Tuesday, June 26, 2012


     Nick Sugar directs “Love Child,“ currently on view at The Avenue Theater, at a frenetic pace. It’s a head-spinner of a comedic challenge for any two-man cast. Sugar has cast two superb young comedic talents: Stephen J. Burge and Damon Guarrasio. 
     Burge who debuted in 2003 at The Aurora Fox as Seymour in “Little Shop of Horrors” has proven himself a comic genius with many fast paced comedies such as “Completely Hollywood” and “Fully Committed.” 
     Guarrasio, who was an absolute stitch as Marcus Lycus in the recent production of “A Funny thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” at Town Hall Arts, is spectacularly funny here as well. 
     These two actors portray twenty-six characters using only 6 chairs. (No. It’s not Ionesco!) The characters are all quirky and hilariously well acted. 

     It’s a little bit like getting on one of those playground merry-go-rounds that once they get going you just have to hold on til somebody stops spinning it. The closest relative this theatrical animal has to the movies is Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge.” You know. The shot begins on one planet and then ends up a nano-second later in someone’s navel on the other planet… and you see and consciously remember everything in between. You may even feel as though you are having a nine-frames-a-second flashback to one of those Keystone Kops flickers. 
     When the show starts just know that you are off to the races from the get go. One glass of wine and these two fabulous young comics will propel you into a truly altered state.

      Not to be missed!

Weekends through July 7.
For tickets call 303-321-5925 or go online at avenuetheater.comMarlowe's Musings

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Addams Family
The Buell Theatre
6/19 – 7/1

     This reviewer must confess to having gone to “The Addams Family” with rather low expectations. After all, a musical based upon a bizarre television series from the ‘60s did not sound all that promising.
Left to right: Pippa Pearthree, Tom Corbeil,Douglas Sills,Cortney Wolfson,Sara Gettelfinger,Blake Hammond and             Patrick D. Kennedy
     However … “The Addams Family” turned out to be a thoroughly entertaining evening of unabashed theatrical joy. Not so much cloying joie de vivre though. It’s more like a grinning joie de mourir. I’m laughing even as I write this remembering the many hilarious, if slightly morbid, tongue-in-cheek moments.
     The cast is excellent to a man/woman/ghoul and the technical work superb.
     The music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa are utterly delightful providing just the right macabre merriment for this musical.
     The overture is one of the most listenable and engaging in recent memory. Lippa’s score is peppered with tango tempos that really keep the evening moving.

     Sergio Trujillo's lively choreography turns the Danse Macabre on its merry head. Brilliant!

     Songs that will make you want to buy the original Broadway soundtrack are: “When You’re an Addams,” “Death is Just Around the Corner,” “The Moon and Me” and “Move Toward the Darkness.”
     Sara Gettelfinger’s interpretation of Morticia is a deadpan delight.
                                             Sara Gettelfinger (Morticia) and Female Ancestors

    Tony nominee Douglas Sills is a superbly engaging Gomez.
     It’s not a stretch to say that “Pulled” really racks one up for Wednesday (Cortney Wolfson) and Pugsley (Patrick D. Kennedy) in their great duet about sibling torture.

                                        Left to right: Cortney Wolfson and Patrick D. Kennedy

     The show includes a show-stopping scene in which an airborne Uncle Fester (Blake Hammond) courts the lady in the moon.
     When the requisite ‘normal’ parents of Wednesday’s new boyfriend come to dinner there is a great after dinner game called “Full Disclosure”-think George and Martha- which gives Gaelen Gilliland, the normal Mom, a chance to unleash the beast within. Awesome work!
     It’s all macabre merriment that’s a freakin’ hoot n’ a half!
     So as Gomez and Morticia sing... go “Live Before You Die” and see “The Addams Family.”
     All of Denver is dying to get in.

            Don’t even think of missing it!

Buell Theatre through July 1, Tuesday-Sunday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday at 2 p.m. For tickets, visit www.denvercenter.org or call 303-893-4100.david-marlowe.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Legally Blonde
The Arvada Center: 6/12 - 7/1  

 Diabetics beware!

     “Legally Blonde” is a musical designed for those theatergoers with a seriously-“Omigod You Guys!” - sweet tooth.
        It’s a great big fluffy cotton candy pink summer musical that has lots of positive philosophy that’s aimed primarily at an extremely youthful audience that believes that image is at least as important as substance.
         Mature theatre lovers may opt for holding off until The Arvada Center produces “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” this September.
       Actors have been imported for the roles of Elle Woods and her two beaus, Emmett Forrest and Warner Huntington III. These are three fine actors who do a superb job. They are Hayley Podschun, Brett Ambler and Curt Hansen respectively.
     Haley Podschun is cute, talented and perky. Her performance in the role of Elle Woods is outstanding.

Left to right: Sarah Rex (Paulette) and Hayley Podschun (Elle Woods)

          If one is not spoiled rotten - as this theatre reviewer is - by having seen the  Arvada Center's superb productions of such mature works as "Ragtime,""Sunset Boulevard," "Chess," “Les Miserables” and “Miss Saigon” and has a totally awesome, rad and gnarly sweet tooth (can you say bubble gum?), you will enjoy this show.
        Sarah Rex gives us a beautician named Paulette that is outrageously well acted. Her singing of “Ireland” is one of the truly memorable moments in the show. 

       Jeffrey Roark's portrayal of Law Professor Callahan is brilliant! Roark's acting and singing of “Blood in the Water,” was for this reviewer the high point of the evening.
            The fantasia of costumes created for the show by Mondo Guerra is astounding, eye-popping and well, just plain FABOO! Without this artist’s creations the show would be legally bland.
            The comic character work done by Ben Dicke, Matt LaFontaine and Markus Warren is sensational.
           Julia Perrotta, Katie Ulrich, Amanda Earls and Heather Doris spark the ensemble with outstanding character work and singing.

            Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck gives us great creative punch and drive in her choreographer’s vision of the show.

            The actor playing Warner (Curt Hansen) has a nice song describing his overblown male chauvinist ego at the top of the show (“Serious.”) The grey sharkskin suit Mondo created for him is smashing! 

                   Director Gavin Mayer gives the proceedings a snappy pace. 

                           It is no surprise that all the show’s technical work is outstanding! The production values are always outstanding at Arvada Center.

              In this isolated case it's the book, lyrics and music that are eminently forgettable.
           In this reviewer’s not so humble opinion this show is  primarily for the very ‘young at Art.’

The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
6901 Wadsworth Blvd. Arvada, CO 80003
For tickets call the Box Office at 720-898-7200 or 
go online at arvadacenter.org

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Grand Night For Singing
Cherry Creek Theatre:
 June 8 – July 1

 Left to right: Zachary Shannon, Susie Roelofsz, Boni McIntyre, Stephen Day and Angela Mendez

     To quote lyricist Oscar Hammerstein, the musical revue currently being produced by The Cherry Creek Theatre Company at The Shaver-Ramsey Show Room is indeed ‘some enchanted evening.’ 

     What else could it be with a fine director like Bernie Cardell and a cast that boasts such names as: Stephen Day, Boni McIntyre, Susie Roelofsz, Zachary Shannon and Angela Mendez.

     “A Grand Night for Singing” was nominated for two Tony Awards, for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical, and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revue.

     Stephen Day, who has received two Henry Awards for Javert in “Les Miserables” and Max in “Sunset Boulevard”(both at The Arvada Center), has been nominated for this year’s Henry Award for his portrayal of Molokov in The Arvada Center’s magnificent production of “Chess.”
      Day is an internationally sought after musical theatre actor who has recently performed the lead in “The Drowsy Chaperone” in Toronto. You may have heard his exquisite work as soloist with the CSO when Marvin Hamlisch conducted.

     Boni McIntyre has received critical acclaim for her outstanding portrayal of Abigail Adams in Performance Now’s recent production of “1776” as well as for her acting and singing in Miners Alley Playhouse’s awe-inspiring production of Terrence McNally’s “Master Class.”
     All five actors revel in the chance to bring us those glorious old Rodgers and Hammerstein favorites from the golden age of the American musical theatre.
     The arrangements of the forty Rogers and Hammerstein classics in this revue are thoroughly engaging and the accompaniment by Rob Lowe divine.

     These unforgettable songs come from such shows as “Oklahoma,” “Carousel,” “State Fair,” “South Pacific,” “Flower Drum Song” and “The Sound of Music.
     “There are even a few songs from a few shows by this famous duo that are hardly ever seen: “Pipe Dream,” “Allegro” and “Me and Juliet.”
     If you’re looking for a relaxing evening that’s pure unalloyed pleasure and enjoyment you can’t go wrong taking a trip down memory lane with these five fine vocalists and the Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook.

Not to be missed.

Cherry Creek Theatre presents
“A Grand Night for Singing”
June 8 – July 1
Fri/Sat @ 7:30 p.m.:Sun @ 6:30 p.m.
Tickets $30 or $50 for 2
$23 for Groups of 10 +
Shaver Ramsey Showroom, 2414 East 3rd Ave., Denver, CO 80206

Seating is limited

Marlowe's Musings

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sweet Storm
Miners Alley Playhouse:
     “Sweet Storm” is a play unlike anything we see onstage these days. There is an undeniable goodness put forth here that’s just not fashionable any more I guess. It's a breath of extremely welcome fresh air.
     “Sweet Storm” disproves the thought form held so dearly by so many these days that reality is at best a crap shoot and at worst a fearful nightmare.
                             Michael and Rachel Bouchard

     Rachel Bouchard and Michael Bouchard are two  brilliant actors. Their performances here are translucent and in two words: a romantic dream. As newlyweds Boas and Ruthie Harrison, they make us see and feel that although the storm may rage all is well in the world of those in the throes of new love. 
       Intimate and poignant beyond description, they put a sublime tenderness on display here that anyone with amnesia about innocent new love must see to remember.
                    Rachel and Michael Bouchard
      The writing is remarkably and honestly spare. 
Playwright Scott Hudson must be praised in this regard. In many playwright’s hands the simple honesty and goodness inherent in his script would have crashed and burned in the swamps of saccharine and sanctimony.
     Robert Kramer’s directorial skills are well used here. His transparent hand in the proceedings gives free rein to these genuinely brilliant actors.
     Rick Bernstein and Jonathan Scott-McKean have created a sound design that crackles with the stormy electricity being visualized by Scott-McKean’s lightning design.
     Richard H. Pegg’s scenic design, which creates the illusion of a tree house in Lithia Springs, Florida, is his usual professional work.
     This is an ode to the innocent and enduring strength of true love captured at its very beginning. There is no fanfare here. Just innocence, compassion and a simplicity that is utterly enchanting.
See it.

Miners Alley Presents
"Sweet Storm"
The conflict between love, longing and self-preservation fuels the sweet storm between lovers.
June 1-July 8
Fri./Sat. at 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 6 p.m. *(Sunday, July 8 is at 2 p.m.; no 6 p.m. performance that day)
$19.00 - $26.50; senior, student and group rates available.
303-935-3044 or online at www.minersalley.com

Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Avenue (13th and Washington 2nd floor entrance on 13th).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

                           VINTAGE THEATRE 
            As directed by Carol Petitmaire, Vintage Theatre’s “The Drowsy Chaperone” is an utterly delightful and totally hilarious camp riot. It’s an homage to - and parody of - those great old “Vintage” musicals (get it?) of yesteryear.

           In this show a Gay man fights off the blues by revisiting one of his favorite old musicals that he’s rediscovered while going through his records – “Yes! Records!” This character is referred to as “Man in Chair.” More than a narrator, this character becomes the audience’s best buddy as he describes each musical number, the show’s faults and highlights as well as the real lives of the actors who played the campy roles. This character is onstage almost all evening.

     Paul Page plays this man in chair brilliantly with a wide-eyed sense of wonder that is edged with poignant sensitivity. As he listens to the record, informing the audience about every esoteric bit of trivia regarding this show, he draws us in with his infectious love for musical theatre. We as audience fall in love with him while simultaneously being dazzled as this musical from the 1920s comes to life in his apartment.

     The plot of the show involves a young couple attempting to get married. The subplot involves a harried producer who is trying to evade some mobsters posing as pastry chefs who are unhappy about the soon-to-be bride’s leaving the Follies to get married.

     All of the characters in this play are theatrical archetypes of the musical theatre of yesteryear.

     Rachel Turner’s superb rendition of “I Don’t Want to Show Off No More “ has Janet VandeGraaff, the bride-to-be, doing cartwheels and handstands and various other tricks that have to be seen to be believed.

     In “An Accident Waiting to Happen,” the groom, played by Steffan Scrogan, does a lyrical tour of the stage on roller skates while blindfolded.

     One is overjoyed to see the return to the stage of Jimmy Miller in the role of the best man, George.

     The theatre producer, Ƒeldzig is a bigger than life mogul played even bigger than bigger than life by Brian Murray. This is Murray’s best and funniest work to date.

     Leigh Ann Gould performs the part of Kitty, the squeaky chorus girl who hopes to replace Janet in Feldzig’s show. Her very fun performance will very definitely bring up memories of the family known as “The Louds” on “Saturday Night Live”.

     Jodi Brinkman’s comic take on the title character performs “As We Stumble Along,” an hilarious ode to alcoholism, with a song in her heart, an onion in her Gibson and hilarious brio. Ms.Brinkman’s costume by Mr. Craig Bond is an homage to velvet theatre curtains with that sturdy gold fringe so prevalent in the golden age of musicals. As the Chaperone Ms. Brinkman’s superb acting gives us an enormously engaging and escalating ego, which keeps upstaging the bride until she (the bride) is finally pushed right offstage. Brava!

     David Ambroson’s portrayal of the Latin Lothario, Aldolpho, is one of the most intentionally hysterical over-the-top performances of the evening. It’s hard to decide whether you like laughing hysterically at his “My Name It Is Aldolpho” or his performance in the eye-popping overblown and insulting Oriental number, “Message From a Nightingale” at the top of Act Two. Both are inimitably brilliant in the acting.
     One must again mention Mr. Craig Bond for his outstanding costuming of Mr. Ambroson and the others in this scene. The overblown ornamental haberdashery Bond created for Ambroson’s emperor at this juncture in the proceedings is outrageously well done. 
     Deborah Persoff brilliantly portrays the dreamily scatterbrained Mrs. Tottendale with an exuberant  ‘second childhood’-like abandon. Her version of “Love is Always Lovely in the End,” is a wide-eyed vacuous homage to ‘senior moments’ that’s a panic. This actor’s portrayal of this dotty dowager gives us a very early shirt tail ancestor of Sister Amnesia in the “Nunsense” series. Dame Persoff and her employee, Underling (played superbly by Richard A. Cowden) really nail the archetypes.  Who knew Dame Persoff could play the ukelele?

     There is superb musical direction by Mitch Samu.
     Becca Jacobson’s choreography amazes.

                       Not to be missed!

"The Drowsy Chaperone"
June 1 - July 8
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2:30 p.m.
Fri/Sat $31; Sun $25 
303-856-7830 or online at www.vintagetheatre.com
NEW Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010
**Please note new location!

Monday, June 4, 2012



                      The Roast Beef Situation
                            Buntport Theatre

Erin Rollman, Erik Edborg, Brian Colonna, Hannah Duggan and Evan Weissman

     The creativity involved in the conception and execution of Buntport Theatre’s new show, “The Roast Beef Situation,” is inventive genius par excellence. This is no surprise since it has been conceived, directed and acted by some of the brightest comic lights in this theatre community. They are: Erin Rollman, Erik Edborg,Brian Colonna, Hannah Duggan, and Evan Weissman. It is an honor to get to see the works with which these artists are blazing trails of comedy and dram-edy here and now in Denver.

     This latest in a series of comic plays gives censorship a well-deserved comeuppance! And that is why you should go. This piece makes us see how actors and clowns who survive on their audience’s sometimes-fickle good will are often the victims of laws such as the one that caused Carlo Delpini to be thrown into an English jail in July of 1787. Delpini broke the law that forbade unlicensed theatres to use dialogue that was unaccompanied by music. In a moment of weakness he spoke the words “Roast Beef” rather than sang them.

     Censorship has been with us always. This was true at the time of Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. The deposition scene in Shakespeare’s “Richard II” caused more than a little eye rolling and Christopher Marlowe’s work came under the scrutiny of Elizabeth I’s Star Chamber for many reasons. Marlowe barely escaped experiencing its secret brutality first hand.

     At that time theatres were closed by Puritans, and actors blamed for lewdness. (In all honesty one must say that only occasionally were actors to blame for such things.) For the most part the closing of theatres was due to ecclesiastical sanctimony, political power mongering and public alarm resulting in mob panic. Many times these maledictions came about because of the much feared and widespread epidemics. Whether it was the resurgence of the Plague, which was feared by everyone or some other societal scourge feared by those in power such as a political uprising of one kind or another, the afflicted community many times blamed it upon the theatre. 

     The Commedia del’Arte and its presentation is- whether this reviewer is its greatest fan or not - magnificently put forth. In this show the renowned Buntport humor, which so deftly demolishes funny bones, takes a back seat to historical research regarding the persecution of actors and the satirical evisceration of those ne’er do wells who hurt the theatre by living by the letter of ridiculous and nonsensical laws.

     Commedia del Arte is this company’s style of choice in producing this new work. It’s a valid choice and those who find an endless stream of pratfalls and baguette whippings, accompanied by repetitive clangs and whistles palatable will find this aspect of the proceedings delightful. This reviewer has nearly always found the initiation of such theatrical expressions enjoyable. However… after the hundredth repetition thereof he tends to find them tedious.

     That said, one may find exceptional work in the muggings, sly transitions of hairpieces to beard and moustache and many other sly subtleties in the theatricality of the very correct stylistic presentation of this play. The costuming and makeup of the actors in their portrayal of these eighteenth century thespians is superb and indelible. It puts one in mind of the costuming and also the depiction of the facial landscape in films by Federico Fellini such as “I Clowns”, “Casanova” and “Fellini/Satyricon.” 

     SamAnTha Schmitz’s lighting design plays games with the viewer’s subjective and objective points of view. The shifts in her lighting design make one feel as though he were viewing an actual moment in theatrical history one moment and pulled back into a modern theatrical depiction thereof the next. “The Roast Beef Situation” is a blood-rare and gently mooing serving of existential theatrical Truth. 
          See it!
The Roast Beef Situation
Playing Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00
May 18th-June 16th
Two Sunday performances: June 3rd and 10th at 3:00
Thursday May 24th is pay-what-you-can
Industry night to be announced  

Tickets are only $16 ($13 for students and seniors)
Opening and closing night food-and-wine receptions are $20
Great theater doesn't have to be expensive!
For more information:

Sunday, June 3, 2012


     Christopher Durang’s “The Actor’s Nightmare” is the first in a series of classic one-act plays to be presented by Germinal Stage Denver on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

     Steve Kramer, who also plays an executioner drawn from one’s memory of “A Man For All Seasons”, directs the show. Dear reader, I hope that you do not think that this reviewer like Kramer’s character has an axe to grind. Upon the night of first preview Kramer was the only actor to have found his character. The rest of the cast appeared to be six actors in search of a playwright. This is not Pirandello however. It’s Durang.

     It’s nearly three decades since this reviewer saw the superb production of this play for which Kevin Hart received the Best Actor’s award from the Denver Drama Critics. It was done at The (old) Avenue Theatre on Seventeenth Avenue. That production was so funny and so frenetically paced as to have been lodged in this reviewer’s theatre hall of fame for all eternity.

     This production? Not so much.

      Zachary M. Andrews plays George Spelvin, a young accountant, mistaken for an actor, who awakened in his own lucid dream, cannot seem to remember his lines or even which play he’s in. Is it “Hamlet” or ”End Game?” Mr. Andrews has been seen to be a fine actor in numerous productions in the past few years. (He was brilliant as Marchbanks in Germinal’s version of Shaw’s “Candida” and equally brilliant as Simon Harford in GSD’s production of O’Neill’s “More Stately Mansions.” Here he is just coming off some fine work in “The Two of Us” at Miners Alley. However … thus far the actor has not developed any sense of the absurd with regard to frustration, fear or anger at his character’s inability to understand what’s going on and how to respond.

     Unfortunately the only thing about this production that related to the dream state on the night this reviewer was in attendance was the inducement of a state of drowsiness.  Who was it that said, ”Laugh and the world laughs with you. Snore and you sleep alone?” But I digress.  Although this is not generally the case in theatre reviews perhaps the soporific aspect should be taken into account in this “Nightmare.”    
     This reviewer must confess to the fact that he usually runs to a first or second preview of shows at Germinal. For years the shows have been polished well by that time.  Perhaps one should wait a while longer. The only problem here is that with so many theatre productions opening now one runs the risk of missing a show  altogether.

      These are superb actors and Kramer is a very fine director. One is sure that by the time that you are reading this, dear reader, there has been an evolution in the acting. There always is growth and development as a show continues. On the basis of this thought alone can one recommend seeing “The Actor’s Nightmare.”

     You won’t need Sominex afterwards.