Sunday, September 17, 2017

FROZEN
The Buell Theatre: August 17 through October 1


The cast of FROZEN, Disney's Broadway-Bound Musical(Photo credit: Deen van Meer)

This reviewer must confess at the get go that he has never seen the animated film, “FROZEN.” The story is not really his cup of iced tea. So please take all of this with a block of salt or ice as you like.

     Visually spectacular, and with talent galore, FROZEN has one problem.

   The performances are all superb. So are the projections, lighting, scenic and costume designs.
     The special effects dazzle!
      An interminable parade of ballads blend one into the other with pleasant, if forgettable affect.
       The vocals, especially those of Elsa(Caissie Levy) and Anna(Patti Murin), mesmerize us. The snowman and the reindeer enchant us, and one wishes they had lots more to do in the show.
     This reviewer’s main problem with the show has to do with the emotional connection between the central characters, and the show’s emotional engagement of the audience.
     The experience one usually has at the end of Disney productions of having a tear in the eye and a lump in the throat is missing here. At final curtain one feels very much like Morales in “A CHORUS  LINE” when she sings, “I felt nothing.”
     That said, one must admit that the audience at The Buell seemed to be loving every minute of it.
     It’s a work that’s unfinished; as all productions are that are on their way to Broadway. At this point in time it’s still getting constantly reformed by script doctors performing their various operations. 
     It’s this reviewer’s not so humble opinion that the show needs to be much more able to communicate the intense pain of separation felt by the sisters at the top of the show so that we as audience can experience the joy of their reconciliation at final curtain.
     So far we don’t.


For tickets call  720-865-4220 or go online at denvercenter.org

Saturday, September 9, 2017

ROCK OF AGES
BDT STAGE: 8/25 - 11/11

Barrett Harper and the cast of Rock of Ages at BDT Stage

     Nominated for five Tony Awards, BDT Stage’s current production of ‘ROCK OF AGES” is tons of fun! It’s a jukebox musical that features rock music from the ‘80s framed by a slim book about two youngsters who are wannabe rock and film stars. They and their hip cohorts are at war with corporate suits trying to buy up the strip and their favorite hangout.
     Director Scott Beyette has cast this campy, kitschy, kookie show full to the brim with actors who are super-talented.
     Denver favorite Tim Howard plays our young hero, Drew, wielding a custodian’s mop while fantasizing about becoming the rock star of the ages. His renditions of “I Wanna Rock” and “Don’t Stop Believing” are phenomenal.
     Olivia Sydelle, who plays Sherrie, the young wannabe actress, sings such songs as “Harden My Heart” with power. It’s a no brainer to see that Ms. Sydelle is already a star!
     Barrett Harper turns in a brilliantly animated and superbly entertaining portrayal of the narrator, Lonny.  His “I Can’t Fight This Feeling” with Scott Beyette is hysterical!
     Joanie Brosseau – Rubald is a joy to see onstage! And how does it get any better than hearing her singing such songs as “Any Way You Want It?”
     Brian Burron and Brian Cronan do a great job with “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”
     As raunchy rocker Stacee Jaxx, Scott Severtson creates his signature brand of onstage magic singing such songs as “Gonna Take a Little Time.”
     The ensemble is totally awesome, rad and gnarly!
It includes: Tracy Warren, Alejandro Roldan, Brian Jackson and Jessica Hindsley.
     McKayla Marso gives us a punch and stomp variety of Jack LaLanne aerobic choreography.
    Neal Dunfee’s renowned onstage band is amped up by the intensity of the outstanding electric guitar playing of Ryan Millard.
     This show’s a little grittier than what one may be used to at BDT Stage.
      So it’s your perfect chance to have a memorable evening of theatre without the kids. Just promise to take them to BDT Stage’s next production, ANNIE, in November!

BDT Stage is at 5501 Arapahoe Ave
Boulder, CO 80303 United States
 For tickets call (303) 449-6000 or go online at  www.bdtstage.com



Monday, September 4, 2017

AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY
VINTAGE THEATRE: 9/1 – 10/15


                          L-R: Haley Johnson and Deborah Persoff
                                (Photo credit: RDG Photography)

Vintage Theatre’s production of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “August Osage County,” is the most satisfying evening of theatre in memory.  
     This show has been cast to perfection and overseen with clear-eyed, meticulous care by director, Bernie Cardell, with his attention to detail caressing the text and honoring the heartbeat.
     Deborah Persoff inhabits Violet Weston, the drug-addicted, dysfunctional matriarch of the piece with visceral ferocity. Her portrayal of this character provides the theatregoer with the anguish of emotional fireworks of the heart.
     Haley Johnson delivers a powerful performance with multiple layers of heart-wrenching emotion in the role of Violet’s oldest daughter, Barbara.    
     John Ashton (Charlie Aiken) provides a droll longsuffering presence. His long-winded grace before dinner is hilarious.  
     Andrew Uhlenhopp’s portrayal of the predatory Steve Heidebrecht is aptly unsettling particularly in the scene with Jean, played with teenage angst by Kaitlin Weinstein.
     Darcy Kennedy as Mattie Fae is rude and unforgiving, but provides us pathos as well.
     Kelly Uhlenhopp skillfully portrays the hidden longings of Ivy, Violet’s secretive and constantly humiliated daughter.
     Marc Stith is a perfect foil as Barbara’s philandering husband, Bill. Brandon Palmer gives us hope as timorous Little Charles Aiken. Lauren Bahlman’s self-absorbed Karen is most memorable. Stephen Krusoe provides a solid presence as Sheriff Deon Gilbeau, one of Barbara’s high school sweethearts.
     In the role of Violet’s husband, Beverly, Roger Hudson sets the stage for what is to follow in this American Tragedy as he instructs Johnna (Emily Gerhard), a young native American who has been hired to help with caring for the home.
     The set designed by Kortney Hanson and built by Jeff Jesmer is a formidable structure, rich in detail.
     Steven Tangedal’s sensitive lighting and Luke Rahmsdorff-Terry’s evocative sound design add rich undercurrents to the evening. Susan Rahmsdorff Terry’s costumes set the tone so appropriately.Marlowe's Musings


“August: Osage County”
September 1 – October 15, 2017
After the Weston family patriarch disappears family tensions heat up and boil over in the ruthless August heat.
 
Fridays and Saturdays & Monday, Sept 18 at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m
Tickets are $25 - $30
Online at www.vintagetheatre.com or 303-856-7830.
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010.
Running time: 3 hours 15 minutes.