Thursday, May 30, 2013

Long Day’s Journey into Night
Germinal Stage Denver: 5/3 – 6/9
                        Erica Sarzin-Borrillo  
     Eugene O’Neill was awarded the 1937 Nobel Prize in Literature and the Pulitzer Prize posthumously for ”Long Day’s Journey into Night.” It’s an autobiographical play in which O’Neill unveils the family secrets of his devastatingly dysfunctional family. All of these characters are chained to their pasts. Their dashed hopes are fodder for the disillusionment, depression and despair that O’Neill describes in his play. Their inability to forget and forgive fences them in as much as drug addiction and alcohol.
     It’s long! Four acts including two ten-minute intermissions! And it’s dark serious drama that’s harrowing and disturbing. Even so there is a euphoric aspect granted a lover of theatre who is privileged to see a truly great production of a great work such as this one.
     Erica Sarzin- Borrillo is luminous as Mary Tyrone. Her performance gives us a meditation on the devastation reeked upon a family because of a woman’s addiction to the medication prescribed for her by her physician. The subsequent loss of self in a foggy sea of memories allows her a return to childhood, which disallows her presence in the lives of her loved ones.
     As Mary’s husband James, the tight-fisted patriarch of this clan, Ed Baierlein presents a rock solid portrayal of this man who stubbornly clings to his wallet even in the face of health issues with the younger of his two sons. Stephen Kramer draws upon a deep wellspring of stage memories in describing Tyrone’s dissolute actor son James.

     Zachary M. Andrews’ sensitive portrayal of Edmund Tyrone the character representative of O’Neill as a young man here embodies the struggle to be true to his own artistic sensibilities in the midst of the melee.
      Zachary M. Andrews and Erica Sarzin-Borrillo

     Director Baierlein succeeds with the use of layered dialogue as no other director in town. The first time I became aware of his talent in this regard was in his astonishingly well directed production of “Hurly Burly” in 1986 when Germinal was still in the space downtown.
       This reviewer has seen numerous versions of “Long Day’s Journey into Night” including one in which the pacing was so slow a woman dozed off and crashed to the floor.
      You owe it to yourself to experience the greatness of O’Neill’s masterwork in Germinal Stage Denver’s truly grand production.

Germinal Stage Denver, located at West 44th Avenue and Alcott Street in Northwest Denver, presents
This is the third production of the theatre’s 39th season.
   Performances Friday ($21.75), Saturday ($23.75) and Sunday ($19.75) through June 9th.
ALL PERFORMANCES AT 7:00Marlowe's Musings


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Wizard of Oz
Boulder’s Dinner Theatre: 5/18 – 8/31
           Sarah Grover
      When Sarah Grover opens her mouth to sing “Over the Rainbow” you will be over the moon. Ms. Grover is an absolute doll of a Dorothy. You will fall in love with her and her little dog,too. 

     However … Toto did steal one scene in which he ran offstage causing her to rush after him to search for him under the dining tables at which patrons were seated. It was one of those unforgettably charming moments that one only gets at live theatre and the squeals of delight from the children were priceless. Once Dorothy had him firmly in hand the show continued seamlessly.
     Shortly thereafter Dorothy is swept up from her home in Kansas and transported to Oz by the astounding tornado acrobatically twirled and twisted by the very talented Jessica Hindsley and Matthew D. Peters.
Seth Caikowski

     Seth Caikowski’s ferociously funny cowardly lion must have Bert Lahr rolling in his grave. Never has this reviewer seen such comic prowess (or should one say meow-ess?) His performance will have you roaring with laughter. Scott Beyette’s portrayal of the Scarecrow is indelible. His ability to perform the physiologically challenging acrobatics that give us the illusion that he is nothing more than a bag full of straw is phenomenal.
     Bob Hoppe’s Tin Man is most memorable. Decked out in Ms. Morken’s awesome metallic armor Hoppe has never been better. His singing and dancing of “If I Only had a Heart” charms.
Scott Beyette and Sarah Grover
All photo credits: Glenn Ross 

     Barb Reeves cackles her way to glory with gleeful abandon as the Wicked Witch of the West. Tracy Warren’s Glinda glitters and shimmers adorned to her scintillating armpits in sparkling Good Witch sequins.     Joanie Brosseau is superb in numerous roles including Nikko, the flying monkey. Wayne Kennedy turns in an Oz-some performance as The Great Oz and Professor Marvel.
     As the Gatekeeper Brian Norber is one belly laugh after another. You won’t be able to keep your eyes off him as he leads his fellow Ozzians in the singing and dancing of the exhilarating “Merry Old Land of Oz."

     Alicia Dunfee’s topnotch direction and innovative choreography enhance this old warhorse with a freshness and verve that is exhilarating.
     The set designed by Amy Campion dazzles and Linda Morken’s costume design is eye-popping throughout.   The outrageously well-done wig design by Debbie Spaur adds a touch of Broadway that is sometimes missing in musicals in Colorado.
     The inclusion of the Jitterbug scene that was cut from the movie enhances this show immeasurably.
     Every man, woman and munchkin in the land should see it!

Tickets for The Wizard of Oz 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 18 - Sunday, May 19, 2013) are just $35. Group rate tickets and season subscriptions are available for all performances throughout the year. Call (303) 449-6000 or log on to for reservations and/or additional details about the show.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

And then there was nun
Vintage Theatre: May 17 – June 16

     Campy, kitschy and kooky, Vintage Theatre’s “And Then There Was Nun” is a panic!
     She’s got Bette Davis eyes!  Of course I’m referring to that funny, funny actor, Bob Leggett who’s playing Sister Bette in Vintage Theatre’s rollicking new production of “And Then There Was Nun.” Leggett is outstanding as that Bette we all know and adore of “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” fame. Leggett gets loads of laughs just rolling those big ol’ Bette Davis eyes.
     Her sister, Joan (Crawford) is played with tongue in cheek by Shane Delavan.
      Decked out in an ante bellum hoop skirt with tiny four leaf clovers Preston Britten is the hilarious Vivien Leigh of “Gone With the Wind” fame.
Preston Britten and Geri Crawley
                                         All photos by Denver Mind Media
     Geri Crawley is smashing as the incahation of Sistuh Hattie (McDaniel) of the same suthuhn plantatiuhn as Mistuh Britten’s Scahlett.  
     Abby Apple Boes is stunning in her portrayal of Sister Gloria (Swanson.) As the aging star with the bulging eyes always craving her close-up, Apple Boes delivers a juicy performance that’s delicious to the core. 
                    Abby Apple Boes
     Cathy Washburn’s Sister Katherine (Hepburn) gets high marks as well standing out among these “loons!” (Sorry!)
      In fact the whole cast has gotten into the habit of being deliriously out of control as they portray this convent full of the aging Hollywood Sisters of Saint Andreas. Directed with a light touch and a quick pace by Peter Hughes, this offering is a comedy directed at anybody who loves vintage movies and has even one funny bone in his body.
   The cast of "And Then There Was Nun"

Richard T. Witter’s and Bruce W. Gilray’s play is a send-up of Agatha Christie’s book and subsequent screenplay. As directed by Mr. Hughes and “fleshed out” by this cast of Hollywood nun-stars, the show twinkles and shines!  The script sticks to the bare bones of Christie’s murder mystery as one nun after another meets the grim reaping hand of “Mother Paramount.”  The very funny script also mirrors Neil Simon’s script for the 1976 “Murder by Death” in which a pun-slinging all star cast of famous literary detectives met their maker at the hands of a maniacal Truman Capote.
      I defy you, dear reader, to find all the references to the classics of treasured cinema. There are so many of them that you will not believe your ears. Trust me, dear reader. It’s laugh-filled to say the least!
Vintage Theatre presents
"And Then There Was Nun"
May 17 – June 16, 2013
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2:30 p.m.
$25 ($20 advance)
303-856-7830 or online at
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

God of Carnage
Curious Theatre: 4/25 – 6/8
     In recent seasons Curious Theatre has sometimes failed to entice this reviewer with its decisions about which plays to produce.  Probably well-intentioned decisions have depended on how much was in the coffers balanced by the desire to help young or struggling playwrights. However… when Curious gets to the linch pin of their season… as in “Red”  or “God of Carnage" the company sparkles and shines. 
     Yasmina Reza’s “God of Carnage” is a powerfully well-written piece.  It’s wise beyond words and speaks volumes about one of the primary reasons for violence on our playgrounds as well as reminding us of the rampant narcissism that pervades our society.
        Even with its land mines exploding with comic schtick director Chip Walton manages to provide his audience with a balanced, ordered and exhilarating evening of theatre.
        The very fine ensemble includes: Karen Slack, Dee Covington, Timothy McCracken and Erik Sandvold. McCracken gets to play one of the most annoying characters in memory. (A cell phone is involved.)
        This production should show well at the Henrys and you, dear reader, would do well to show up for an evening with “The God of Carnage.”

Curious Theatre Company, 1080 Acoma Street, Denver, CO 80204
Regular run: $18 – 44         
The Box Office is located at 1080 Acoma Street, Denver
303.623.0524 or online at

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dividing the Estate
Arvada Center for the Arts: 4/30 – 5/26
     The Arvada Center’s production of “Dividing the Estate” is a thoroughly enjoyable evening of theatre. The magnificent direction is by A. Lee Massaro! Ms. Massaro should be in the director’s chair always in this town. This director has cast the show impeccably and paced the show at such a clip that the audience is rapt throughout.
     The stunning cast includes the likes of the divine Anne Oberbroeckling as the stubborn matriarch, Mark Rubald as the drunken brother, Sharon Kaye White as a greedy daughter and the incredible Russell Costen as a hilariously loquacious black servant. 

                                      Anne Oberbroeckling and Russell Costen

Rachel Fowler is brilliant.  Michael McNeill stuns! Director Massaro has also very wisely enlisted the talents of Clare Henkel (costumes), Brian Mallgrave (scenic design) and Jacob M. Welch (lighting design.)
     If one were to compare this play to cinema he might say that it’s sort of an odd amalgam of Eric Von Stroheim’s early masterpiece, “Greed,” and Shepperton Studios’ wacky take on avarice called “The Wrong Box.”
     “Dividing the Estate” is an amusing study of a dysfunctional family letting its penchant for avarice hang out all over the place.  It may not be Pulitzer Prize winner and Oscar winner Horton Foote’s most artistically satisfying work, but you won’t even get a hint that that might be true with the outstanding Director Lee Massaro at the helm.Did I mention that she’s a GREAT director? The show comes with high recommendations from this reviewer’s desk.

Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday at 1:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m.  Talkbacks will be offered Friday, May 10 after the 7:30 p.m. show and Wednesday, May 15 after the 1:00 p.m. show. To purchase tickets and for additional information go or call 720-898-7200. Marlowe's Musings

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Shadow Box
The Edge Theatre Company: 4/19 - 5/19

Paul Page and Brock Benson

     Michael Cristofer’s “The Shadow Box” was the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner for Best Play in 1977. Rick Yaconis has directed a fine production of Cristofer’s play in the brand new space housing The Edge Theatre Company at Teller and Colfax.
     The matrix for the play is the observation of three terminally ill people living in cabins on the grounds of a hospital. Joe, Brian and Felicity are the three patients.
     Paul Page is superb as Brian, a gay man who, when visited by his former wife, attempts to keep up appearances with a smiling mask that’s slowly slipping to the tragic. Patty Ionoff is brilliant as Paul’s ex-wife, one of the most floridly annoying characters you may ever encounter in a play. Brava! Brock Benson’s portrayal of Mark, Brian’s gay lover, is outstanding.  His ability to communicate to us as audience the steaming rage of a man who is being encroached upon by this insufferable woman is phenomenal. Page and Benson’s acting duet describing their emotional meltdown is indelible and unforgettable.
     Michelle Grimes plays a daughter who is unable to release her mother to the inevitable. Carol Bloom shines as Grimes’ character’s dying mother who’s choosing to hang on to life because of lies and cruel hopes about a deceased daughter’s imminent return.
     Marc Stith plays a man who finds it difficult to face his eventuality and express the truth to his son and wife. Haley Johnson gives us a sensational characterization of his devastated wife. Paul Escobedo shows great promise in his portrayal of their son, Stephen.
     As the interviewer, Kirk Montgomery provides stunning voice over work as the detached voice of medical science. Although this omniscient and omnipresent character is never seen the questions expressed in the methodical observation of his experiment provide exaggerated contrast to the humanity of these traumatized patients and their families.
     The scenic design by Remigio S. Velez II includes the exterior of a rustic cabin, as well as a backyard and one cabin’s interior. His set gives this intimate venue the illusion of having a sprawling stage. It’s phenomenally well done. However … the size of the set sometimes makes the eye unsure of which way to travel especially when two areas are illuminated as one scene ends and the next begins.
     This play allows us to feel the anguish of people who are unable to understand what’s killing them. This was before there was even the prognosis for what was soon called “Gay cancer,” and which was soon to be known as AIDS. It’s a compassionate and saddening glance into the rear view mirror across the decades of death and devastation this epidemic spawned.

The Edge Theatre
"The Shadow Box”
April 19 – May 19
Fri. / Sat. @ 8 p.m.; Sun. @ 6 p.m.
Tickets: $20 adult / $16 student & seniors
*303-521-8041 or online at
*The Edge Theatre, 1560 Teller Street, Suite 200, Lakewood CO 80214. Free Parking.
Note new phone number and address