Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sense and Sensibility
The Stage Theatre: April 5/ May 26

The Denver Center Theatre Company's production of "Sense and Sensibility, the Musical" is visually magnificent.

     Marcia Milgrom Dodge’s direction of “Sense and Sensibility, the Musical” is astounding! This artist has such a command of the essentials of stage movement and choreography one is swept joyously into the new musical based upon Jane Austen’s novel. The acting and singing is outstanding across the board. Stephanie Rothenberg and Mary Michael Patterson are both stunning as the Dashwood sisters. Rothenberg’s “We Must Have Sense” sets the tone of the piece superbly. Patterson’s “That’s Not Love” is quite simply marvelous. Especially enjoyable are Ed Dixon’s Sir John and Ruth Gottschall’s Mrs. Jennings. The character work done by Mr. Dixon and Ms. Gottschall succeeds brilliantly in punctuating the romantic melodrama.  Robert Petkoff stands out in remarkable fashion especially in his singing “Don’t Try to Change Her.”
Ruth Gottschall
                                               Mary Michael Patterson and Robert Petkoff

     The costumes by ESosa are eye-popping period beauties. Allen Moyer’s scenic design is magnificent. The lighting created by James F. Ingalls is outstanding. Music director and conductor Paul Masse has done yeoman’s work keeping his orchestra in the pit in perfect alignment with the vocals of the brilliant actors onstage. Happily the orchestra does not overwhelm the lovely vocals. However… the sound of the orchestra is sometimes a bit thin.  The opening scenes of Act One are of such a perfect nature in all ways that one expects this work to carry us forward to show’s end on the tide of its excellence.
     Unfortunately the musical’s book has trouble keeping us rapt due to its all too honorable attempt to keep all these characters and their intricate relationships true to those in the novel. It is always a daunting task to translate any work from one medium to another.  In this reviewer’s not so humble opinion it may be necessary to sacrifice a few of the songs replacing them with dialogue that moves things along more quickly.
     While the music, lyrics and choreography of the chorus’ songs such as “In Society” exhilarate some of the other songs linger a bit too long. Telescoping a few of these could help. The entr’acte is a dismal failure. It neither makes us recall the glorious tunes of Act One nor does it make us anxious to continue the journey. It should be reworked with an ear to auditory exuberance. If there were one song that one might wish to see eliminated it’s “Cry Baby Cry.” Its lamentable largo lament works in the way a lullaby might on a crowd late in an overlong show.
    If the writers are not afraid of an editor’s red pen, this musical could turn out to be a huge Broadway hit. 

It’s just common “Sense.”

Performance times:
April 11, 7:30pm
Tue-Thur: 6:30pm
Fri-Sat eve: 7:30pm
Sat-Sun mat: 1:30pm
May 5, 12 & 19 eve. 6:30pm
Tickets | Tours
303.893.4100 | 800.641.1222
TTY: 303.893.9582
Hours: 10am-6pm Mon-Sat

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