THE VALUE OF NAMES
Jeffrey Sweet’s well-intentioned play “The Value of Names” is now on view at the Pluss Theatre in The Mizel Arts and Culture Center.
Director Richard Pegg can usually pace a show with a desirable rate of movement or progress that entrances and rivets. Here, not so much. The cast is a good one in that all three actors are superb. One, however, is miscast. This is the direction as well.
The subject matter is something that should grab us by the heartstrings and squeeze unmercifully. However…. Even the writing of these characters feels a bit forced and contrived. The likeliness of the blackguard who black listed a screenwriter feeling ok enough to reenter the life of this man in order to direct his talented daughter? I don’t think so! And that a loving Jewish father would reject her even after she makes an attempt to placate him? Not so much.
Pegg has designed a fine set that has been simply and pleasantly appointed. Joe Bakun, one of our finest local artists, has done a superb job of painting it.
I must say that to see Lisa Rosenhagen onstage this reviewer would resort to just about any measure.
Likewise Roger Simon has talent that has shone brightly on many of the stages in Denver and Golden.
Dave Ufford, who is cast as the director who blacklisted Simon’s character back in the day is a fine actor. He is, however, in this reviewer’s not so humble opinion too young for the part.
The horrors that occurred in the McCarthy era are legend. Because of the heinous and hateful activities of McCarthy and his thugs many great men were ruined and many great talents toppled. A show dealing with this subject should leave you in tears. Unfortunately this reviewer must confess to being a little bit like Morales in “A Chorus Line” when she sings “I felt nothing.”
See it if you must.
One must add that if anyone would like to feel the tragedy engendered by McCarthy check out Woody Allen’s 1976 film, “The Front” that starred Zero Mostel and Herschel Bernardi.
Pluss Theatre at MACC 350 S. Dahlia St. Denver, Co 80246
Thurs., Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m. (preview, $12) Thurs., Sept. 13, 20; Oct. 4, 11, 25, 7:30 p.m. Sat., Sept. 8, 15, 22, 29; Oct. 6, 13, Nov. 3, 8 p.m. Sun., Sept. 9, 23, 30: Oct. 7, 14, 2 p.m; Sun., Oct. 21, 1:30 p.m; Sun., Oct. 28, 2:30 p.m; Sun., Nov. 4, 1 p.m.
Tickets: $20—25 Ask about group reserved seating, ticket prices, and post-performance talkbacks for your group of 10 or more. Early bird special: All tickets $20 if purchased by Sept. 1. Talkbacks: Sept. 15, 22; Oct. 13, 28Marlowe's Musings