Saturday, November 28, 2015


Arvada Center:  11/24 – 12/23

     Arvada Center’s production of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” is a warm and wonderful musical Christmas card that’s filled with bright holiday tunes and feel-good charm.
     Gavin Mayer directs this old warhorse with a sure hand. His casting of the principals has brought in three artists from out of town who are simply marvelous: Ben Michael (Bob Wallace), Cody Williams (Phil Davis) and Erica Sweany (Judy Haynes.)  Cody and Erica are at their best in “The Best Things Happen When You’re Dancing” and “I Love a Piano.” Ben gives us a dazzling version of “Blue Skies” that’s gloriously choreographed by Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck.
     Betty Haynes is portrayed by local diva Lauren Shealy. This artist is a complete delight throughout. Her singing, dancing and acting make us wish to see her onstage much more often. Ms. Shealy’s singing of “Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me” as well as “Sisters,” her comic duet with Ms. Sweany, are two of the show’s highlights!
     Paul Page’s portrayal of the General should be decorated with several stars.
     Sharon Kay White is brilliant as Martha Watson, the general’s secretary.
     Tim Howard is a hoot as the snoring man in “Snow.” He completely disappears into the role of the doddering Ezekial.
     Matt La Fontaine, Heather Marie Doris, Rae Leigh Case, Piper Lindsay Arpan and P.Tucker Worley are just a few of the fabulous local actors you can expect to see in the ensemble.
     With Divine choreography by Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, eye-popping costumes by Chris Campbell and superb musical direction by David Nehls, this is holiday fare the whole family will enjoy.
For tickets go online at or call the box office at 720-898-7200Marlowe's Musings

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Tuna Christmas
Miners Alley: 11/13 – 12/20
      L-R: Seth Maisel and Christian Mast
      Above-Below: Christian Mast and Seth Maisel
       Photo credit JR Cody Schuyler

     By now every lover of comic theatre must have seen  “Greater Tuna” at least once. This reviewer has seen it many times. The comic send-up of red neck southern “culture” penned by Ed Howard, Joe Sears and Jaston Williams is hilarious.  “A Tuna Christmas” is the second installment, which is followed by “Red White and Tuna” and “Tuna Does Vegas.”   Unfortunately as we have discovered in nearly every medium sequels seldom deliver the goods as well as the original.
     “Greater Tuna” set the bar pretty high. In all its incarnations two men portray a fantasia of over twenty characters of both sexes and multiple ages. All your favorite characters are there: Dee Dee Snavely, Vera Carp, Petey Fisk and Bertha Buemiller head the list.
     Christian Mast and Seth Maisel, the two men who portray this town-full of redneck eccentrics are gifted comic actors. One does however, wish for a bit of modulation in the vocal amperage, as well as a slower suhthuhn drawl in certain vignettes.
     If you’re looking for a non-traditional play for the holiday season this may be the ticket.Marlowe's Musings

Miners Alley Playhouse
Nov. 13 - Dec 20
"A Tuna Christmas"
It is 24 hours before Christmas, and all comic hell is about to break loose.
Fri/Sat @ 7:30.p.m. Sun. @ 2 p.m.; Thurs., Dec. 3, 10, 17 @7:30 p.m.
$23 Adult
Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden, CO 80401
303-935-3044 or online at

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Ellie Caulkins Opera House: 11/7, 11/10, 11/13 & 11/15

Aida is one of the most satisfying evenings of opera produced by Opera Colorado in the last several years.
     Giuseppe Verdi’s “AIDA” shows an Opera Colorado that’s on the rise.  Over the past few years there have been more misses than hits for this company and hopefully this production is the harbinger for great times to come.
     Conductor Ari Pelto led the Opera Colorado Orchestra through Verdi’s grand composition with style and flair. The Opera Colorado Chorus sounded great. 
     Stage Director David Gately used the Ellie’s stage to superb effect for the grand scenes. His pacing was the kind that makes the evening fly by. 
     Lighting Design by Lucas Krech gave us bright sunny primary colors in this gilded Egyptian setting once the sun had been ominously – and wisely - eclipsed at the top of the opera.
     Alexandra Lobianco’s Aida provided us with a soprano that was heartbreaking. Tenor Carl Tanner was in fine voice as Aida’s paramour, Radames. Catherine Martin’s Amneris was beautifully sung. Marco Nistico’s Amonasro and Harold Wilson’s Ramfis were also memorable.
     The scenic design by Erhard Rom and Costume Design by Martha Hally provided courtesy of Virginia Opera gave the production a classy look. Rom’s scenic design gave us a visually spectacular mash-up of classical pyramidal lines reinforced by contemporary industrial metal.
    It appears that the company is receiving more funding from its underwriters. Its choice to share costumes and scenic design from Virginia Opera was a wise decision indeed.
    In the days when James Robinson was the artistic director there was generally a sharing of sets and costumes with opera companies on the east coast and in Texas. Those operas were spectacular. It is to be hoped that the choices being made in this vein again will be a harbinger for a future of fantastic opera productions by Opera Colorado.

For tickets call: 303-468-2030 or go online at Marlowe's Musings

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

In 1975 EQUUS received the Tony Award for Best Play as well as the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Foreign Play. The 1977 film starring Richard Burton and Peter Firth was followed in 2009 by a Broadway revival, which starred Daniel Radcliffe.
     On the surface Equus appears to be about the coming of age of Alan Strang, a 17-year-old boy, whose neurotic and confused obsession with horses and religion has led to his committing a violent crime.
     The story that unfolds involving his treatment is however, as much that of Dr. Martin Dysart, an impotent child psychiatrist who while wishing to experience a life filled with passion spends all his time ‘curing’ passionately driven mental patients like Alan of their ‘pain’ and leading them to the bland worship of "the god of the Normal.”

L-R: Paul Borrillo and Spencer Althoff

     Paul Borrillo, who stunned Denver with his portrayal of Uncle Peck in Curious Theatre’s “How I Learned to Drive,” portrays Dysart, a man who is burned out both personally and professionally.
     Dysart dreams of the vibrant life of mythological ancient Greece, but finds his own life barren and empty. Borrillo invests this character with a hunger to revive his love for life that’s palpable. Aided in no small part by Peter Shaffer’s excellent writing, Borrillo stuns as he sleuths out the underlying wounds, which are the source of Alan’s vibrant and worshipful mythology.
     Spencer Althoff portrays Alan Strang with a visceral zeal. The onstage relationship Borrillo and Althoff create as doctor and patient builds steadily from a fearful uncommunicative first meeting to one of trust that allows for the unleashing of the fiery intensity of Alan’s rage as he comes to terms with his hideous crime.

                      L-R: Tait Peterson and Spencer Althoff
     Margie Lamb and Clint Heyn portray Alan’s mother and father respectively.
     The scenic design by Michael Duran is created out of unadorned plywood boards. All the locations are merely suggested within the set’s rough-hewn circumference.
     The lighting by Jen Orf, sound by Brian Freeland and costumes by Brenda King are mostly all spot on. King’s choice of drab beiges and tans complement the rustic look of the wooden benches and stable fence quite well. One does, however wonder if Alan’s innocent girl friend Jill, (Victoria Copeland) would really wear sheer black lingerie under her street clothing.
     Plagued with many misfortunes including a change of directors prior to opening one must applaud the success of the production team at the Avenue Theatre.
     A tip of the hat to director Warren Sherrill for taking the reins and providing his considerable directorial expertise to the proceedings.
     Exhilarating and disturbing, EQUUS is a must see for all who like serious dramatic theatre.

                (The play includes adult situations and nudity.)

Equus runs through November 21, at the Avenue Theater, 417 E. 17th Avenue (between Logan and Pennsylvania).  Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p m. and one performance on Sunday, November 15 at 6:30 p.m.  Tickets are $26.50; $15 on Thursday, Oct 29 and $12 on Sunday, November 15.  Go to or call 303-321-5925.passionMarlowe's Musings