Saturday, March 30, 2024

 A Jukebox for the Algonquin

Miners Alley Playhouse: March 1 – April 7


Unpretentious and unassuming, Miners Alley Performance Arts Center’s production of Paul Strolli’s play charms.

     The playwright focuses on a longterm residence for the aged much like The Argyle in North Denver.

     The scenic design by Jonathan Scott McKean appoints the space with furnishings which are the exact replicas of what one finds in such places. They’re not antiques, but they’re old. 

     Vance McKenzie’s work as lighting designer pairs excellently once again with John Hauser’s sound design in telling the story of these aging individuals.

     The cast is made up of some of Colorado’s brightest and best!  

     Len Matheo’s direction is straight forward and allows each of the cast members to have their moment in the spotlight. 

     Having spent a lot of time with a friend living in such places over the last couple of years, I have come to be acquainted with the issues of people there as well as the falling, the loneliness, and the anguish.

      Although it’s got its moments, “A Jukebox for The Algonquin” is a prettified version of plays that look death in the eye, such as Arthur Miller’s “All Over.”

     The performances are balanced and very well delivered.

     Abby Apple Boes, Edith Weiss, Arlene Hicks, John Hauser and Paul Strolli provide us with amiable representations of residents and employees of such establishments.

     At the heart of the show is the relationship of Chris Kendall (Dennis) a wheelchair bound gay man and Dwayne Carrington (Johnny), a straight black man.

    Both men deliver stellar performances, leaving one with a tear in the eye and a heart full of memories.

   The show has some good comic moments and avoids getting too maudlin.

    If you have a free evening next weekend, take a drive up to Golden and check it out.


For tickets call 303-935-3044 or go online at

Saturday, March 23, 2024




                  MARY LOUISE LEE (photo credit RDG Photography)


            RUN TO GET TICKETS!!!


With music by Judd Woldin, Lyrics by Robert Brittan and book by Robert Nemiroff and Charlotte Zaltzbert, “Raisin” is based on the play “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry.

      “Raisin in the Sun” received the Tony for Best Play in 1960. “Raisin,” the musical, got the Tony for Best Musical in 1974.

       “Raisin” describes the struggle of black Americans seeking a better life in 1951 Chicago.  Three generations of Walter Younger’s family are living in a single cramped apartment. After the death of a patriarch, an insurance payout allows for hope for buying a new home to arise. Familial conflict, errors in judgment and ultimate redemption and forgiveness ensue.

     Any musical directed and choreographed by trail-blazing Christopher Page-Sanders makes the viewer feel as though he is being transported to a dreamscape, in which the dream is one of flying. Transcendent and exhilarating beyond words!  Anyone who saw Page-Sanders’ production of “Sophisticated Ladies” last season at the Vintage Theatre knows what I mean.

     As director, Page-Sanders has cast the show with actors who are triple threats and brought in technical staff of the highest and best.

     The cast is led by Denver favorite Mary Louise Lee. One of our premier actors, Ms. Lee commands the stage as Lena “Mama” Younger. Her powerful acting and singing of “A Whole Lotta Sunlight” and “Measure of the Valleys” will make you feel like you’re at a show on Broadway.

     Micha J. Lawrence portrays Walter Lee Younger, the role that got Sidney Poitier nominated for a Tony.

     New to this reviewer, this actor’s performance singing “Sweet Time” and “You Done Right” will make you search out his name in every program.

     Asha Romeo plays Ruth, Walter Lee’s wife, with an endearing stage presence and a lovely soprano. Her solo, “Whose Little Angry Man,” is a delight.

     Blake Channing Taylor is a complete delight singing “Sidewalk Tree” as Travis Younger.

     Heidi Carann Snider is Walter Lee’s sister, Beneatha Younger. Her duet,"Alaiyo,” with Isaac Rosen as Nigerian boyfriend, Joseph Asagai, enchants.

     Bernie Cardell is Karl Lindner, the man you love to hate. He’s the one who’s trying to buy out the Lee family’s new lease in an all white neighborhood in the name of neighborhood gentrification and housing discrimination.

     Donna Debreceni created the wondrous, instrumentally diverse, and ear-pleasing musical tracks. 

     Music Director Trent Hines’ work on the choral numbers such as “He Come Down This Morning” and “Runnin’ to Meet the Man” is exceptional.

     Kurt Behm’s sound design is top-notch!

     The ever-shifting tapestry of lighting by Vance McKenzie is sensational!

     Mike Haas’ fragmentary set design for the Lees’ home works extremely well . 

     The costume design by Hannah Tripp is eye-popping indeed! 

     Aside from a refrigerator door that refused to stay shut, the show came off without a hitch!


For tickets call the box office: 303-794-2787  ext. 5 or go online at





Monday, March 18, 2024



Directed by Bernie Cardell

Matthew Murry and Cameron Davis(photo credit: RDG Photography)


Emma Messenger is magnificent as Amanda Wingfield!


“The Glass Menagerie” is the ‘memory play’ that brought Tennessee Williams to fame.

In the play, the playwright remembers his mother, Amanda, and sister, Laura.

      Amanda is a faded southern belle who, abandoned by her husband, is raising her children in a tenement apartment in 1930s St. Louis. Her son, Tom, the alter ego of the playwright, is working in a shoe factory and dreaming of becoming a poet. Amanda’s daughter, Laura, is developmentally disabled as a result of a childhood disease.

     Whether scolding Laura for dropping out of business school or trying to get Tom to fix his cowlick and eat properly, Messenger gives us a woman whose mothering is almost too much for her children. Her maternal nature is out of control and becomes not only smothering, but suffocating.

     Encountering the gentleman caller in Act Two, Messenger’s Amanda slips into a reverie in which she is the debutante she believes she once was. It’s one of the most astonishing and spellbinding moments in this actor’s compelling performance. 

       As Tom’s sister, Laura, Clara Papula is charming, vulnerable and gossamer delicate all at once.  One hopes to see her again soon upon the Denver stage.

     As Jim, the gentleman caller, Cameron Davis commands the stage with his confident manner and ebullient personality. He builds to an emotional pitch that is crowned with a kiss. His extroverted, athletic approach to life contrasts starkly with that of Tom’s sister, Laura. 

     Recently having portrayed E.M. Forster in Vintage Theatre’s monumental production of “The Inheritance,” Matthew Murry returns as a brilliant Tom Wingfield, the playwright’s cynical alter ego.

      As Tom, Matthew Murry delivers the playwright’s opening speech with authenticity and eloquence. Both narrator and protagonist, Tom escapes the apartment where he lives with his mother and sister by staying out late and going to the movies. Murry’s delivery of the speech at final curtain carries an impact that is nearly unbearable. 

     Director Bernie Cardell has cast the show impeccably. He has also engaged tried and true theatre artists in all technical aspects of the production. Luke Rahmsdorff -Terry’s sound design and Kevin Taylor’s lighting conspire to create an atmosphere that alternates between that of stifling entrapment  and moody nostalgia. Susan Rahmsdorff-Terry has costumed the quartet beautifully.

     Don Fuller uses every inch of the space in the Bond-Trimble theatre for his magnificent scenic design. Behind, and flanking the confines of the Wingfields’ claustrophobic apartment, broods a huge representation of Picasso’s Guernica.


(This is Bernie Cardell’s 150th production since his arrival in Colorado.)


                    Not to be missed!



For tickets call 303-856-7830 or go online at

Friday, March 8, 2024


Vintage Theatre: March 4-27

                                                Deborah Persoff 

                                     (photo credit Margaret Norwood)

Deborah Persoff’s performance in the role of first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, is superbly nuanced and revelatory.

     This one-woman play penned by Mark St. Germain is as compelling as it is informative. Delving into her childhood as well as her marriage to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the playwright illuminates the First Lady’s private torments and triumphs.

     Eleanor worked diligently for women’s rights. Her championing of racial equality was even met with certain members of the KKK putting a price on her head.

      Her marriage to Franklin Delano Roosevelt provided her a platform on which she was able to present new ideas upon the public stage. 

     In her portrayal of Eleanor, Ms. Persoff makes us aware that as the power behind the throne, she (Eleanor) was able to sway presidential opinion as this country recovered from the Great Depression and generated The New Deal.

      At certain moments Ms. Persoff is able to slip seamlessly into such personas as a hilariously puffed-up and self-absorbed Winston Churchill as well as her husband’s difficult mother.   

     The play is directed with great sensitivity by Christine Kahane (Marlowe Award for Best Supporting Actress in “Young Frankenstein”), who directed Vintage’s critically acclaimed production of “Shakespeare in Love” a couple of seasons ago. 

     Luke Rahmsdorff-Terry’s sound design is his usual professional work. His projection design, which delivers historical photos of Eleanor, enhances the proceedings by planting us firmly in the required historical moment.

     Cheryl Faulkner’s costume design is spot on.

    Run to get tickets.


For tickets go online at or call the box office at 303-856-7830





Monday, March 4, 2024

 125 "NO"s


                                                         Erin Rollman and Erik Edborg

Lightly skimming over an armature of Sartre’s “NO EXIT,” Buntport Theater’s production of ‘125 “No”s’ is, in this reviewer’s interesting point of view, their best in years.  It’s FUNNY and PROVOCATIVE! All four of Buntport’s intrepid actors get lots of superb lines and a plethora of plum moments! A make-up artist (Hannah Duggan), a special effects man (Erik Edborg), an extra who worries if he will be natural enough onscreen in the role that he performs naturally in everyday life (Brian Colonna), and a script consultant insistent on keeping good morals always onscreen (Erin Rollin) are living a just offstage purgatory! All four of these brilliant comics co-write, co-direct and co-design their original work. 

     Inspired by a quote on a poster in the lobby of a movie theatre  that announced that Greer Garson had to do 125 takes of her saying the word “No”in the 1947 film, “Desire Me,” this original production shines!!! 

     Besides the stunning performances of the onstage actors you can also expect to be dazzled by the offstage voices of such Denver favorites as Jim Hunt( Director), Josh Hartwell (assistant) and Diana Dresser (Greer Garson).

   This existential comedy is absurdist theatre at its best!

     Run to get tickets!

Sunday, February 18, 2024




                                                            Stuart Sanks

                            (photo credit RDG PHOTOGRAPHY)


     With his direction of The Legend of Georgia McBride, Troy Lakey delivers a glitzy, glitter-filled evening of music and dance that exhilarates. It’s a fast-paced evening that’s cast impeccably.

     Aside from Denver favorite Stuart Sanks, the other cast members were new to this reviewer.

     Sanks, who plays Miss Tracy Mills, is an expansive and dazzling presence onstage. (One still recalls his brilliant performance as Joe in Hunger Artists’ soul-shattering production of Angels in America twenty- seven years ago.) Whether delivering the playwright’s words onstage or ‘workin’ the crowd,” Sanks’ performance sparkles.

   Matthew Combs turns in a smashing performance as Casey, the young husband who, fired from his act impersonating Elvis, shifts from blue suede shoes to high heels in order to keep food on the table for his family. Bringing up memories of Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire and Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie, Combs as Casey shows definitively that embracing one’s feminine side doesn’t mean leaving his masculinity behind. 

     Clark Jones is superb in two roles: the drag queen, Rexy, and Casey’s landlord, Jason.  Jones’s soliloquy about his (Rexy’s) having been bullied and beat up as a kid, is heart-breaking. 

     Matt Hindmarch gets in some good comic licks as the manager/owner of the club.                       

      Atlas Drake is fine as Casey’s wife, Jo. 

      Cole Emarine’s costume design is eye-boggling to say the least. Mr. Emarine must have been up to his armpits in sequins and feathers for weeks to have designed this fantasia of gorgeous gowns.

      Jonathan Underwood’s choreography delights.

      Ryan Walkoviak’s scenic design provides smooth transition between Casey’s and Jo’s apartment and backstage at the club.

     Playwright Matthew Lopez also penned the Tony Award-winning two part play, THE INHERITANCE (MARLOWE AWARD for BEST ENSEMBLE) last season.

     On opening night, there were some sound issues that caused the show to start a little later than scheduled. Once the glitch had been found and remedied, Jessica Jewell’s sound design stunned!



For tickets call 303-856-7830 or go online at





Sunday, February 11, 2024





                          Clint Heyn as Gaston 

In my interesting point of view “PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE” is the best play ever written by Steve Martin. I’ve heard great things about “Bright Star,” his musical,  and haven’t had the good fortune of seeing it yet.

    Jill Manser has put together an enjoyable production of “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” up at Stagedoor Theater in Conifer. The tech end of this production is superb, and there are many happy-making suprises! 

     It’s 1904 and this imaginary meeting of these two geniuses at The Lapin Agile in Paris is one year before they revolutionized Art and Science. 

One with his mind-blowing cubist painting of “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” and the other with his publishing of “The Special Theory of Relativity.”

     The lighting and projection design by Tom Junker are outstanding! Kimberly Colisch(Germaine) and Anakay Hanold(Suzanne/Countess/Admirer) are ravishing decked out in the exquisite costumes created by Cheryl Faulkner and Jennifer Middleton.

     My guest for the evening thought the very well-executed set design by Biz Schaugaard and Dean Aniotes, reminiscent of a Van Gogh painting.

     It was great to see Denver favorite Clint Heyn ( a very funny Gaston) among the actors, most of whom were new to this reviewer.

     Director Manser has a good eye for casting, and visually Brian Dowling is perfect (the haircut is Awesome!) for Picasso.   As Einstein, Alex Hunter gets in some good comic licks, mussing up his hair, bugging out his eyes and sticking his tongue out. 

    There are lots of absorbing ideas about the comparison and contrast of Art and Science as well as how ideas emerge from the past…or was that the future? 

    If playwright Martin could always be this provocative intellectually, and as amusing as he is with this play and “The Underpants: a play,” one might be more encouraged to see his other works for the stage. Unfortunately, unfunny plays like “Meteor Shower” put a damper on that.

     You could have an evening of light-hearted fun taking a drive up the mountain for this amusing fantasy at The Stagedoor Theater in Conifer.


For tickets call 303-838-0809 or go online at