Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sweeney Todd
Ignite Theatre: 10/19 - 11/11
                                                                 Travis Risner
                                                                  Boni McIntyre        
     Ignite Theatre’s production of “Sweeney Todd,” now on view at Aurora Fox Arts, has some sterling  performances. Travis Risner and Boni McIntyre do a superb job with the macabre barber and baker at the heart of the show. The pinnacle of their work is the hilariously dark singing of “A Little Priest.”

     Sara Closson Metz is a wonder singing “Green Finch and Linnet Bird.” Her singing of the role is utterly enchanting. One hopes to see and hear her soon again upon the Denver stage.
     Tim Howard is outstanding in the role of her sailor love, Anthony. Mr. Howard has proven himself time and again as being one of the best young male actors in musical theatre in the Mile High City in such shows as “The Producers” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” both of which were produced at Town Hall. Here his singing of “Johanna” is magnificent!
    Adam Perkes’ Pirelli is yet another in a string of superbly crafted manic characterizations which includes a well acted and well sung Mordred in the very fine “Camelot” Bernie Cardell directed for Performance Now Theater.
     Matthew Gary is fine in the acting of Tobias. It will be wonderful when his vocal talent matches his acting skills. “No one’s Gonna Harm You” suffers.
     Owen Nyland is strikingly well cast as Beadle Bamford. This is the best work this actor has done onstage thus far.
     Judge Turpin is played with superb  masochistic panache by Shane Delavan. “Pretty Women,” his duet with Mr. Risner is ear-pleasing indeed.
     Jeff Jesmer's scenic design provides us with an ingeniously constructed set that includes a very effective chute from the barber's chair as well as a very well designed set piece giving us the illusion of the oven into which Mr. Risner pushes Ms. McIntyre.
    Visually the characters are too pretty really. Perhaps one might think in future of artists such as
maestro Todd Debreceni regarding the addition of a bulbous nose here and there or an unsightly wart. These characters need a dash of that which makes us believe they've already had, if you will forgive the reference, a "Hard Knock Life."
   The musical direction by Midge McMoyer Smith is very fine indeed. Likewise most of Nicholas Roseth's conducting works admirably. It's a daunting challenge to pace the Sondheim proceedings in a synchronous manner that balances a quartet of young vocalists with that of the orchestra.
     There are sparks, flares and flashes of talent. However the show never quite caught fire on this opening weekend performance. One fully expects the following performances will grow and self transform into the bonfire of insane genius intended by Mr. Sondheim.
Attend the Tale!!!!!!!!!!

Call 720-362-2697 for tickets.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sweet Tooth
Buntport Theatre:  10/19 – 11/17

          Erin Rollman in "Sweet Tooth"

     “Sweet Tooth” is a trip to the dentist that could use some more laughing gas.
     In the opening scene of Buntport Theatre’s newest creation an eccentric agoraphobic woman, played by the always-brilliant Erin Rollman, is seen trying to make herself believe it’s cold when in reality it’s hot as hell. One of her disciples sprinkles her with water and holds up an electric fan to assist her in her deluded musical affirmation that she is cold when in fact her home is blistering hot.
     Her disciples, played by Denver favorites Hannah Duggan and Brian Colonna, live with her in this home, which is entirely red and looks a lot like this reviewer’s memory of the red room in the movie “The Masque of the Red Death.”
           Her cult following will do anything to please her even going so far as to have their own teeth pulled when she has a tooth ache. That’s because their mistress prefers “the representation” of dental work to the actual existential manifestation of having her own tooth extracted. 
     The mistress is fond of sweets and expounds things like: “I can live with the pain as long as I have my taste” and “Don’t drink the Kool Aid.” Get it!  There is a lot of mugging and posing interrupted by intermittent bursts of song. The musical composition by Adam Stone is pleasant enough. It may remind you, as it did this reviewer of the repetitive phrasing of John Adam’s score for his opera, “Nixon in China.” His earlier work with Buntport in “Seal. Stamp. Send. Bang” (not seen by this reviewer) has been referred to as having a “synth pop sound.”
     Superb comic Erik Edborg gets the thankless role of a dentist who makes house calls.
     The piece is an extended hallucination that if one puts an existential premise in a blender along with intermittent references to contemporary music while adding an overlong homage to absurdist theatre tedium will not prevail.
     This reviewer was ready to leave at Intermission, but discovering that there was a second act returned dutifully to his seat for the somewhat shorter grand finale. To paraphrase the playwright(s) the effect was something akin to “comparing apples to orchards.”
     The work that Buntport does is nearly always deliciously toothsome. Here the imaginative and overlong injection of theatrical Novocain just brings on the yawns.

See it if you must.

October 19-November 17
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00
Two Sundays: November 4th and 11th at 3:00
Two pay-what-you-can performances: Thursday October 25th and Monday October 29th (both at 8:00)
Tickets are $16 ($13 for students and seniors)
Opening and closing nights are $20 and include food and drink receptions
717 Lipan Street in Denver's Santa Fe Arts District

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Firehouse Theatre Company: Oct 5 – Nov 3
             Left to right: Johanna Jaquith, Clint Heyn, Nils Swanson, Sam Garvin and Chris Coughlin

     Chilly, creepy and a very fun evening of theater, Firehouse Theatre Company’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” is a fine community theatre production.
     This reviewer is always interested in seeing a new play, original or adaptation by playwright Jeffrey Hatcher. His adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale is fascinating. For years readers and theatergoers attending adaptations of this work have believed that the story penned by Stevenson is about a person who has two sides described in terms of a light and dark shadow. The difference in Hatcher’s adaptation is that we are given to believe that the dark shadow of Dr. Henry Jekyll is made up of multiple personalities or possessions if you will.

     Nils Swanson is the perfect casting for the brooding presence of Dr. Henry Jekyll. The trajectory of Swanson’s career in the theatre has almost always dealt with illuminating the dark shadow of the soul. Over the years he has been seen in and Don Becker’s “Lucifer Tonight,” Lida Project’s “Merchant of Auschwitz” and more recently “True West” at The Denver Victorian Playhouse.

     In this production director Brian Brooks casts the four possessing entities described by Hatcher with a young cast: Chris Coughlin, Clint Heyn, Sam Garvin and Johanna Jaquith.

     Sara Coughlin’s very evocative musical choices leads us into the show as well as bridging the scenes in auditory terms.

    Jeff Jesmer’s scenic design is done in muted colors with a muddy vortex of spiraling energy that’s presented upon the floor of the playing space.

           Hatcher’s adaptation, presented here in its regional premier, may not be what one might describe as a polished production. Nevertheless... Hatcher's approach to the material is fascinating.

          Worth a peek.

Oct 5 – Nov 3
Fri./Sat. at 7:30 p.m.; Sun. October 15 and 29 at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $20 Adult / $18 Student & Seniors
John Hand Theater/Colorado Free University
7653 East First Place, Denver, CO
Reservations at 303-562-3232


Visiting Mr. Green
Cherry Creek Theatre: 10/5-10/28

                                                        Joey Wishnia as Mr. Green

     I just got back from seeing “Visiting Mr. Green” at The Cherry Creek Theatre in the Shaver-Ramsey Showroom. The show was held a few minutes due to a “technical difficulty.”
     No one cared though. The show is being given such an outstanding production all was forgiven and forgotten long before the first scene was over.
     This is far and away the best direction to have been done by Pat Payne. The attention to detail, casting and pacing of the show is impeccable. Brava!
     Joey Wishnia creates the most endearing character of the season in his work in the role of the elderly retired dry cleaner, Mr. Green.
    Cajardo Lindsey is absolutely brilliant as Ross Gardiner, a 29-year-old corporate executive who nearly hit Mr. Green as the old man wandered out into traffic. Since his character was driving too fast and frightened Green enough that he fell down, the judge makes Ross go weekly to the old man’s apartment and help him out as community service.
                  Left to right: Cajardo Lindsey and Joey Wishnia

     Both Mr. Wishnia and Mr. Lindsey have a gift for communicating their characters’ hearts and souls with a naturalness and a depth of feeling that places them among the very best in our community.
     The friendship that grows out of this unfortunate incident is heart warming and deeply moving.
     Both men find themselves revealing parts of themselves that they had not intended to make known in the course of events that transpires. These secret issues unveiled by Mr. Green and Ross Gardiner as their relationship deepens are potent both politically and socially in today’s world.
     Jeff Baron’s recently updated play is remarkably well written. It is heart opening in its profound and universal embrace of all of humanity regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.
     Richard Pegg’s scenic design for Mr. Green’s dilapidated apartment is spot on.
     There’s a fine sound design by Luke Allen Terry            and great lighting by Brian Miller. If one might paraphrase Polonius, costume designer Rose Mary Smith provides “apparel which doth always proclaim the men’s” characters superbly.
     This production comes with the highest of recommendations from this reviewer’s desk.
Run to get tickets!

Cherry Creek Theatre presents
"Visiting Mr. Green” 
October 5 – October 28Fri/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, October 8, 2012

Picasso at the Lapin Agile
Aurora Fox: through 10/14

 Left to right foreground: Ben Cowhick and Jack Wefso
Left to right background: Tupper Cullum and Steef Sealy

       John Ashton has directed a very fine production of Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” on the main stage over at Aurora Fox Arts. It’s only playing through this weekend so you’ll have to scratch whatever is on your calendar and get tickets now. Ashton has a spectacular cast and its playing to huge audiences.
    This reviewer prefers Ashton’s previous productions of this show like the one at Berardis simply because Martin’s play seems to be more suited to a more intimate venue. Don’t tell that to all the happy patrons at The Fox though. They all had a rollicking good time.
     The cast includes such Denver favorites as: Rhonda Brown, Jack Wefso(Einstein), Tupper Cullum,  Kurt Brighton, Eric Mather(Schmendiman) and Benjamin Cowhick(Picasso). It’s a dream cast to be sure!
     On the night this reviewer was in attendance Kurt Brighton’s Sagot stole the show creating waves of laughter whenever he opened his mouth to speak.
    Wefso, Brown, Cowhick and Mather garnered their share of the laughter as well. However ... sometimes the scripted onstage laughter seemed forced due to the need to project into the huge auditorium.
     Brandon Philip Case’s set and Jen Orf’s lighting add immeasurably to this fine evening of theatre. Sharon McClaury’s costume design is very fine indeed.  The costume she created for Ms. Brown is spot on!
     Jonny Barber’s performance in the role of “the Visitor” is a hoot and a half! Awesome work! 

    You owe it to yourself to see this show.

    Not to be missed.

The Aurora Fox
City of Aurora - Cultural Services Division
9900 E Colfax Ave
Aurora, CO 80010


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sweet Charity
Town Hall Arts: 9/14 – 10/14

      In a season when you may be expecting scary Halloween shows or ones which are Thanksgiving turkeys, Town Hall Arts has created for you a Valentine!
Brianna Firestone
      Nick Sugar’s direction and choreography are two of the reasons that this happened. But the greatest of these is Charity. That is to say that the main reason to see this show is the casting of a heart-opening Charity named Brianna Firestone. You will feel very lucky to have seen this lady perform this role. 
     Ms. Firestone’s vulnerability as Sweet Charity is heart opening and heart breaking perfection. Her singing and dancing of “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” and “I’m a Brass Band” light up all of Littleton. When she is onstage with Scott McLean’s Oscar the stage at Town Hall is a great big beating Valentine with Nick Sugar as the pace maker. (Sorry!)
     David Ambroson, Kia Chapman and Mark Lively turn in performances that are most memorable.
     This production, unlike any other of this show so far has made this reviewer wish to sit down with Fellini’s “The Nights of Cabiria” and see how Giulietta Massina embodied this character so well that Neil Simon felt compelled to write this musical’s book.
     Ronni Gallup’s acting, singing and dancing in the part of Nikki, one of Charity’s hardened and cynical colleagues at The Fandango Club, is superb.
     As Herman, Eric Fry delivers one of my very favorite songs of this show with true musical theatre excellence and panache.  It is “I Love to Cry at Weddings” near final curtain.
     Tina Anderson’s superb scenic design gives us a claustrophobic stalled elevator and a great ferris wheel (it made me feel a little dizzy, Tina. Sure glad you didn’t make it swing a little bit. I might have launched linguini.) Jonathan Scott-McKean’s lighting design, John Rivera’s sound design and Linda Morken’s costumes create a unity of time and place that is amazing! Sugar’s choreography of “Rich Man’s Frug” is outstanding. Musical Director Donna Debreceni's onstage band rocks the Fandango Room like you will not believe it! La Debreceni is of course on keyboards. Scott Alan Smith(Bass/guitars) Larry Ziehl(percussion) and Bob Rebholz(Reeds) add immeasurably to what, at other venues might have been just er tracks! AWESOME!
Nearly everything in this production work!
     Why director Sugar chose to slow down the hip-hoppin’est number in the show to thirty degrees below Alpha is beyond me. “The Rhythm of Life” is intended to thrust us back into Act Two with outrageous abandon. Here we laconically drift in a fog of pot and downers in what needs to have all the speed-driven power of a circus-full of turned on pseudo-religionist druggies all packed into the same room.
Aside from that the show is Magnificent.
Run to see it!

Friday, September 14, 2012 and runs through October 14, 2012. Show times are Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. (& 2:00 p.m. on 9/29) & Sundays at 2 p.m. (& 6:30 p.m. on 10/7).
Ticket Information:
Reserved seat tickets are currently on sale, priced $20.00-$40.00 at the Town Hall Arts Center box office, 303- 794-2787 ext. 5 (M – F, 1 – 5 pm) or on-line at . Discounts are available to students and seniors. 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.Marlowe's Musings

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Edge Theatre; 9/21 – 10/21

     The program cover for “Boom” now on view at The Edge Theatre shows a comet racing towards the earth. The show is described as “A comedy about the end of the world and the evolution of the one  night stand.” Hard to imagine that this odd combination will work! Right? But it does. Under the direction of Scott Bellot a cast of three joins forces to create a grid from the overlay of these two blueprints.
                        Left to right: Royce Woods, Suzanna Wellens and Samara Bridwell

     Well, after all, it’s 2012 and it looks like the scribe who created the Mayan calendar has run out of rock. Or did he? The storyline deals with the meeting of two mismatched lovers at a time of global crisis. Royce Wood(Jules) and Samara Bridwell (Jo) are the two comet-crossed lovers. Suzanna Wellens(Barbara) plays that enigmatic thing that none of us has yet been able to define. For now, let’s say she is a sort of Wizard of Oz-like deity who pulls levers, plays drums and sorta kinda orchestrates the evolution, deconstruction and reconstruction of Life on Earth as we know it.
     So what you have here is a couple of geeky kids lookin’ to play and getting caught in the big “Boom!” There’s a sort of sweet silliness to all of this, but inserted into the proceedings are a lot of things you will have found on  Nancy Leder’s site called“” It's  about the “approaching planet Niburu”  
     I think you will enjoy this show if you just go for an evening of entertainment and don’t expect anything more.
Left to right: Royce Woods and Samara Bridwell
      Being a light junkie, by the time the show got under way this reviewer was pretty well altered by all the mesmerizing brightly hued lava lamps. So maybe you         should take this review with a grain… no…a block of salt.
Go and enjoy!

The Edge Theatre presents "boom”
“Sex to change the course of the world!!”
September 21 – October 21
Fri. / Sat. at 8:00 p.m.; Sun. at 6:00 p.m.
Tickets are $20.00
303-232-0363 or online at
The Edge Theater, 9797 W Colfax Ave - Lakewood, CO 80215

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


     Jeffrey Sweet’s well-intentioned play “The Value of Names” is now on view at the Pluss Theatre in The Mizel Arts and Culture Center.
     Director Richard Pegg can usually pace a show with a desirable rate of movement or progress that entrances and rivets. Here, not so much. The cast is a good one in that all three actors are superb. One, however, is miscast. This is the direction as well.
     The subject matter is something that should grab us by the heartstrings and squeeze unmercifully. However…. Even the writing of these characters feels a bit forced and contrived. The likeliness of the blackguard who black listed a screenwriter feeling ok enough to reenter the life of this man in order to direct his talented daughter? I don’t think so! And that a loving Jewish father would reject her even after she makes an attempt to placate him? Not so much.
     Pegg has designed a fine set that has been simply and pleasantly appointed. Joe Bakun, one of our finest local artists, has done a superb job of painting it. 
     I must say that to see Lisa Rosenhagen onstage this reviewer would resort to just about any measure.
     Likewise Roger Simon has talent that has shone brightly on many of the stages in Denver and Golden.
     Dave Ufford, who is cast as the director who blacklisted Simon’s character back in the day is a fine actor. He is, however, in this reviewer’s not so humble opinion too young for the part.
     The horrors that occurred in the McCarthy era are legend. Because of the heinous and hateful activities of McCarthy and his thugs many great men were ruined and many great talents toppled. A show dealing with this subject should leave you in tears. Unfortunately this reviewer must confess to being a little bit like Morales in “A Chorus Line” when she sings “I felt nothing.”

See it if you must.

     One must add that if anyone would like to feel the tragedy engendered by McCarthy check out Woody Allen’s 1976 film, “The Front” that starred Zero Mostel and Herschel Bernardi.

Pluss Theatre at MACC
350 S. Dahlia St.
Denver, Co 80246
Thurs., Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m. (preview, $12)
Thurs., Sept. 13, 20; Oct. 4, 11, 25, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 8, 15, 22, 29; Oct. 6, 13, Nov. 3, 8 p.m. Sun., Sept. 9, 23, 30: Oct. 7, 14, 2 p.m; Sun., Oct. 21, 1:30 p.m; Sun., Oct. 28, 2:30 p.m; Sun., Nov. 4, 1 p.m.
Tickets: $20—25 Ask about group reserved seating, ticket prices, and post-performance talkbacks for your group of 10 or more. Early bird special: All tickets $20 if purchased by Sept. 1. Talkbacks: Sept. 15, 22; Oct. 13, 28Marlowe's Musings

Monday, October 1, 2012


“Avenue Q”

Boulder’s Dinner Theatre: 9/7 – 11/3

          The cast of BDT's "Avenue Q"

     Remember “Sesame Street?” Well, “Avenue Q” is sort of “Sesame Street” meets “South Park.” When we were introduced to “Sesame Street” we saw lots of fun puppets teaching kids that they were all special and that they’d be able to be and do whatever they wanted to be in Life. Right?  However … as we became adults that “South Park” aspect kicked in satirizing the way Life has of dashing our fondest hopes from time to time. Like that Rolling Stones’ song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” this aspect starts to ring true for the characters of Avenue Q as sort of reality therapy. In a way this is what the musical “Avenue Q” is all about.               
    Like Sesame Street, the show’s creators use puppets, manipulated by visible onstage actors. The music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx respectively are whimsical and fun.  In 2003 this show snagged three Tony Awards including one for Best Musical.  
     The issues these actors and puppets deal with in song and dance include: pornography, racism, homosexuality as well as those universal relationship problems we all face from time to time. It is to be noted that there is full puppet nudity and puppet sex onstage. And it’s howlingly funny! Just remember that this is an adult show and allows you the luxury of a night out without the kids for a change. 
     Boulder’s Dinner Theatre’s production of “Avenue Q” has much to recommend. The cast is superb. 
     Brett Ambler’s portrayal of Princeton, the college graduate who is looking for his “Purpose” in Life is brilliant. 
     Ellen Kaye plays his main squeeze, Kate Monster. You will remember Ms. Kaye from her high-flying Wendy in BDT’s production of “Peter Pan” a couple of seasons back. This time she is outstanding as Kate Monster. 
     Ashlie-Amber Harris debuts at BDT in the role of Gary Coleman. Ms. Harris is well known throughout the Denver/Boulder area for her spectacular set of pipes. She’s done “Rent,” “Pippin” and countless other musicals in the neighborhood and she will astound you every time she opens her mouth to sing. 
     You also get such great artists as last season’s Henry Award-winner Seth Caikowski and BDT favorite Joanie BrosseauOn some nights director Scott Beyette plays Christmas Eve’s boy friend, Brian and on others Brian Jackson plays the role. 
     There’s superb sound design by Wayne Kennedy, great music direction by Neal Dunfee and great lighting by Rachael Dugan. Amy Campion’s set design is spectacular. 
     The puppets created by Cory Gilstrap are magnificent. 
     You’ll laugh along with such great songs as: “If You Were Gay,” “The Internet is for Porn” and “The More You Ruv Someone…the More you Want to Kill Them.” The latter is thoroughly well sung by Marijune Scott and Ellen Kaye
     The show is given a leisurely pacing by director Scott Beyette.

     And don’t forget that great menu! They have everything from Cordon Bleu to Prime Rib.  The Pork Wings taste so good you’ll believe that pigs can fly! (Sorry!)

And keep in mind that the shows that are coming up are: “42nd Street” from Nov 9 to Feb 16, “Church Basement Ladies” Feb 22 to May 12 and “Wizard of Oz” May 18-Aug 31, 2013.
BDT is located at 5501 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder.
For tickets call the box office at 303-449-6000 or go online at