Monday, May 27, 2019

QUEEN OF CONSPIRACY
MINERS ALLEY PLAYHOUSE: 5/17 - 6/23

Abby Apple Boes and Damon Guerrasio 
(photo credit: Rachel D. Graham)

     Playwright Josh Hartwell has done an admirable job with his intriguing new play, QUEEN OF CONSPIRACY.  More than just an homage to conspiracy theorist Mae Brussell, the play is an exhortation for us as individuals to pay attention to our politics and to take action when we begin to connect the dots. No matter which president or political official has been assassinated the government commissions never tell the people the truth. We never get a valid explanation of which individual or group of individuals committed the crime. So even if a conspiracy theorist makes a few errors, it’s heartening when one like Ms. Brussell strikes a bulls eye with something as important as Watergate.
      Denver favorite Abby Apple Boes turns in a brilliant performance as Mae Brussell. 
     Bill Hahn delivers a sober intellectual and a hilariously quirky airhead professor with consummate skill.
     With his curly black wig and rocker swag, Damon Guerrasio is a superb dead ringer for Frank Zappa.
    Heather Lacy plays Olivia, a devotee of Ms. Brussel, whose daughter,Rachel, played by Chloe Mcleod, gradually emulates. Ms. Lacy stepped in at the last minute to take the place of an injured actor, who was prevented from appearing due to her injury. Ms. McLeod played Joan in Miners Alley's critically aclaimed production of "FUN HOME."
    You will remember Sinjiin Jones, who portrays Carson, Chloe’s boy friend, for his fine performance in "DISTRICT MERCHANTS."
    Jonathan Scott McKean did his usual magic with the scenic design. He is aided in no small part by Elizabeth Scott-McKean’s scenic dressing, which places us solidly in the 1970s.     
     Scott McKean also did the dynamic sound design, which accompanied by Vance McKenzie’s dramatic lighting design, conspire (sorry) to create explosive snapshots that rivet.
     Director Len Matheo has cast the show impeccably.
    Conspiracy theory is all over the internet, yet this is the first this reviewer has heard of Ms. Brussell. Always interested in this phenomenon, one wishes to know more about her.
    This play will send you racing for your computer to learn more about Ms. Brussell. In the process you may run across Nancy Lieder, a contemporary conspiracy theorist who channels a race of aliens known as the Zeta Reticuli. Ms. Lieder discusses connections to everything from national elections to an upcoming planetary collision with an asteroid on zetatalk.net.            

                          Truth or fiction? You decide.
     
     QUEEN OF CONSPIRACY deserves your attendance. Don’t miss it.

Miners Alley Playhouse 
The World Premiere of
"Queen of Conspiracy" 
The compelling, untold, and true story of Mae Brussell, considered to be the one-time Queen of Conspiracy.
May 17 – June 23
Thurs./Fri. /Sat. at 7:30 p.m.; Sun. at 2 p.m.
$17 - $32 
Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden, CO 80401
303-935-3044 or online at minersalley.com.




Saturday, May 25, 2019


AN INTERVIEW WITH PELHAM (PAT) PEARCE, THE GENERAL/ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL CITY OPERA

A PREVIEW OF THE 2019 CENTRAL CITY           OPERA SEASON


   I had the great good luck of getting to interview Central City Opera’s General/Artistic Director, Pelham (Pat) Pearce the other day and the excitement  was palpable as  he described the upcoming season at Central City Opera.
      In honor of the 200thanniversary of Herman Melville’s birth, Central City Opera is presenting the Colorado Premiere of Benjamin Britten’s maritime masterpiece, “Billy Budd.” (It is this critic's not so humble opinion that this production of "BILLY BUDD" will be the piece de resistance this summer. Do not miss it!)
          Pearce has focused on bringing the works of Britten to Central City Opera over the last 22 years. In fact, his intention is to bring the entire Britten canon to this historic 500-seat jewel box opera house.
     Starting with “Gloriana” and ”A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Pearce went on to produce “Paul Bunyan,” “Curlew River,” “The Rape of Lucretia,” “The Turn of the Screw”, “The Prodigal Son,” and “The Burning Fiery Furnace.”
     “Billy Budd” is based upon the novel by Herman Melville, and the libretto was written by Eric Crozier and E.M. Forster. This production will be conducted by John Baril with stage direction by Ken Cazan.
     Daniel Norman will sing Captain Vere, John Claggart will be sung by Kevin Burdette and Joshua Hopkins will perform the role of Billy Budd. 
    Pearce said, “since the stage at the Central City Opera House is not large enough to contain a British man o’ war, co-set designers, David Martin Jacques and Tahishi Kata are being required to use all kinds of modern technology to create the look of the show. They’ve spent a small fortune on rope to create the climbable rigging.” 
     Set in the time period of the Napoleonic wars, the costumes will be time specific.
     Performances of Billy Budd will run from July 6 through August 4. (Exact dates and times may be found on the Central City Opera website.)

(Hopefully you've already got your tickets. Word on the street is that BILLY BUDD is going to blow the roof off!!) 

    One of the best loved operas in the repertoire, Puccini’s exquisite “Madama Butterfly” was last performed by Central City Opera in 2010.
     This year Cio-Cio San will be sung by Raquel Gonzalez, Suzuki by Annie Rosen and Pinkerton by Cody Austin. Sharpless will be performed by Troy Cook. 
    Pearce said that “director Alison Moritz puts her own spin on this classic by allowing us as audience to see the proceedings through a sepia-toned palette, recalling the photographs of the time when Japan opened its doors to the West.”
     Adam Turner, who was recently named Artistic Director for Virginia Opera, will conduct.
     There will also be a double bill: “The Blessed Damozel” by Claude Debussy and “Litanies to the Black Virgin” composed by Francis Poulenc. These two exquisite works will be sung by an all-female cast in French and semi-staged at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. They both feature the women of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program. Pearce said that “those who wish to experience these beauties had better call soon as tickets are selling like hot cakes.”
     Central City Opera is also featuring “ENCORE,” an evening of sensational Broadway tunes at the Opera House on August 3rdand 6th, featuring Colorado favorite, Jennifer De Dominici. CCO debuted this ear-pleasing evening last season and it’s back by popular demand.
     Central City Opera is the fifth oldest opera company in the country and has been in operation since 1932. Besides enthralling Colorado audiences, it has attracted national and international attention with its operatic offerings. 
      The Central City Opera House was built in 1878 by Robert Roeschlaub, the architect who also built the Trinity United Methodist Church in Denver.
 It’s graced by the magnificent trompe l’oeil murals by San Francisco artist, John C. Massman. This venue provides an intimacy that’s hard to come by. When it first opened its doors there was no such thing as air conditioning. As a result many famous actors chose to leave the heat of New York City’s asphalt jungle to perform in plays in the fresh, cool atmosphere of Central City, Colorado.
     Lillian Gish christened the newly restored opera house with “Camille,” beginning the tradition of the annual summer festivals we have today. 
     Some of the other stars who have played at Central City summer festivals are: Beverly Sills, Helen Hayes and Samuel Ramey. Walter Huston played Othello with his wife, Nan Sunderland as Desdemona at the opera house in 1934.
     There are numerous hauntings reported in the area; so if you happen to be a Ghostbuster you have a whole new world to explore when you’re not at the opera.  
      If you’re a history fan, there’s lots to discover about this town. After gold was discovered at Gregory’s Gulch in 1859 there was a gold rush that added 10,000 people to the little town. In 1871 the Republican convention found its way to Central City and the rowdy participants (200 of them) found themselves unceremoniously dumped from an upper level into an office on the first floor. Luckily no one was injured.
      I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the intimacy of the Central City Opera house provides an up close and personal delivery of the repertoire of Grand Opera as well as the very best gems of American Opera. 
     Whether you’re an opera virgin or a jaded culture vulture, it’s this reviewer’s not so humble opinion that Central City Opera is the most consistently excellent producer of operas in Colorado. 
     In an interview some fifteen or sixteen seasons ago Artistic Director Emeritus, John Moriarty told me that Meredith Willson got the inspiration to write “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” while having a cocktail at the Teller House right next door to the Opera House. And don’t forget to check out Herndon Davis’ stunning 1936 painting now known as “The Face on the Barroom Floor” while having your own cocktail at The Teller House. Ever since the Gold Rush of 1859, Central City, Colorado has been known as “the richest square mile on earth.” Now, however, the mother lode is Central City Opera. The gems are its glorious operatic productions.
     There is the usual parking available in the Opera Company’s parking lot as well as free parking in the garage at Century Casino. Kevin Taylor is serving dinner upstairs next door to the opera house and there is the usual light fare at the Teller House and in the casinos. Get your rezzers early because they fill up early on opera evenings.
      Pearce concluded by saying, “We’re going to make magic this summer. Come up and experience the unforgettable! It’s a good eclectic season with something for everyone.”     
             See you at the opera!


For more information, visit www.centralcityopera.org or follow CCO on Facebook, Instagram (@ccityopera) and Twitter (@ccityopera). Use the hashtag #CentralCityOpera to engage. For tickets,
email boxoffice@centralcityopera.org or call (303) 292-6700. 
Marlowe's Musings






Monday, May 20, 2019



   Based upon the Academy Award-winning 1991 Disney animated film, DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST premiered on Broadway in 1994. In 1998 it received the Lawrence Olivier Award for Best New Musical in London.
     Dear reader, I must tell you here and now that this review is going to be a long list of accolades for an outstanding full-on production that’s unforgettable.
     Enchanting Lilliane Buonacore, who played Ariel in last season’s production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid is a fetching Belle. Her ribbon of silk voice, which Ursula clearly did not get to keep, is la crème de la crème.
     Cole LaFonte, who played Prince Eric in last season’s THE LITTLE MERMAID, is the Beast. As powerful displaying his fiery anger as he is poignant being “tamed” by Belle’s reading to him about King Arthur, LaFonte is a commanding presence onstage.
    Illuminating the proceedings with his candle labra-like hands, Bob Hoppe is smashing as Lumiere. This superb musical theatre actor ‘waxes’(sorry!) poetic as he leads all the Beast’s very animated kitchen utensils in an elaborately conceived and executed version of “BE OUR GUEST.”  
     Scott Severtson’s performance in the role of the arrogant, narcissistic and self-absorbed Gaston, is, as usual, top-notch. Belle’s unrelenting suitor, who refuses to stop stalking her, Gaston is the character we love to hate. Flexing, posing and swaggering throughout, Severtson nails this character with consummate skill. 
     In yet another outstanding performance, Tracy Warren delivers an indelible portrayal of Mrs. Potts. This multitalented actor’s singing of the title song, “Beauty and the Beast,” is delicious to the ear. 
     Wayne Kennedy plays Maurice, Belle’s kindly inventor father as well as providing us as audience with a masterful sound design. The “bone-headed inventiveness” of Maurice’s newest contraption is eye-and-ear-popping- all on its own. And whether the wolves are howling or the Beast is roaring, Kennedy’s design delivers the goods with clarity and ease.      
     Scott Beyette is most memorable as Cogsworth.
     Danielle Scheib is a deliciously comical and sexy Babette.
     Leo Batlle is both goofy and amusing as Gaston’s fawning sidekick, Le Fou.
     Alicia K. Meyers and Matthew D. Peters share credit for direction and choreography. As co-directors these two artists keep the stage alive with vibrant action throughout. Likewise, their success in the realm of choreography ranges from the exuberant tankard-clanking dance in “Gaston,” to the gorgeous ballroom dance for which this show is famous. The duo even allows for a bit of tap dancing in one number.
      Thanks to Tom Quinn’s projections BDT Stage’s production has a certain visual fluidity akin to that which one finds in cinema. Mr. Quinn’s visual illusions allow for the child in each and all in attendance to be swept, wide-eyed and mystified, into this beloved fairy tale. The decorative illustration of the rose on the stage frontispiece at the top of the show is a wonder all on its own. 
   This production also leans heavily upon the delight created by stage magicians. At certain junctures in the story a sparkling cloth appears before the objects in a scene. And Presto/Change-O, the drape is instantly drawn away leaving some new wonder for us to discover. These quick flashes of magical legerdemain involving stage transformation work beautifully. The ultimate transformation of beast to prince is something altogether different. It’s a masterful stroke of theatrical magic! No spoilers here! 
     Linda Morken’s costume design is a knock-out! The visually spectacular gown Belle wears for the famous waltz near final curtain is simply gorgeous. Those she created for all the other characters are eye-popping!
     Amy Campion has done an outstanding job with the scenic design. Her creation of Belle’s village is enchanting. The Beast’s castle is an architectural wonder that’s awe-inspiring.
     Brett Maughan’s lighting design is magnificent!
     The prosthetics for the show are created and designed by stage make-up magician Todd Debreceni.
     The memorable and tuneful score for this romantic fairy tale by Alan Menken, Tim Rice and Howard Ashman, is played with true musical virtuosity by Neal Dunfee and the BDT Stage orchestra.

   Exhilarating and enchanting, the joie de vivre of this production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is infectious. 

                                Run to see it.
Marlowe's Musings

Call 303-449-6000 or go online at bdtstage.com for tickets
5501 ARAPAHOE AVENUE, BOULDER COLORADO 80303

Saturday, May 11, 2019

HAY FEVER
GERMINAL STAGE DENVER:
May 7 – June 8
                                         

     A stylistic mash-up of a comedy of manners and a farce, Noel Coward first produced HAY FEVER in 1925.
     Eccentricities abound as the members of the Bliss family invite guests to spend a weekend in their English country home. Each and all have invited someone special without the knowledge of any of the others.
     Leroy Leonard plays David, A self-proclaimed ‘writer of bad novels,’ his wife, Judith (Michelle Moore), a retired actress, and their two spoiled adult children, subject their four guests to a tortuous weekend of witty madness and social malaise. 
    Linda Suttle plays Clara, the maid ‘of many hats,’ who having been Judith’s dresser during her stage career, stitches the play together with just the right contrasting British propriety. As always it is a great pleasure to see Ms. Suttle onstage.
     From awkward introductions to charade-like parlour games, nearly everything is a cue for theatrical excess and flamboyant dramatic expression!         
     Judith’s semaphore-like gestures, accompanied by heightened operatic-like posing, verge on those one remembers from silent films.
     Leroy Leonard(David), Michelle Moore(Judith) and Anne Smith Myers(Myra) are the standouts in this genuinely fine cast. Seen previously in an outstanding performance as the young Helen Keller in Firehouse Theater's "The Miracle Worker," Hannah Lee Ford is hilarious as Sorel Bliss.
     New to this reviewer, Greg Palmer  deserves special mention as Simon.
     Owen T. Niland ( Richard) and Andrew Horsford (Sandy) round out this wonderful cast.
     Ed Baierlein, who brings this hilarious old war horse to life with deft direction, also designed the beautifully appointed set.
     Known for her superb work as a costume designer, Sallie Diamond outdoes herself with frocks, kimonos and flapper apparel of the outrageously funny variety.
     Having seen this show on first preview one can only imagine how delightful it will become upon subsequent viewings.
     Germinal Stage Denver’s production of HAY FEVER comes with high recommendations from this critic’s desk!
     Run to see it!

Ed Baierlein, wife Sallie Diamond and Ginger Valone opened the original Germinal Stage-Denver at 1820 Market St. on Nov. 7, 1974. The company operated for 25 years at 44thand Alcott St. and, after four years of producing in Westminster, Germinal Stage is delighted to have found its new home in Lowry. Marlowe's Musings

Germinal Stage “Hay Fever”
The hilarious comedy of bad manners.
May 10 – June 8
Fri./Sat. at 7:30 p.m. ; Sun. at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets $17 - $25
303-455-7108 or emailgerminalstage@gmail.com
@ John Hand Theater is located at 7653 East 1st Place, Denver, Colorado 80230


Saturday, March 16, 2019

Every Brilliant Thing
Vintage Theatre: March 8 – April 14

       John Ashton as the Narrator

 “Every Brilliant Thing” is a play about a boy whose depression after his mother’s attempted suicide leads him to start to write a list of all the wonderful things that make life worth living as a gift for her. 
     As he grows up we see the list grow through happy times and sad, love found and love lost.  Although there are some sad moments, there are also a lot of smiles and laughter. (Be assured that this is not a maudlin tear-jerker.) 
     John Ashton is the Narrator of this show, and anyone who has ever seen this actor onstage, knows that he/she is in for an unforgettable evening of great theatre.
     Showcasing Ashton’s charismatic humor and unabashed empathy, Peter J. Hughes directs the proceedings with a deft hand.
      To say that the show is interactive is to overstate the obvious. It’s about as close to a conversation between actor and playgoer as there will ever be. Upon entering, audience members receive numbered cards imprinted with words or short phrases which they read aloud when their number is called. “Really good oranges,” “birdsong,” “watching little kids learn to use chopsticks.”
      There is very gentle, and very enjoyable audience participation in this show. 
     Ashton’s gift for theatre allows for an easy joyful interaction for each and all. This reviewer and another audience member held a keyboard aloft so Ashton could add some musical notes to the conversation.
     In the newly reconfigured Bond-Trimble Auditorium this poignant piece becomes more than intimate. Now it’s an all-inclusive circle creating what feels like a truly safe space for this heart opening experience.
      In the capable hands of Ashton and Vintage Theatre’s production team, Duncan MacMillan’s and Jonny Donahue’s touching play about one man’s struggle with mental illness becomes an indelible evening of theatre.Marlowe's Musings

Vintage Theatre presents 
“Every Brilliant Thing”
by Duncan MacMillan and Jonny Donahoe
A Regional Premiere, Directed by Peter J. Hughes
Starring John Ashton
March 8 – April 14, 2019
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
(No performance Sunday, March 17)
$16 - $32 
www.vintagetheatre.org or 303-856-7830. 
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010.
1 hour and 15 minutes, with no intermission



Wednesday, March 6, 2019

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG
THE BUELL THEATRE: March 5 -17

L-R: Ned Noyes and Jamie Ann Romero (Photo credit: Jeremy Daniel)

Having received the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in London, THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG got the 2017 Tony Award for Best Scenic Design.  When you see Nigel Hook's ingenious set - actually the antagonist of the piece - you will understand why!
      A fictitious theatre company known as The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society has received a sizeable donation and decided to do a production of an equally fictitious 1920s murder mystery entitled “The Murder at Haversham Manor.”
   It’s opening night for their show, and the play is plagued with non-stop, all night disaster.
    Missed entrances, forgotten lines and technical mishaps are just a few of the countless occurrences that make up this merry and manic mayhem.
     Jamie Ann Romero, star of countless Colorado productions, dazzles us with her comedic brilliance as Sandra Wilkinson, who plays Florence Colleymoore in the play within the play. 
      The show is so funny that one can hardly recover from one episode of gasping for breath before he/she’s doubled over with laughter again.
    Written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, the show is an Absolute Riot! It  would be unfair to give any spoilers.
     Just go and be dazzled by Jamie Ann Romero, Brandon J. Ellis, Evan Alexander Smith, Yaegel T. Welch, Peyton Crim, Scott Cote, Ned Noyes and Angela Grovey. 
      Each and all proved capable of turning a sold out opening night audience at The Buell Theatre into a pack of laughing hyenas.

     Not to be missed.Marlowe's Musings

FOR TICKETS CALL 303-893-4100  

or go ONLINE at DENVERCENTER.ORG

Sunday, February 24, 2019

A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO 
       LOVE AND MURDER
VINTAGE THEATRE PRODUCTIONS: 2/1 – 3/24

L-R: Brandon Bill and Andy Seracuse

With music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak, and book and lyrics by Robert Freedman, Vintage Theatre’s production of A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER is a Denver premiere to die for.
    This show got four Tony Awards in 2014, including Best Musical.
     Based upon the novel, “Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal,” it was later adapted into a British film called “Kind Hearts and Coronets.”  It’s the tale of a young man’s rise from rags to riches in a murderously funny fashion.
     The deft direction by Bernie Cardell in combination with Music Direction by Lee Ann Scherlong assures the theatre patron of a rollicking evening of visual and auditory delight. 
     Cardell has taken clear aim at the theatre patron’s funny bone with his stage direction, and strikes the bull’s eye more often than not.
      Ms. Scherlong sees to it that not only solos and duets shine. Her music direction gives us choral work that’s exceptional and a backstage orchestra that’s superb.
     The combination of Cardell’s stage direction and Scherlong’s music direction proved to be musical theatre Magic on the snowiest day of the year! 
     In a masterful coup de theatre Brandon Bill takes on the daunting challenge of playing a number of the members of the D’Ysquith family of various age and gender with style, panache and over the top comic skill.
         Director Cardell here introduces us to several new faces in his cast. 
    Andy Seracuse plays the central character, Monty Navarro. Mr. Seracuse is an excellent musical theatre actor. His sterling vocals, hilarious facial expressions and charming stage presence make us hope to see him again soon upon the Colorado stage.
     Anna Jennes plays Sibella Holland. As she giggles her way into your heart you will notice that this beautiful young woman has a voice that’s a ribbon of pure gold.
     Kate Jackson is the third in this constellation of new stars. In the role of Phoebe D’Ysquith the fetching Ms. Jackson proves to have a gorgeous voice and wonderful stage presence.
     The   exuberant ensemble includes the likes of Kerri Emswiller, Todd Black (Both past Marlowe Award winners) and the always watchable Michelle Jeffres. Kristine Kahane is hilarious as Miss Shingle.
   Set designer Ryan Walkoviak has transformed the stage in the Jeffrey Nickelson Auditorium into three stages, each one adorned with an eye-catching cherry red waterfall curtain, made luminous by Kevin Taylor’s excellent lighting design. 
     Susan Rahmsdorff-Terry’s costume design is scrumptious.
    Stephanie Hesse has done some wondrous choreography which makes the tongue-in- cheek nature of the show’s propensity to poke fun at British propriety and manners, really pop! GO!GO!GO!GO!Marlowe's Musings

Vintage Theatre presents“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” 
In order for Monty to become Earl, people have to die.
Feb. 8 – Mar. 24 
Fri., Sat. and Monday, February 18 at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m. 
Tickets are $19 - $38 
www.vintagetheatre.org or 303-856-7830. 
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

WAKEY, WAKEY
BENCHMARK THEATRE: 1/18 – 2/16
               L-R: Augustus Truhn and Arlene Rapal

As Guy, the dying man in Benchmark Theatre’s production of Will Eno’s “WAKEY,WAKEY,” Augustus Truhn delivers one of the most authentic performances to have been seen by this reviewer. Very few actors know the craft well enough to devastate an audience so well.
     He’s all alone in a room that has a wheelchair stashed in the corner and a number of boxes packed and stacked along one wall.
      Guy knows we’re present and decides to engage us. His low-key recollections and remembrances are interrupted by momentary lapses of awareness.
      A remote-control device allows him to show slides, games and mesmerizing spirals on the back wall. Even as the character's life force wanes, he instructs us in a technique for gratitude for Life.
       Enter Arlene Rapal in the role of a care-giver named Lisa, who cools his forehead and performs a kind of Reiki on the dying man.
        Thanks to the deft direction of Rachel Rogers a number of surprising moments occur, which momentarily create sensorial disorientation to relieve the emotional tension. 
     Will Eno’s “WAKEY,WAKEY” is a heartfelt and profoundly heart-opening evening of theatre.
      Don’t miss it!Marlowe's Musings

For tickets call 303-519-9059 or go online at benchmarktheatre.com

Saturday, February 2, 2019

LOST IN YONKERS
MINERS ALLEY PLAYHOUSE: 1/25 – 3/3

Neil Simon’s play, LOST IN YONKERS, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as the 1991 Tony Award for Best Play.
 The cast of LOST IN YONKERS

     Set in Yonkers in 1942, Eddie (Rory Pierce) is forced to go on the road due to bills incurred during his late wife’s battle with cancer. Consequently his two teenage boys, Jay (Dee Jimenez) and Arty (Ben Feldman), have to go live with their Grandma Kurnitz and Bella, their mentally challenged aunt.  (One hopes to see both Mr. Jimenez and Mr. Feldman again soon upon the Colorado stage.)
     Directed by Warren Sherrill, this show is cast to perfection!  
     Haley Johnson’s portrayal of the boys’ developmentally disabled Aunt Bella is indelible genius. Characterized by a continuous state of agitation that fluctuates between joy and anxiety, this is yet another brilliant performance by this multi-talented actor.
     Grandma Kurnitz is portrayed by Deborah Persoff with a set jaw and a demeanor that's hard as steel. It’s a compelling performance that feels as though it were  forged out of submerged anger and pain. As the play unfolds we learn that the reason this character walks with a cane and this deliberate, stiff, angular gait, is because of physical injuries she incurred as a child in Nazi Germany.
   Damon Guerrasio is especially strong as Uncle Louie, who’s temporarily using the Kurnitz household as a hideout from the mob.
    Although the wheezing Aunt Gert is a small role, it got big laughs due to MacKenzie Beyer’s sterling performance. 
    Peggy Stenmark’s realistic scenic design, enhanced by Elizabeth Scott-McKean’s ‘scenic dressing’ easily places us in 1942 Yonkers. Susan Rahmsdorff-Terry’s spot-on costumes enhance the proceedings.Marlowe's Musings




Miners Alley Playhouse
"Broadway Bound"
Arty and his brother Jay learn lessons about love, responsibility and the importance of family.
Jan. 25 – Mar. 3
Thurs./Fri. /Sat. at 7:30 p.m.; Sun. at 2 p.m.
$17 - $32 
Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden, CO 80401
303-935-3044 or online at 
minersalley.com.


Sunday, January 27, 2019

BETRAYAL
VINTAGE THEATRE: 1/11 – 2/17

    L-R: Kelly Uhlenhopp and David L. Wygant

BETRAYAL is a fascinating look at romantic relationhips through the lens of playwright, Harold Pinter. The play begins as Emma’s marriage to Robert ends, spinning backwards in time to the moment when her love relationship with their friend, Jerry, began.
     Kelly Uhlenhopp, who dazzled Denver audiences in Vintage Theatre’s A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY and BOSTON MARRIAGE, delivers a luminous and nuanced portrayal as Emma.
     Perry Lewis (THE KENTUCKY CYCLE, IT’S ONLY A PLAY and A TIME TO KILL) turns in a superb performance in the role of Emma’s husband, Robert. 
     New to this reviewer, David Wygant is a credible Jerry.
     Director Craig Bond elicits performances from  his actors in such a way as to honor playwright Harold Pinter’s use of pauses, reticence and understatement to convey a character’s thought process, which is many times only hinted at, or altogether unspoken.
     Julie Lemieux, whose eye-pleasing set design suggests numerous locales, uses every inch of the intimate playing space.
     Emily Maddox’s lighting design shifts the moods superbly.
     Rachel Herring’s costumes for Ms. Uhlenhopp dazzle.Marlowe's Musings

Vintage Theatre presents
“Betrayal” 
A sharp look into the nature of romantic relationships.
Jan. 11 – Feb. 17
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
$16 - $32 
www.vintagetheatre.org or 303-856-7830. 
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010.




Saturday, January 26, 2019

A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC
CHERRY CREEK THEATRE COMPANY: 1/24 – 2/17
(In the Mizel Arts and Culture Center’s PLUSS THEATRE)

L-R: Megan Van De Hey and Rachel Turner

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and book by Hugh Wheeler, this Tony Award winner for Best Musical – it won seven! - is based upon Ingmar Bergman’s 1955 film, “Smiles of a Summer’s Night.”
     Directed by Kelly Van Oosbree, and with music direction by Traci Kern, this production is a complete delight.  
     Ms. Van Oosbree has cast the show impeccably and paced it at the lovely waltz tempo intended by Mr. Sondheim.
     Director Von Oosbree has brought in Tina Anderson for the ingenious scenic design, Kelly Gregson for the eye-popping costumes and Karalyn Star Pytel for the lighting design.
      Ms. Kern has guided the actors’ glorious voices into a trance-inducing perfection all throughout Sondheim’s daunting score. 
     Susie Roelofsz acts and sings the role of Desiree Armfeldt, the role played by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1977 film, with true luminosity. Her singing of “SEND IN THE CLOWNS” is heart-opening.
     Brian Merz-Hutchinson is in very fine voice as Desiree’s old flame, Fredrik Egerman.
     Rachel Turner gives an endearing portrayal of Ann Egerman, Fredrik’s giggly, naïve young wife.
     Susan Long is magnificent as Mme. Armfeldt. This actor's singing of “LIAISONS,” a recollection of elegant romance in bygone times, is sublime.
     Jeremy Rill’s stentorian singing in the role of Desiree’s paramour, Count Carl Magnus, is breathtaking. Rill’s singing of “IN PRAISE OF WOMEN” as well as “IT WOULD HAVE BEEN WONDERFUL,” the  duet with Mr. Hutchinson, are smashing.
     Megan Van de Hey’s nuanced portrayal of Carl Magnus’ wife, Countess Charlotte Malcolm, is outrageously well acted and sung. Her duet with Ms. Turner, “EVERY DAY A LITTLE DEATH,” stuns!
     Sophia Dotson is enchanting as Fredrika.

    My one criticism of the show is that there are too few seats in the theatre for everyone in Denver to see it. And they should!

For tickets go online at Cherrycreektheatre.org  or 
Call  303-800-6578Marlowe's Musings

Monday, January 14, 2019

THE PINTER PLAYS
(EARLY CLASSIC ONE-ACTS BY NOBEL LAUREATE HAROLD PINTER)
GERMINAL STAGE DENVER: at The John Hand Theatre: 1/4 - 2/2


Marc K. Moran in THE ROOM
     Ed Baierlein’s and Sallie Diamond’s Germinal Stage Denver is a national treasure. This reviewer has had the pleasure of following them through numerous venues since the late seventies. 
      I’m thrilled to report that finally, after several temporary locations, Germinal has found a great new home on Lowry in the John Hand Theatre.
      These artists carved out a niche that is unique. They’ve created a home for the great playwrights from Ibsen to Pinter, Chekhov to Albee, and from Tennessee Williams to Arthur Miller. Their productions reflect the artistic sensibilities of those playwrights as well as any company, and better than most.
      In this production of THE PINTER PLAYS we get a taste of two of Pinter’s early works: THE COLLECTION and THE ROOM.
    In the former, a wife tells her husband of her infidelity on a business trip. You get to decide if she’s telling the truth.
      In the latter, a domestic situation becomes disturbing as two contrasting characters struggle to communicate.  It’s all there in the subtext, between the lines, in the unspoken moments and in the pauses.  Everything remains in question until a mysterious guest arrives.
     Marc Moran, Michelle Moore, Clint Heyn and Stephen R. Kramer deliver superb portrayals. Mr. Moran is at the top of his game here! 
     Mr. Kramer’s direction shines in THE ROOM as does Ed Baierlein’s in THE COLLECTION.
     Go see what Pinter’s early plays are like.
     You’ll be glad you did.

Germinal Stage
Harold Pinter’s “The Collection” and “The Room” 
Classic one-acts by the Nobel Laureate!
Jan.  4 – Feb. 2
Fri./Sat. at 7:30 p.m. ; Sun. at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets $17 - $25
303-455-7108 or email germinalstage@gmail.com
@ John Hand Theater is located at 7653 East 1st Place, Denver, Colorado 80230