Saturday, July 30, 2016


     Bill Cain’s “Equivocation” is an excellent choice for the roster at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, which this year features plays that in this reviewer’s not so humble opinion were not the Best of the Bard.

     Equivocation is a type of double-speak, which in a roundabout way avoids the crux of the matter while allowing one to seem to be in alignment with the issue. While not completely false, it is also not completely true.

      There were, in the time of Shakespeare great religious persecutions, first of the Catholics and then of the Protestants depending upon the religion du jour. Under Bloody Mary the Protestants were persecuted. Under Elizabeth the Catholics. When James I of Scotland took the throne the Catholics were persecuted again.

     So for people wishing to be among the Faithful of their chosen religion it was sort of a tap dance on quicksand in order to do so and keep one’s head securely fastened to his shoulders.

     If it were not for the lengthy nature of this piece it could be a wonderful contrast to Robert Bolt’s unswervingly ethical piece, “A Man For All Seasons.” Whereas Father Henry Garnett tries to equivocate to remain alive and true to his beliefs, Sir Thomas Moore speaks his Truth plainly in the face of execution.

For those attending this piece it might be well to do a quick refresher course on the politics of the times.

That said, this is a mostly pleasant conundrum to explore on a hot summer night.

     Wendy Franz, one of my favorite directors from the Halcyon days of Paragon Theatre did an admirable job with the direction of Bill Cain’s play.
     The esteemed actor John Hutton, whose elocution takes one’s breath away, is outstanding in the role of Father Henry Garnett. Other stand-outs are Michael Morgan as a shrewd Shag(speare) who became all things to all men as a playwright and Hunter Ringsmith in a surprisingly energized and humorous take on King James the First. Rodney Liczano gives us a limping and duplicitous Sir Robert Cecil that is most memorable.

     The show raises lots of questions about the famous Gunpowder Plot as well as providing us with a well-intentioned if flimsy notion based on scanty evidence about Shakespeare and his relationship to his daughter, Judith.Marlowe's Musings

Location: University Theatre, CU Boulder

For tickets call 303-492-8008 or go online at

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Central City Opera: 7/14 – 8/7

L-R: Jonathan Burton, Alexandra Loutsion and Michael Mayes

Central City Opera’s production of Puccini’s “Tosca” is one of the most exhilarating evenings of Grand Opera in memory.

     All the principals deliver powerful performances in both the singing and the acting. Even the vocals of the political prisoner, Angelloti (Stephen Clark) and the Sacristan (Donald Hartmann) are memorable. (When can one ever remember being able to say that?)

     The top notch cast stars Alexandra Loutsion as the jealous diva, Floria Tosca, Michael Mayes as Baron Scarpia, the most heinous villain in the repertoire, and Jonathan Burton as the unfortunate painter, Cavaradossi. You will remember Mr. Mayes for his outstanding portrayal of Joseph de Rocher, the frightening death row inmate in CCO’s production of "Dead Man Walking"two seasons ago.
     Joachim Schamberger’s excellent stage direction brings the suspense in Act Two to a fever pitch as Scarpia closes in on Tosca. Schamberger, who also did the set and projection design, must receive high praise in these realms as well. Schamberger spent last summer shooting the actual locations for the opera in Europe. Enhanced by David Martin Jacques’ masterful contribution in the lighting design, the result is visual magnificence.
     Jacques uses a technique akin to a wipe in cinematic terms, which gives one the impression of ink spilling over certain projections.  The result heightens the drama even as it corresponds to the breathtaking transitions in Puccini’s score.
     Maestro John Baril conducts the luscious Central City Opera orchestra with such vital potency that the results are breathtaking.
     Susan Memmott Allred’s period costumes, especially those for Ms. Loutsion, are dazzlers.Marlowe's Musings

Locations: Central City Opera House, Central City, Colorado
For tickets call 303-292-6500 or go online at

Sunday, July 17, 2016

I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers
The Edge Theatre: 7/ 15 - 7/31
  Emma Messenger( Photo Credit: Rachel Graham/RDG Photography

"If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me.”

    Director Josh Hartwell has cast this property well by starring Emma Messenger as Sue Mengers.

    Messenger portrays the renowned Hollywood agent, Sue Mengers in John Logan’s one-person show, “I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers,” now on view at The Edge Theater.
     As the agent of such stars as Barbra Streisand, Messenger commands the stage, holding court for us “poor lambs from Segundo or some such place.”
     From time to time, enthroned upon her couch, she calls disdainfully upon one of the audience members to hand her a dish or bring her a decanter of wine.  
        Messenger is delicious at delivering that “peel me a grape” brand of sarcasm one remembers from those Mae West films of the thirties.
     It’s certain that Messenger relishes the dirt dishing about such motion picture stars as Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway and Jane Fonda. Her undoing of the previously unblemished reputation of Steve McQueen with regard to his relationship with Ali McGraw is fascinating.
      The sarcasm is corrosive and the lampooning caustic. John Logan’s script allows us to really get intimate with this once timid, “fat little eight-year-old Jewess”, who left Hitler’s Germany to become a huge success as an Agent in the Hollywood of the seventies and eighties.
     Mengers’ abrasive criticism of the movie stars whose careers she built is both funny and scathingly honest. That all of these artists, whose careers she helped forge, left her one by one, saddens one. The profanity and dissing of same feels like a buffer for her bruised ego and emotions. She considered them all to be family.
A one-woman show starring CTG Henry Award winner Emma Messenger
July 15 – August 6, 2016
Fridays, Saturdays and Monday, July 25 at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 6 p.m. (closing Sunday, July 31 at 2 p.m.).
75 minutes / No Intermission
For tickets please call 303-232-0363  or go online at theedgetheater.comMarlowe's Musings

The Edge Theater is located at 1560 Teller Street in Lakewood, CO.