Sunday, May 31, 2015

Urinetown, the Musical
Equinox Theatre Company: May 15 - June 6

                                           Jim Hitzke 

     Equinox Theatre's “Urinetown,The Musical,” now on view at The Bug Theatre, is an entertaining evening of theatre full of very fun tunes, that sends up everything from “Les Mis” to “Fiddler on the Roof.”
     This production is directed by Colin Roybal who also choreographed and did the lighting and scenic designs. Roybal is a fine theatre artist. However…this time he may have been spreading himself a little too thin. In this production it’s Roybal’s choreography that’s best.
     The casting is uneven. Leading with fine performances are Shahara Ray, Carolyn Lohr, Jim Hitzke and David Gordon. The acting of the other cast members might be described as the Indiana Jones variety - all over the map.  
      The SRO audience didn’t seem to mind though.
     Shahara Ray’s work is well known in the community as being consistently well done. This artist has appeared in the 3rd National tour of “Les Miserables” as well as performing the part of Grizabella with the German Company of “Cats.” Here she  plays Penelope Pennywise, the keeper of the keys to the urinal, with gusto.
     Ms. Lohr is outstanding as Hope Cladwell. Every beat of her performance is studied and well executed.

     Jim Hitzke is well cast as Caldwell B. Cladwell and sings “Don’t Be the Bunny” with panache.
     New to this reviewer was David Gordon in the role of Officer Lockstock.  A confident stage presence, good comic timing and a fine voice make this actor’s name one to search out in future programs.
     As Bobby Strong, newcomer Kalond Irlanda is at his best singing “Run Freedom, Run.”Marlowe's Musings

The Bug Theatre is at 3654 Navajo St., Denver, CO 80221

 For tickets go online to and 720-984-0781

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Spotlight Theatre Company: 5/16 – 6/13

    Finally a thriller that thrills!
Left to Right: Brandon Palmer and Drew Hirschboeck

     Patrick Hamilton’s play, “Rope” is the one on which the 1948 Alfred Hitchcock film was based. You know the one that’s hyped as being completed in one continuous camera shot. If you haven’t seen it, you need to. But only after you see this play!
     It's this reviewer's interesting point of view that the stage version works better for a number of reasons. Not only are the characters in the play in close proximity to a certain item causing suspense to escalate, but we as audience are, too. What’s more the playwright has given us information that the play’s characters must struggle to discover.
     The play is inspired by the real life 1924 Leopold and Loeb murder case.
     Cardell’s direction expertly maneuvers our growing awarenesses of the characters’ suspicions in such a way as to create huge tension.
     Led by Drew Hirschboeck, Brandon Palmer and Todd Black, the cast is a good one.
     Mr. Hirschboeck is exceptional in his ability to express the covert deviltry of Brandon Shaw; this devious character who believes a high IQ makes one immune to the dictates of morality. Brandon Palmer’s paranoia as Phillip Morgan is palpable. Todd Black takes on the part of Rupert Cadell, played by James Stewart in the film, in good form. Having seen the film and not read the play one wonders whether the cane is really necessary for his character.
     The supporting cast includes such fine talents as Sheri Wright and Claude Diener as well as Gina Walker, Jaclyn Walsh (a recent transplant from the jolly old theatre garden across the pond) and Michael Martinkus.
     Director Cardell, who also created the excellent scenic design, is assisted by the very fine sound design of Luke A Terry and costumes by Rosemary Smith. Vance McKenzie does the lighting of the opening scene- so crucial to the set-up – with true expertise. Marlowe's Musings

Spotlight Theatre Company presents
May 16 - June 13
Fri/Sat and Mon., June 1 at 7:30 p.m. /Sun at 2:00 p.m.; Saturday, June 13 at 2p.m.
Tickets are $21 Adult/ $19 for Students/Seniors
Group rates available.
720-880-8727 or online at
The John Hand Theater, 7653 E. 1st Place, Denver, CO 80230
Free parking.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Young Frankenstein
Town Hall Arts: 5/16 -6/14

                                       Left to right: TJ Hogle and Cory Wendling

     Cory Wendling is a talented musical theatre actor. I enjoyed his performance very much as Rooster in Town Hall Arts’ production of “Annie” last season. What was missing in this production was the requisite crescendo of hysteria. 
                                                     Annie Dwyer as Frau Blucher

     Elsewhere director Nick Sugar’s casting and pacing is of the outrageously impeccable variety. 
Annie Dwyer is a formidable stitch as Frau Blucher (horse whinny.)  May the theatre gods provide us with much more of her phenomenal talents! 

Mark Shonsey reprises the Igor he created for the Vintage Theatre production (Marlowe Award) with polish and flair. 

Eric Mather is very funny as Inspector Hans Kemp. 

TJ Hogle is outstanding as the monster. Made up all blue in the face thanks to Todd Debreceni’s monster makeup magic -and with shoes that make him even taller than he is in real life- Hogle stuns.  

Cashelle Butler‘s performance as Elizabeth, the part played by Madeleine Kahn in the Mel Brooks movie, is passable in Act One and magnificent once the monster has his way with her. Surprised? 

Rob Janzen is hilarious as the ghost of Dr. Victor Frankenstein.

     Tina Anderson’s scenic design with its creepy laboratory and forest of cut-out trees is her usual professional work.

 The tracks laid down by Music Director Donna Kolpan Debreceni are exceptional. 

The lighting design by Seth Alison is spot on.Marlowe's Musings

For tickets go online to Frankenstein/ or call 303-794-2787.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

 "'Night, Mother”
Vintage Theater: May 15 – June 14

                                L-R: Emma Messenger and Haley Johnson
                                Photo credit to DenverMind Media

     Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Night Mother” is being given a soul-shattering reading by two of Denver’s finest in the intimacy of the Bond-Trimble Theatre at Vintage Theatre in Aurora.
   Imbued with profound sadness, this tale of a young woman’s last hour is sensitively directed by Billie McBride.
     Emma Messenger delivers a nuanced portrayal of a mother brought face to face with a situation she never could have imagined to be possible. Haley Johnson gives us a heart-rending portrayal of a lost soul who has shut every door in her life…except one.
    What a perfectly matched pair. As portrayed by these two actresses the mother-daughter relationship is riveting.
     The play is written in such a way as to fascinate with its craftsmanship. Anyone studying the art of playwriting will find it used as an example for everything from developing subtext to creating profound catharsis. Every aspiring playwright should see this exemplary production of Martha Norman’s play.
     The naturalistic scenic design by Douglas Clarke creates the exact right milieu for these characters.  Even before the show begins one realizes the hours these two women have spent in this richly detailed kitchen.
     It is to be hoped that the show will attract a great many theatregoers.  Suicide is the 13th greatest cause of death in our country.
     The reason this play is so important is that it makes us question what we can do to alleviate the pain of those who suffer.

Vintage Theatre presents
"'Night, Mother"
The exploration of the final hour in the life of a young woman who has decided that life is no longer worth living.

May 15 - June 14
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2:30 p.m.; Thurs., June 11 at 7:30 p.m.; Sat., June 13 at 2:30 p.m.
$28 ($24 advance) 
303-856-7830 or online at
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010Marlowe's Musings

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

UNMarried in America
Vintage Theatre: 5/8 – 6/21
     “UNMarried in America” is a deeply moving play.
     K.D. Carlson’s play deals with a reporter for the courts who is doing the transcription work for the 2010 Trial for California’s Prop 8 that ruled that same-sex marriages were unconstitutional.

                          Left to right: Kelly Uhlenhopp and Missy Moore

     Three stories are intertwined in the play that involve a gay male couple, a lesbian couple and a high school student coming to terms with his sexual orientation. Juxtaposing the narratives of these couples with the backdrop of the straight relationship of the court reporter and her boy friend makes for a thought-provoking evening.
      Wendy S. Moore’s sensitive direction has paced the play in such a way that the evening flies by. She elicits fine performances from this very versatile cast. Moore has also designed the set for the show in such a way as to create the feeling that we as audience are judge and jury to the proceedings.
     Christian Munck infuses his character with a light-hearted charm and confidence.  Missy Moore is powerful as a wife who discovers that her life is not what she expected it to be. Jeff Jesmer and Kelly Uhlenhopp deliver top-notch portrayals as well. Zack Nick plays the young gay student with a quiet naturalness.

                                      Left to right: Christian Munck and Zack Nick

    The story of what happened with Prop 8 is not presented from the point of view of the authorities but through that of the same sex couples who crave the right to marry: a privilege so taken for granted in mainstream America.
    Madison Kuebler’s sound design and Alexis K. Bond’s lighting add immeasurably to the proceedings.
    Timely and provocative, Carlson’s play does not disappoint.

Vintage Theatre presents
“UNMarried in America”
The case for love is now in session.
May 8 - June 21
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2:30 p.m.; Thurs., June 18 at 7:30 p.m.; Sat., June 20 at 2:30 p.m.
$28 ($24 advance) 
303-856-7830 or online at
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010Marlowe's Musings