Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella”
Boulder’s Dinner Theatre: 5/19 - 9/1
Every summer Boulder’s Dinner Theatre presents a production, which is not only family friendly but is aimed at an audience of children. In the recent past they have presented such classics as “Peter Pan.” This year they are producing Rodgers and Hammerstein’s lovely and tuneful “Cinderella.”

      Alicia Dunfee does a great job of directing the show. Dunfee has chosen to give it a slower pace than one is used to at this venue. It’s perfect for the children. This is a show that is shorter than usual and allows for Mom and Dad to get the kids home to bed at a decent hour. The show is delivered with broad strokes of humor. The choice to have the ugly stepsisters played by two actors in drag adds great good humor.

        The show is storybook pretty with fine costumes (Linda Morken), lovely scenic design (Amy Campion) and superb lighting (Rachel Dugan.)

     Jenna Bainbridge is utterly adorable as Cinderella. Her vocals are exceptionally well done and her stage presence is enchanting. Ms. Bainbridge has been seen in lots of PHAMALy productions including Belle in that company’s version of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.” Here she lights up the stage with an unforgettable performance.

     Matthew Dailey is a handsome Prince Christopher. Mr. Dailey’s vocal prowess is remarkable and his acting superb. The Denver audience has seen him in countless productions growing up in the Denver theatre including young Guido in “Nine”and most recently in The Arvada Center's "Chess."
     The duets sung by Ms. Bainbridge and Mr. Daily, “The Sweetest Sounds,” “Ten Minutes Ago” and “ Do I Love you Because You’re Beautiful?” are musical theatre ice cream.

     Director Dunfee does double duty in this production. She also does a fine job of portraying the Fairy Godmother singing the ever-popular “Impossible.”

     Playing against type, Shelley Cox-Robie has been cast as Cinderella’s Stepmother. Cox-Robie plays everything brilliantly. However… one does question casting an actor with such a brilliant aura in this role. Her exquisite face and physiology speak volumes … and what they speak is not anything related to one’s childhood memories of this character. 

     Tracy Warren and Wayne Kennedy give us a nice counterpoint with their portrayals of Queen Constantina and King Maximillian respectively.
     Bob Hoppe and Matthew Peters portray the ugly stepsisters with a klutzy gauche self-absorption that is hilarious. They give the audience’s funny bones a good whack with their sidesplitting rendition of “The Stepsisters Lament.”

     Seth Caikowski manages to give an appealing reading to the part of Lionel, the royal herald. His singing of “The Prince is Giving a Ball” is hilarious. It was also a nice touch to have Lionel spraying the glass slipper with Lysol after each stepsister partially inserted her stinky foot.

     Neal Dunfee’s music direction of the luscious Boulder’s Dinner Theatre stage band delivers those classic Richard Rodgers tunes superbly.

     One must not forget to mention the incredible menu provided at this venue. There is a special offering of Mac and Cheese for the sticky fingered gang! For the step parents (just kidding!) BDT offers the hugest most succulent Shrimp Cocktail as well as Prime Rib (I get it gently mooing!) to die for. And just so you know... BDT’s kitchen won a big prize for their Key Lime Pie. The fully stocked bar can provide Mom and Dad with all the adult beverages they require.

Tickets for Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella are on sale now. Prices start at just $35, and include both the performance and dinner served by the stars of the show. All tickets for opening weekend (Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20, 2012) are just $35. Family 4 Paks, starting at $25 per ticket, are also available for performances dated May 23 through July 8, 2012. Group rate tickets and season subscriptions are available for all performances throughout the year. Call (303) 449-6000 or log on to www.bouldersdinnertheatre.com for reservations and/or additional details about the show.
Boulder's Dinner Theatre presents four Broadway-quality musicals each season, and has been recognized locally and nationally for theatrical excellence. BDT’s 34th year concludes with Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella May 19 - September 1, 2012. BDT's 35th season begins on September 7, 2012 with Avenue Q, followed by 42nd Street, the regional p

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

              THE PRODUCERS

                    Left to right:Bernie Cardell, Nicole Campbell and Tim Howard

Town Hall Arts’ production of Mel Brooks’ “The Producers" is the kind of production that makes one wish they (Town Hall) could cancel all the shows on their calendar and just run this show forever!

It’s a miracle that the roof is still attached after Bernie Cardell’s outrageously successful tour de force as the hilariously disreputable Broadway producer, Max Bialystock. OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!
        Bernie Cardell as Max

As directed by maestro Bob Wells the show is a non-stop laugh riot from curtain to curtain. The musical for which Mel Brooks snatched up Tonys in every musical theatre award category except for Best Supporting Actor, is deliriously funny.

Tim Howard is superb as Leo, the book-cooking accountant Max enlists to be his partner in crime. 

Nicole Campbell’s blonde bombshell of an Ulla, is a knockout!

Besides the sidesplitting work done by  Cardell, there are supporting actors who will split your sides and demolish your funny bone.

                                  Left to right: Eric Mather and Bernie Cardell
 They are: Eric Mather as Franz, the pigeon raising hack of a playwright bent on rewriting History to show Adolph Hitler in a positive light;
                 Left to right: Tim Howard, Christopher Willard and Bernie Cardell

Christopher Willard as Roger Devries, “the worst director in town” who winds up playing Der Fuehrer as a flaming gay twit;

Liam Speros, Roger’s adoring boyfriend, who can traverse the stage in one balletic leap to answer a doorbell chiming “I Feel Pretty.”

 Kevin Doherty is hysterically funny as a by-the-book head accountant whose entire physiology threatens to explode when an employee arrives late for work.

Kelly Katz’s choreography catapults this cast of conniving conmen into a kaleidoscope of colorful collusion. All alliteration aside, this is choreography that will astonish you! Brava!

Tina Anderson’s jaw-dropping scenic design is a wonder. 

Seth Allison’s lighting design’s outstanding. 

     Left to right: Bernie Cardell and Tim Howard

Linda Morken’s costumes are a stitch!

Donna K. Debreceni’s music direction is, as always, the stuff of dreams!

Run to get tickets!

Town Hall’s production opens May 18, 2012 and runs through June 17, 2012. Show times are Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. (& 2:00 p.m. on 6/2) & Sundays at 2 p.m. (& 6:30 p.m. on 6/10).

Ticket Information:
Reserved seat tickets are currently on sale, priced $21.00-$38.00 at the Town Hall Arts Center box office, 303- 794-2787 ext. 5 (M – F, 1 – 5 pm) or on-line at www.TownHallArtsCenter.com . In a continuing effort to make plays at Town Hall Arts Center accessible to all, ten value seats at $10 each will be made available on a first- come-first-served basis one-hour prior to each published curtain time.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Left to right: Rick Yaconis, Carol Bloom, Stephen Seibert and Rebecca Morphis

Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge” is being given a superb reading at The Edge Theatre on West Colfax at Kipling.

     Angela Astle is to be praised for her fine direction of this classic. If you want to feel what Arthur Miller wants the viewer to feel in this show, you can’t go wrong taking a ride over to The Edge Theatre. It’s in your face theatre in this intimate space, which has been set up in the round this time.

     Rick Yaconis is outstanding as Eddie Carbone, the guy whose love for his immediate family gets in the way of his helping out his countrymen immigrating here to find work and rescue their starving families back in Italy. (Tell me this is not a timely production reflecting current political immigration battles.)
     Carol Bloom turns in a thoroughly watchable performance in the role of Eddie's wife, Beatrice.

     Rebecca Morphis’s portrayal of Eddie’s daughter, Catherine is most memorable. Morphis is a dark-eyed beauty who, is blessed with a real talent for the stage. There’s one scene in which Eddie, Catherine and Beatrice are having dinner at home.

     It was pretty realistic what with all the spaghetti and meatballs and such. However… in my memory of briefly having married into such a family I seem to recall that there would have been a lot more thumb biting and chin brushing at the dinner table. Oh wait… the son-in-law wasn’t there yet. I’m just sayin.’

     Stephen Siebert  plays the cute young immigrant named Rudolpho, whose masculinity comes into question because of his “sense of humor.” Siebert is visually just right for the role and does a mostly good job in the acting thereof. Unfortunately his Italian accent slides into Eastern Europe and the Ukraine from time to time.

     Eddie thinks Rudolpho is gay because he likes to sing around the apartment house and down by the docks. He’s afraid that Rudolpho only wants to marry Catherine so he can become a citizen.

     At first I didn’t think that Ryan Goold was going to be able to fulfill the requirements for the role of the immigrant, Marco. He started slowly and built this character beat by beat. By the time he thrust himself into the final melee with Eddie, the steam building up under his pressure cooker lid blows off and the spit flies.

     Verl Hite is the lawyer, Mr. Alfieri. As narrator and the voice of reason in Miller’s play, Hite does well.

     After the outstanding work done at The Edge Theatre this season it is to be noted that this venue has made a great leap.  One recalls the lines Marlon Brando got to slur in “On the Waterfront.” Before Yaconis, Ionoff and Astle came on the scene this little venue may have been looked upon as if it were “a bug.” Now with these three artists at the helm The Edge Theatre has become “a contender.”

     This evening of theatre comes with high recommendations from this reviewer’s desk.

     Hurry to get tickets.

The Edge Theatre
“A View From the Bridge”
What happens when you love your family too much?
May 4- June 3
Fri./ Sat. and Monday, Apr. 9 at 8:00 p.m.; Sun. at 6 p.m. (No performance on May 20)
Tickets are $20.00 adult; $15.00 Students & Seniors; $12 on Mon., May 14
303-232-0363 or online at www.theedgetheater.com
The Edge Theater, 9797 W Colfax Ave - Lakewood, CO 80215

Monday, May 14, 2012



Imagine that there was a portal through which you could experience the anguish and the bliss of the creative process in a great artist’s consciousness. Then imagine that you've been given the key to that portal and are able to enter in and share the heartbreak and triumph of the creative work. Now imagine that that portal was a stage production in which you were guided by superb direction, brilliant acting and stunning technical work. Next imagine that that production is the pinnacle of the theatre season. It is. It’s Curious Theatre’s production of John Logan’s “Red.”  Logan’s script is a stunner. It’s rich, dense and utterly engrossing. If you happen to be a student of Art History and love it as much as you do the Theatre, you will be transfixed, transported and ecstatic.

    Christy Montour-Larson’s direction is OUTSTANDING.  It’s the very best direction of the season. She somehow makes it possible for the viewer to see Art from multiple perspectives as if he/she were seeing it through a multi-faceted crystal while feeling it through the artist’s heart and mind. Outstanding!

Lawrence Hecht (courtesy of Curious Theatre)

Lawrence Hecht turns in an enthralling performance as Mark Rothko, the renowned abstract expressionist from the 1950s. This superb actor gives us an absorbing look at Rothko’s ego, frustration and passion. Hecht has performed in everything from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to Martin McDonough’s “ A Skull in Connemara.” This performance is a magnificent tour de force. 

Benjamin Bonenfant (photo credit: Michael Ensminger)

   Benjamin Bonenfant is unforgettable in his brilliant portrayal of Ken, the young assistant who moves from artistic ignorance and being emotionally stuck in a traumatic moment of his own past, to the artistic confidence and self-awareness gained by his close proximity to the master at work. (Mr. Bonenfant’s performance as Claudio in Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s “Much Ado About Nothing” was the most brilliant to have been experienced by this reviewer in memory.)      

Lawrence Hecht and Benjamin Bonenfant    (photo credit: Michael Ensminger)

The lighting design by Shannon McKinney is her best work since she gave us  those edible colors for “Inventing Van Gogh.” Susan Crabtree’s scenic design is a wonder. Will Burns’ sound design provides a powerful sonic underscoring. Thanks to Christy Montour Larson’s clear-eyed and sensitive direction there is a balance of all the theatrical elements such as to create the most congruent and satisfying evening of theatre this season. You owe it to yourself to get tickets.

Not to be missed.

Performance Schedule and Times:
Thursday - Saturday; 8 p.m.
Sunday; 2 p.m Curious Theatre Company
1080 Acoma Street
Denver, CO 80204
For tickets call 303.623.0524 or go online at curioustheatre.org

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Germinal Stage Denver 

The script of Germinal Stage Denver’s “The Misanthrope” is Moliere by way of Richard Wilbur. Mr. Wilbur translates the text with its essence in mind and keeps the rhyme intact. To this reviewer that means: Heaven on Earth! Moliere without the rhyme is like eating French toast that’s been dipped in the batter of egg and milk but not been fried. Ecch!!!!!!!!
This rhymed Moliere is the kind of French toast one gets as dessert!!!!!!! Scrumptious!

No powdered wigs, bustles or beauty spots! This contemporization of “The Misanthrope” by Richard Wilbur is a wonder. It not only holds to the true spirit of Moliere’s original, it rhymes like a dream. It’s reality therapy by way of eighteenth century France in which honesty and plain dealing once trumped the etiquette and the flattery of the Sun King’s court.

Directed by Ed Baierlein, Germinal Stage Denver’s current production of Moliere’s “The Misanthrope” is, in zee wordz of zee Franch, (remember “Indiscretions?”) “Ann Kruh Dee Bluh!”

Leroy Leonard(above) and Terry Burnsed ( below)

Terry Burnsed passionately puts forth an intense delivery of Alceste’s outrage at the hypocrisy of Society.  His performance is one of the finest on stage this season. Burnsed’s rage explodes both physiologically and verbally in the reading of this renowned character. His performance puts one in mind of that of Peter Finch who won the Oscar for Best Actor in the 1976 Sidney Lumet film “Network” wherein the big time anchorman Howard Beale raged, ”I’m mad as Hell and I’m not going to take it any more.” One might wish to gently say, “Temper, temper,” to the actor who seems to be raging from his soul and not just reading lines. It is to be remembered that the veins stood out in Peter Finch’s forehead just like they do in Mr. Burnsed’s. The ears got just as red. The blood pressure spiked as seemingly high! Finch, who won all the awards for Best Actor in a dramatic film, didn’t live to receive his Oscar. We appreciate the passionate reading … however … we shall have no health crisis onstage!!!!!!!  (“Moderation in all things!”) But I digress.  Mr. Burnsed’s portrayal astounds!

 Leroy Leonard is a fine Philinte. His delivery of the lines that reflect Alceste’s Rochfoucauldian 
cynicism back to him are clearly read and hilariously delivered.

 Julie Michalak’s scantily clad Celimene is just a hair north of a squeaky gangstah’s moll in her delivery. Always in control of Alceste’s uh … heart, she is the only one who can maneuver him out of his over-the-top reactions to the human frailties – mainly flattery – which enrage him in Aspen and in “Hickenlooper Land.”Ms. Michalak has an exceptional command of the role. 
                                                                    Terry Burnsed and Julie Michalak

Eric Victor’s Oronte is magnificent! This actor has the task of being eviscerated by Alceste when the poor man gushes a poetic ode to the contrary misanthrope. Very funny work indeed!
      Left to right:  Eric Victor, Leroy Leonard and Terry Burnsed

 As DuBois, Alceste’s butler, Mark Moran continues his career of outrageous underling, walking the fine line between fawning servant and madhouse loony. His wall-eyed, spluttering fool of a servant, who doesn’t know if he’s doing a goose step or a turkey trot, is the very picture of someone who has to live constantly under the gun of a boss so incessantly honest about everyone  - warts and all!

Randy Diamon and Sam Gilstrap

A very good show but not “LAY MEE ZAY RAW BLUH!”

Go for Mr. Burnsed’s outstanding portrayal!

Germinal Stage Denver, located at West 44th Avenue and Alcott Street in Northwest Denver, presents
This is the third production of the theatre’s 38th season.
   Performances Friday (8:00, $21.75), Saturday (8:00, $23.75) and Sunday (7:00, $19.75) through June 10th.
Visa, Mastercard, and Discover accepted
For reservations for both productions or further information
             call the Germinal Stage Denver box-office at  303.455.7108

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Arvada Center for the Arts (Produced in collaboration with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival)

                                            Timothy McCracken as Malvolio
                       Rachel Fowler, Josh Robinson, Geoff Kent and Kate Berry

Philip C. Sneed has cast Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” impeccably and peppered it with delicious landmines of laughter. Rachel Fowler delivers a sublime Olivia. Geoff Kent is a dashing Orsino. Kate Berry is a superb Viola/Caesario. Jake Walker is a feisty Feste in fine voice strumming away at his balalaika. Logan Ernstthal is a floridly flatulent Sir Toby Belch. Josh Robinson turns in a very fine performance as Viola’s twin brother, Sebastian. Leslie O’Carroll provides sterling character work as Maria, Olivia’s waiting-gentlewoman. The opening scene, which is in many productions a complete wash was read passionately by Ms. Berry and Timothy Orr, who stepped in for Stephen Weitz as Antonio on the evening this reviewer was in attendance. Timothy McCracken - the son(s) in Curious Theatre’s “A Number” - is a despicably sanctimonious Malvolio. Splendid work! It helps to remember that the sanctimonious Puritans who, in Shakespeare’s day – as well as in our own! - All needed to be cross-gartered were constantly causing the theatres to be closed. Director Phillip Sneed’s directorial touches lean into the Dionysian pleasures with a bit of a naughty and sometimes raunchy enhancement. These Bacchanalian touches provide bright contrast to Malvolio’s contained and gagging self-righteousness. One might wish, however, that this old warhorse of a play had a bit of a friskier pacing. Perhaps it was the long workweek speaking, but once Malvolio gets his comeuppance, the rest of Shakespeare’s play always seems to drag. One also can’t help but wonder if Olivia’s eyesight is failing mistaking Mr. Robinson for Ms. Berry. Nevertheless … Mr. Sneed’s fine directorial work here is aided in no small part by the technical staff at Arvada Center. Brian Mallgrave’s excellent set design, Shannon McKinney’s lighting and the incomparable Steve Stevens’ sound design all figure in prominently. The sound of the creaking ship mast, crashing waves and thunder created the shipwreck at the top of the show brilliantly. Clare Henkel’s costumes put us smack dab in the middle of Albania, which the program tells us was called Illyria back in the early 1800s. This collaboration between the Colorado Shakespeare Festival Company and The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities is a huge success.
Go for the laughs!
Arvada CO – The Arvada Center in collaboration with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival (CSF) will open William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, or What You Will, a Comedy on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s Producing Artistic Director, Philip C. Sneed, is directing the show. Twelfth Night will run in the intimate 220 seat Black Box Theater May 1 – 27. Previews are April 27 – 29 at 7:30pm nightly. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30pm, Wednesday at 1:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2:00pm. Talkbacks will be offered Friday, May 11 after the 7:30pm show and Wednesday, May 16 after the 1:00pm show. Ticket prices range from $25 (previews) - $47 for prime seating. To order tickets call 720-898-7200 or go online to www.arvadacenter.org