Thursday, July 17, 2014

Boeing Boeing
Spotlight Theater: June 28 – August 16
                                  

                          Left to right: Joe Von Bokern, Kelly Alayne Dwyer and Bernie Cardell

     If there’s one theatrical genre at which Spotlight Theatre has succeeded multiple times, it’s farce.
     Spotlight’s production of Marc Camoletti’s “Boeing Boeing,” now on view at The John Hand Theater on Lowry , is one of the funniest they’ve done. It will leave you breathless with laughter.
     Co-directed by Luke Allen Terry and Katie Mangett, the casting is amazing and the pace frenetic.
     Joe Von Bokern is Bernard, a self proclaimed Lothario with a pad in Paris where three girl friends who just happen to be airline stewardesses enjoy the occasional lay-over!
                                     
                            Left to right: Todd Black, Joe Von Bokern and Bernie Cardell

     Todd Black is fantastic as Bertrand, the harried butler of the piece. Black’s character has the job of keeping ‘le plat du jour’ lasagna on Italiana day and Weiner schnitzel on Deutsche! Zees poor Franch butler is up to heez eyeballs in schedule complications and menu rearrangement. A very funny performance indeed!
                                                    
                    Left to right: Nicole Campbell, Kelly Alayne Dwyer and Bethany Lillis
     Nicole Campbell is Gretchen, Bernard’s German girl friend. Bethany Lillis is Gloria, his American amour. Kelly Alayne Dwyer is Gabriella, his Italian.
     All three of these gorgeous women chew up the scenery so joyously you’ll want to shout “Bon appetit!”
     Bernie Cardell plays Robert, a good friend of Bernard who gets sucked into the melee by stopping by to say “hi” and winds up ogling and salivating over every one of his friend’s sexy ‘guests.”
    Cardell has also done the eye-pleasing set design for Bernard’s Parisian apartment near Orly.
     The excellent sound Design is by co-director Luke Allen Terry
     The costumes by Rosemary Smith are Wowzers!


    It would be tragic if you didn’t get over there and see this very funny comedy.
(This show runs in repertory with “Don’t Dress For Dinner.) Marlowe's Musings

For tickets call 720-880-8727 or go online at thisisspotlight.com

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Tempest
Colorado Shakespeare Festival: 6/7 -  8/10

Geoffrey Kent’s direction of  “The Tempest” is by far the best of any Shakespearean play at CSF in recent memory. One has to go back a decade or so to Joel Fink’s direction of “Twelfth Night” to find anything that compares!
     Kent Homchick's scenic design is a dazzling piece of artistry that evokes a ship’s graveyard.
     The lighting by Shannon McKinney is better than one could ever expect in any outdoor venue.
     The costumes by Clare Henkel are a constant delight.

                           
                                                             Simon Hilton as Prospero
     
     Although Peter Simon Hilton may appear to be a bit young for the role of Prospero, his portrayal is magnificent. Hilton’s stage presence and lucid reading of Shakespeare’s words illuminate this great character with brio.
     Vanessa Morosco is adorably spirited as Ariel. Her feats of ‘ariel’ gymnastics twirling on bolts of pure white fabric while suspended above the stage and all the while reciting Shakespeare’s words are stunning.
     Kyra Lindsey is vivaciously girlish as Prospero’s daughter, Miranda.

                                                  Benjamin Bonenfant and Kyra Lindsey

     Benjamin Bonenfant portrays Miranda’s love, Ferdinand with vigor and dynamism.
     In some productions the scenes involving the supporting characters in Shakespeare’s play are glossed over with actors who are only passable. As a result the scenes in which they appear become tedious.
     Not so in this production. The magic is everywhere present and each and all will have to forgive this reviewer for not mentioning them all. The run is half way through now and one hopes that this review will reach anyone and everyone who may be able to still get a ticket.
     With hummingbirds sailing over the audience and a full moon rising over the Mary Rippon Theatre, nothing could upstage the magic that was played out in Geoffrey Kent’s production of “The Tempest.”

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


For tickets go online at coloradoshakes.org or call  303-492-8008
Tarzan, the Stage Musical
The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities: 7/11 – 8/3

                                    Brian Ogilvie as Tarzan
     If you’re looking for great theatre for the family this summer you can’t go wrong with The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities’ production of "Tarzan, The Stage Musical." Based upon the Disney movie, this show is perfect viewing for all ages.
      Adapted from the story “Tarzan of the Apes” by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the show has music and lyrics by Phil Collins and a book by David Henry Hwang.
     Director Gavin Mayer has done a great job of continuing The Arvada Center’s reputation for excellence in musical theatre with his superb casting as well as his enlistment of the great technical artists one finds in abundance at this venue.
     Brian Ogilvie is the perfect casting for Tarzan.  Besides having an eye-popping physique, this artist acts, sings and swings (well, it’s true!) with the best of em.

                                      Brian Ogilvie as Tarzan and Jennifer Lorae as Jane


     Jennifer Lorae is a great Jane. She exudes the ebullient joie de vivre and cheery goodness required of any Disney heroine.  Her beautiful voice and stunning stage presence make one hope to see her name in many more programs in the future.
    Colin Alexander is brilliant in the role of Porter, Jane’s father.
     Local favorite Shannan Steele is most memorable in the role of Kala, the female gorilla that mothers the young Tarzan after he and his family are shipwrecked off the coast of Africa.
     Burke Walton does some great work as Clayton, the great white hunter 'heavy' of the piece.
     Kaden Hinkle’s performance as the young Tarzan is notable as well.
     The lighting design by Shannon McKinney is magnificent.   
So is the choreography by Kitty Skillman-Hilsabeck. The physically demanding role of Leopard is also given vibrant life by Skillman-Hilsabeck.
     There’s lots of fantastic acrobatic swinging on the vines that are everywhere present in scenic designer Brian Mallgrave’s primeval jungle.
     Musical Director David Nehls outdoes himself in bringing out all the best in Phil Collins’ musical composition.
     The story telling is primal and makes one feel as if he were turning the pages of one of those great classic comic books of yesteryear!


For tickets call 720-898-7200 or go online at arvadacenter.orgMarlowe's Musings 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dead Man Walking
Central City Opera: 7/5 -7/25

                     Left to Right: Michael Mayes and Jennifer Rivera 

      Central City Opera’s “Dead Man Walking” is the most profoundly spiritual production to have graced any Colorado stage in memory.
      Michael Mayes who portrays Joseph de Rocher is a force of nature who was born to play this role. By turns Mayes imbues the role with disgust, self-loathing, animal fear and finally … love.
     Jennifer Rivera plays Sister Helen Prejean.  The coquettish Rosina in last season’s excellent production of  “The Barber of Seville,” Rivera inhabits the character of this compassionate and courageous nun with a humble and unassuming dignity. Her emotionally charged soprano soars.
Maria Zifchak plays de Rocher’s mother with an astounding mezzo that will crack your heart open. (Ms. Zifchak will play the Mother Abbess in CCO’s “The Sound of Music” later in the season.)
     Jeanine de Bique (Sister Rose) has a voice that is as smooth as a piece of lustrous silk.
     Although Heggie’s musical influences have been listed as Britten, Debussy and Copland this reviewer was also aware of the influence of Gershwin and Bernstein. This score is the kind that flies through your nervous system straight to the heart.
      Terrence McNally who wrote the Tony-award winning books for the musicals “Ragtime,” “The Full Monty” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman”, pens the libretto’s compelling lyrics.
     On opening night conductor John Baril wielded a masterful baton that drove the work forward and forged a fiery unity between the orchestra in the pit and the singers onstage.
  Ken Cazan’s stage direction is stunning for the most part. However… Cazan’s choice to present the crime in half-light and silhouette while lauded by some, may feel just a little bit restrained to others.
     David Martin Jacques’ lighting design is transcendent.
     There are moments in theater and opera that have a reverential feel of communion while sitting in the audience. At the completion of the opera the stillness of the audience was palpable. How much better would it be to let that awe surround than shake us immediately into the thunder of a curtain call. Though richly deserved our applause takes us out of the spell too quickly. 

For tickets call 303-292-6700 or go online at CentralCityOpera.org.Marlowe's Musings




Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Marriage of Figaro
Central City Opera: June 28 – July 22
   L-R:  Edward Parks, Michael Sumuel, Anna Christy and Sinead Mulhern

Central City Opera’s production of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” is an embarrassment of riches.
     Sometimes one has to search for the one or two outstanding vocalists in an opera that’s as vocally daunting and demanding as this one. However…the production now on stage at Central City Opera is the exception to this rule. The artists portraying Susanna, Figaro, the Count and Countess, Cherubino and Don Bartolo are all exceptional both vocally and in the acting.
          Michael Sumuel’s CCO debut as Figaro gives assurance that he is truly a star on the rise.

                                     Anna Christy

     After hearing Anna Christy’s Emily in last season’s “Our Town” one knows how incredible this artist’s soprano will be. Christy is a magnificent Susanna. Likewise Sinead Mulhern’s vocals as the Governess in CCO’s “The Turn of the Screw” assured us that her  mezzo would stun in her portrayal of the Countess. And it does.
     Tamara Gura’s CCO debut in the trouser role of Cherubino did not disappoint either. This artist is blessed with a great set of pipes and her playful acting of the role is endearing.
     Edward Parks’ baritone makes his singing in the role of the Count truly memorable.
Michael Sumuel(Figaro) and Anna Christy(Susanna) 

     Thomas Hammons’ (Don Bartolo) rich bass-baritone stuns.
     Besides having an outstanding cast of singers there is also that scrumptious Central City Opera orchestra! The baton of conductor Adrian Kelly kept the musicians in the pit and the singers onstage in perfect sync all evening. Mozart’s score has never sounded better!
     The costumes(Susan Kulkarni) and scenic design(Madeleine Boyd) depicting Spain in the 1920s are spot on.
     My one criticism is that one has to wait longer than one might wish between some scene changes. Small criticism for an otherwise spectacular evening at the opera.

For tickets call 303-292-6700 or go online at CentralCityOpera.org