papillion-Posey ‘s “Summertime’ and Tyrell D. Rae’s (Sportin’ Life's)“It Ain’t Necessarily So” are three unforgettable musical moments. Anna High (Serena) breaks hearts with her singing of “My Man’s Gone Now.”
     Tracy Camp’s soprano soars with Bess’s glorious “I Loves You, Porgy.”
     Upon entering the auditorium one is regaled with Jen Orf’s outstanding scenic representation of Catfish Row.     
     The technical aspects of the show are overseen by the astute eye of Brandon Philip Case. 
     Playwright Susan Lori-Parks has reimagined the piece in her recent adaptation. Why, however, would one wish to fix something that ain’t broken? Something which has been such a part of the respected repertoire for so long? So if you happen to be one of us who is in love with the original be aware that what you remember “ain’t necessarily so.”
     To make the opera more accessible to an audience Parks believes is more in love with the Broadway musical some of the recitative has been clipped or changed to spoken dialogue. Fans of the original may also be surprised to find that Porgy is now ambulatory. His goat cart has been replaced by a cane.
     Younger theatregoers may not even notice these things. Stephen Sondheim did though and wrote a scathing letter to the New York Times regarding Parks’ choices. Regardless of where one stands with regard to these changes, there is so much of the magnificent in this production you simply must see it.

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

Beauty and the Beast
Vintage Theatre Company: 11/25 – 1/8

                          Angela Mendez as Belle
Vintage Theatre Company’s 100th production, "Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST," is a charming delight.
       Angela Mendez enchants as Belle. Preston Britton is hilarious as Lumiere!
     Director Clay White has directed this beloved musical with great pacing. It features Denver favorites James Francis(Beast), Suzanne Connors Nepi (Mrs. Potts), Ben Hilzer(a deliciously funny LeFou), Caitlin Conklin(Babette),Dave Gordon(Gaston),Jeff Jesmer(Cogsworth) and Craig Ross(Maurice.) New to this reviewer, Sullivan McConnell is adorable as Chip.
     Kelley Von Oosbree’s vibrant choreography will bring a smile to your face. The dancing of “Human Again,” “Be Our Guest” and the waltz to the title song, are all beautifully realized.
     This “tale as old as time” will make you feel as though you’ve been transported once upon a time all over again.

Vintage Theatre presents
"Disney's Beauty and the Beast"
Nov. 25 - Jan 15
The classic story tells of young Belle and the Beast that only she can change.
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2:30 p.m.; Monday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m.
$28 - $31
303-856-7830 or online at
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Christmas Story, The Musical
Town Hall Arts Center: 11/11 – 12/30
L-R: Keegan Flaugh and Kaden Hinkle
     Nick Sugar has done it again. He’s taken an extra sweet story that many people love and has in past made this critic cringe, and turned it- in this critic’s not so humble opinion - from dross to gold. It doesn’t get much better than seeing any musical directed and choreographed by Nick Sugar.     Here this artist is ably assisted by the also estimable choreographer, Kelly Kates.
     Kaden Hinkle is a real winner as Ralphie. It is no small achievement to be able to carry a show of this magnitude. Bravo!
     Keegan Flaugh has become one of Colorado’s premiere talents. As The Old Man in this show his vocals are ear-pleasing in that confident, crisp and clear Broadway sounding way. His singing of “The Genius of Cleveland Street” is outstanding!
Mary McGroary and ensemble of "A Christmas Story,the Musical"
     Mary McGroary stuns as Miss Shields,a spinster school marm Ralphie fantasizes about saving with his beebee gun,(“Ralphie to the Rescue!”) who later appears as a show-stopping red hot mama who will belt and tap her way right into the very best of your Christmas memories.
     Eryn Carman acts and sings Mother in such a way as to make us hope we see her onstage LOTS more!
     Present as narrator, and grinning throughout, Scott McLean portrays the author, Jean Shepherd.
     The excellent music tracks done by maestra Donna Kolpan Debreceni thrill!
     Seth Alison’s lighting design is visually delicious and Douglas Clarke’s set is very nice work indeed.

     It is to be noted that one of the things director Sugar can pull off masterfully that most can’t is having a great dog and lots of cute kids onstage that enhance and endear rather than allowing them to distract, cloy and annoy. It’s a gift!
       Margie Lamb, Gabriel Morales, Sydney Fairbairn and John Mackey(Santa Claus) add spice to the ensemble of this delightful Christmas present from Town Hall!

For tickets call 303.794.2787 or go online at townhallartscenter.orgMarlowe's Musings