Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pardon My Dust
The Laundry on Lawrence: through April 6

     And Toto too Theatre Company is presenting the regional premiere of “Pardon My Dust” by Anne Welsbacher at The Laundry on Lawrence through April 6. It’s a two-person play about renowned theatre critic Dorothy Parker that features two of Denver’s finest actors:Billie McBride and Paul Page. McBride plays Parker who arrives at a “way station” after her death with lots of baggage.
     Paul Page plays the guide in the after life who prompts Parker to come to completion with the way she views herself in order for her to er move on.  Page also plays numerous other males who figured prominently in the late critic’s life.
     It’s an interesting concept and if you don’t know the very famous rhyming witticisms of the late great writer you may like this piece more than this reviewer did. However … most of Parker’s bon mots are so familiar one could speak them before the actors do.
     This is not to say that there is not much to be mined in a rewrite, which could eventually prove to be the mother lode.
     One wishes that the playwright might have chosen one specific time in Parker’s life to reminisce about and illuminate. As it stands the play jumps around from male friend to male friend and experience to experience until one grows tired of following it.
     This reviewer wanted either more of a focus on the experience of the Algonquin Round Table or on Parker's gripes about the unfairness of the way Hollywood producers treated screenwriters.
     At the risk of being redundant one must reitierate that it would seem that playwright Welsbacher has a good idea, which after a re-write or two could just turn into a really wonderful play. At this point though it’s not ready for prime time.
      Go anyway and support Ms. Welsbacher and And Toto too Theatre Company. Susan Lyles directs.

                                            Billie McBride as Dorothy Parker

At the Laundry on Lawrence, curtain  time 7:30, p.m. every Wed., Thu., Fri., Sat. until April 6
2701 Lawrence Street  www.andtototoo.orgMarlowe's Musings

“Man of La Mancha” is a Triumph! 
The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities: 3/26 – 4/14

     With his direction of “Man of La Mancha at Arvada Center Rod Lansberry has achieved The Impossible Dream – a pitch perfect production of this beloved Tony Award-winning musical.
          William Michals’ portrayal of Don Quixote/Cervantes stuns us with his magnificent baritone and riveting stage presence. His singing of “The Impossible Dream” is rousing and indelible.

      Opera diva Jennifer de Dominici brings the dulcet tones of her soaring soprano to the part of Aldonza/Dulcinea. Brava!

                             Left to right: Jennifer DeDominici and William Michals

     Eschewing the traditional casting of a short squat fat Sancho Panza, Director Lansberry opts for the slim, tall physiology of Ben Dicke. Visually jarring at first, Dicke endears with his bashful, goofy take on the character.

                                  Left to right: Ben Dicke and William Michals
     That said dear reader, what you must know is that every single member of this cast turns in a magnificent performance. Rob Costigan’s barber, Craig Lundquist’s Innkeeper, Sue Leiser’s Housekeeper, Jeremy Sortore’s Padre and Markus Warren’s Knight of the Mirrors are all exceptionally well portrayed. The cast list goes on to read like a who’s who in Denver Theatre including the stellar talents of  Robert Michael Sanders, Mercedes Perez, Mark Rubald, Daniel Langhoff, Danielle Porcellini, Jessica Hindsley, Chris LeBeau, Tim Howard, Joanie Brosseau and Andrew Diesner.
                     The Awesome cast of Arvada Center's "Man of La Mancha"
     Maestro David Nehls starts out tickling our ears with a single mandolin played onstage by one of the actors. It’s only later through incremental shifts in the volume that we arrive at the swelling grandeur of this stirring score. In this way Nehls’ music direction is in perfect alignment with Lansberry’s directorial decision to make us as audience feel that everything in the production – even the music – originates in this filthy dungeon.
     The choreography by Kitty Hilsabeck is correct and precise in modestly serving the concept without ever slipping into excess.
     The scenic design by Brian Mallgrave is quite simply his best to date. That’s quite a statement having seen the exquisite work this artist has done over the years. However … this time he has outdone himself. The dungeon he’s created is a sprawling masterpiece that spans the length and width of the stage using every square inch to great effect.   With its lanterns dangling from the ceiling and its creaky drawbridge of a staircase Mallgrave allows us the illusion of a subterranean cavern into which the Grand Inquisitor sends his minions to lead prisoners to their death.
      Shannon McKinney’s lighting design dazzles.

     The direction of this musical by Rod Lansberry is without equal so far this season. The maestro’s incomparable vision is stamped on every aspect of each scene.
            It’s electrifying!Marlowe's Musings

The Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; 1p.m. Wednesdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays.

Tickets range from  $53-$83, at or 720-898-7200.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Whether you like dark serious contemporary theatre or dark serious existential theatre you can't go wrong seeing: "Doubt," "Race" and "Endgame."

Erik Tieze and Anne Oberbroeckling

   Doubt: a Parable
    Cherry Creek Theatre: through March 31

     John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt” won the 2005 Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize. Cherry Creek Theatre’s stunning production thereof will leave you breathless.

     Sister Aloyisius, a self righteous principal of a Catholic school in the Bronx, suspects Father Flynn of acting in an inappropriate fashion with one of the male students.
     Anne Oberbroeckling electrifies as Sister Aloysius in Cherry Creek Theatre's outstanding production of 'Doubt.' 
     Eric Tieze is a superb Father Flynn. 
     Richard H. Pegg's direction is Masterful! 
     One of the best productions of this season!

Cherry Creek Theatre presents
"Doubt: A Parable"
March 8 - 31
Fri/Sat @ 7:30 p.m.; Sun @ 6:30 p.m.
$28 Adult; $25 for seniors/students; $23 for Groups of 10+
Shaver-Ramsey Showroom, 2414 East 3rd Ave., Denver, CO 80206
Seating is limited.
(*please note closing date change from March 23)

Left to right standing:Joseph Graves, Krisangela Washington and Richard Cowden. Seated is Brian Landis-Folkins

The New Edge Theatre: 3/15 - 4/7
      A rich white man who’s been accused of raping a black woman in The Edge Theatre’s production of David Mamet’s “Race.”
    This play which Mamet says is about “race and the lies we tell each other on the subject,” is a thoroughly absorbing evening of theatre directed by Rob Kramer.
     The director has paced the show at a nice clip while choosing to bridge the scenes by telescoping time in a cinematic way. Kramer achieves this effect by having the actors, seen by the audience in half-light, move in slow motion from their blocking in the scene just ended to the one that follows. The effect is one of soothing fluidity in this play that seethes with raw racial tension.
     Director Kramer has cast two well-known Denver actors and two new ones. The faces you will recognize from previous plays are Brian Landis Folkins and Richard Cowden.
     Folkins plays Charles Strickland, a rich white man who is accused of raping a black woman. Cowden leads the cast with a powerful performance as the white senior partner in a firm that is being asked to represent the accused.
     Cast in the roles of the African American members of this law firm are new actors Krisangela Washington and Joseph Graves. With only a couple of weeks of rehearsal under his belt Mr. Graves gave a formidable performance as Henry. As Susan, the youngest member of the firm, Ms. Washington turned in a performance of deceptive innocence that intrigues.
The show is being produced at The Edge Theatre’s new home at 1560 Teller Street. Check it out!

March 15 - April 7*(please note date change)
Fri. / Sat. @ 8 p.m.; Sun. @ 6 p.m. and Saturday, March 30 & April 6 @ 2:00 p.m.
$20 adult / $16 student & seniors
*303-521-8041 or online at
*The Edge Theatre, 1560 Teller Street, Suite 200, Lakewood CO 80214. Free Parking.

Spark Theatre: through March 30
     To paraphrase Edward Albee in an interview some time ago, “One of Samuel Beckett’s plays should be onstage at all times in our cities.” That’s a huge nod of confidence from our greatest living playwright.

     Spark Theatre Company’s production is thoroughly well produced. This is the perfect way to see Beckett’s play. The appointment of the stage is minimal and correctly so. The seating is so intimate with the actors it’s almost claustrophobic. Once you’re in your seat you’re gonna be there til the final curtain. It makes one think of Jean Paul Sartre, another existential playwright, who also found that there was “No Exit.”

Andrew Uhlenhopp directs the show with a slow pace that’s exactly right and a sure grip on the proceedings as well.

Chris Kendall’s performance as Nag is outstanding!

This production will make you feel uncomfortable as you study two old folks in trash cans and one blind man who can’t stand assisted by a young man who can’t sit.

It’s seriously well done existential theatre that will give you a good dose of reality therapy. If “Endgame” is not among your memories of the late great playwright philosophers you had better get on over and make it one.

This is your homework!

8:00pm Thursday Friday and Saturday through March 30.
Spark Theater –
985 Santa Fe Drive
Denver, CO 80204
Phone 720-346-7396

Saturday, March 16, 2013

   The Doyle and Debbie Show
 The Garner Galleria: 3/5 – 7/14

               Jennifer Blood and Bruce Arntson

  It looks as if The Garner Galleria has another one of those shows that will run forevah!!!!!!

      Bruce Arntson gets high marks for his intentionally goofy performance as Doyle, a third rate country western singer has-been who's makin' a come-back! Doyle's womanizin' his way west with annoying idiocyncracies and a ten gallon hat full of braggadocio. Arntson, who created the show, also wrote the funny, if very ‘politically incorrect’ lyrics.
      Jennifer Blood is Doyle's third Debbie. A single mother hoping to make it to Nashville on Doyle's coat tails, Blood's Debbie  provides the exact right pouty feminine contrast to Doyle’s grinning male chauvinism. Ms. Blood’s delivery of “The ABCs of Love” drew rapturous applause and lots of laughter from the audience on press night. 
     “D and D” was a little slow getting out of the chute on the night this reviewer was in attendance, but once it did it thundered down the macho sh*#head racetrack created by Mr. Arntson (as writer) like a thoroughbred. Arntson's lyrics are deliciously funny in a charming redneck sort of way. The only problem is that sometimes the patter is set at such a frenetic pace you aren’t able to catch all the jokes. That's not to say that the delivery by Ms. Blood and Mr. Arntson is not superb. It is.
      These two artists are at their best singing such soon to be classics as “Think of Me When You’re Screwin’ Other Women” and “Fat Women in Trailers.”
     Kevin Depinet’s Honky Tonk scenic design will put you in mind of that of The Denver Center Attractions runaway hit “Always, Patsy Cline.” Depinet gives us a dive somewhere on the lonesome trail of country western wannabes and has-beens. The walls are plastered with beer adverts and autographed posters.
     Annie Freeman's costume design is spot on. Freeman has bedecked Ms. Blood in a fringe-edged mini dress featuring a steer with one of its horns through a bleeding heart. Mr. Arntson’s shirt features female silhouettes similar to those you may remember from mud flaps on those fourteen wheelers toolin’ down I-25.
     The guitar playin’ makes “I Ain’t No Homo But You Sure Look Good to Me” what Montanans call a true 'near-near' song.  ('Near-Near' bein' the sound the fingers make on the strings of course.)
     Arntson’s country scattin’ is outstanding and his yodelin’ at least as good as that of Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Mucous.”
     What other musical can one leave humming the tune of a song entitled “Fat Women in Trailers?”

Denver Center Attractions
For tickets call: (303) 893-4100
1101 13th St, Denver, CO 80204
Cross Streets: Near the intersection of 13th St and Arapahoe St
Neighborhoods: Downtown
Mar 2, 2013-Jul 14, 2013
Garner Galleria Theatre
Performance times:
Tue-Sun 7:30pm
Sat & Sun 2pm
Run Time: 90 min no intermission
Groups 10+: 303.446.4829
Age Recommendation: ages 15+. Contains adult themes, language and sexual innuendo.Marlowe's Musings

Saturday, March 9, 2013

                          The Pitmen Painters
                          Miners Alley Playhouse: 3/1 – 4/7
Left to right: Peter David Giffin, Mark Collins, Tim Fishbaugh, Paul Borrillo, Brandon Palmer and Sam Gilstrap. Photo credit to Sarah Roshan
          Can working class blokes ever have a real understanding of Art? Could they ever hope to learn how Art is created? Would it be possible for men who work ten hours a day in a dank, dark coal mine ever hope to create Art? These are a few of the initial questions that you’ll find yourself asking as the cast at Miners Alley Playhouse takes the stage.
          “The Pitmen Painters” is one of the most engaging evenings of theatre so far this season. It’s a jewel of a play by Lee Hall, the author of Billy Eliot. Based upon a true story, this play about a group of English coal miners in the 1930s has great heart and real humanity. It’s a beautifully written play about a group of miners who arrange for an Art instructor to speak to them about the meaning of Art. When the study of the great paintings of the Renaissance proves a challenge they agree to attempt painting on their own.
            Rick Bernstein is at the top of his game with his direction. There’s more than a touch of the poet in the superbly crafted performances he elicits from this cast.
            Mark Collins, Jan Cleveland and Paul Borillo stand out in an ensemble that is uniformly brilliant. Mark Collins is outstanding as a man who is finding his way in the world of Art while trying to remain true to himself and the ethics of his new profession. 
                                                                      Mark Collins
                                                              Photo credit Sarah Roshan
Cleveland’s performance is supremely elegant. Her graceful stage movement and crisp upper class accent provide the perfect contrast to that of these miners turned artists. The return to the stage of Mr. Borrillo is heartening indeed. Those who remember his brilliant work as Uncle Peck in “How I Learned to Drive” and Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird” will rejoice in his brilliant performance in the role of Harry Wilson. 
                                            Left to right: Peter David Giffin and Paul Borrillo
                                                          Photo credit: Sarah Roshan
        The sound design by Paige L.Larson and Jonathan Scott McKean is of the excellent variety. Besides the crisp clear notes of a Celtic fiddle there is an auditory picture of locomotive arriving that excels beyond words. 
        Caitlin Alexander’s costume design is spot on. The gowns she’s created for Ms. Cleveland are eye-poppers of the first magnitude. 
        The lighting design and projections provided by Jonathan Scott McKean enhance the production immeasurably.
         It’s a heart-opening experience to say the least.  Tears well up more than once in this fascinating discussion of Art and classism.
         This production comes with the highest of recommendations from this reviewer’s desk.

What happens when a bunch of British miners wander into a painting class?
Mar. 1 – Apr. 7
Fri. and Sat. @ 7:30 p.m. and Sun @ 6 p.m. (2 p.m. on Apr. 7)
$19.00 - $29.50; senior, student and group rates available.
303-935-3044 or online at
Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Avenue (13th and Washington 2nd floor entrance on 13th) in Golden, CO.
2 hours, 30 minutes (including one intermission) Marlowe's Musings

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

                                                  Town Hall Arts: 2/22 – 3/24

                      Based on the movie with the same title, "9 to 5: The Musical" rocks!

     Director Christopher Willard has paced “9 to 5” at a full gallop. His casting is great and the performances hilarious!
     The musical tracks put down by the divine Donna Debreceni are simply astounding!
     Kelly Kates’ choreography has the stars and ensemble at Town Hall Arts movin’ their feet in a decidedly delicious direction!
     Seth Caikowski’s badass boss is hysterically funny!
               Left to right: Lisa Finnerty, Alison Mueller, Seth Caikowski and Margie Lamb

       The three ladies you will remember from the movie are musical theatre ice cream.
     Margie Lamb’s Violet Newstead is rock solid as one might expect after the last several award-winning performances she’s done.
     The lovely to look at Lisa Finnerty gets to unleash her superb set of pipes in decidedly ear-pleasing fashion as Judy Bernly.
     Alison Mueller proves that she has more than a little of the look and sound of Dolly Parton in a very
fun portrayal of Doralee! 

                                         Left to right: Seth Caikowski and Alison Mueller

     Jona Alonzo’s boss-smitten Roz is hysterically funny.
     With Seth Alison on lights, Tina Anderson on set design and John Rivera handling the sound you gotta know that the technical end of things is handled magnificently.
      It’s Awesome! Marlowe's Musings

Town Hall’s production opens February 22, 2013 and runs through March 24, 2013. Show times are Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. (& 2:00 p.m. on 3/9) & Sundays at 2 p.m. (& 6:30 p.m. on 3/17).
Ticket Information:
Reserved seat tickets are currently on sale, priced $20.00-$40.00 at the Town Hall Arts Center box office, 303- 794-2787 ext. 5 (Monday - Friday: 10 a.m. to Noon/ 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday Noon to 4 p.m. and 1 Hour prior to Shows) or on-line at . In a continuing effort to make plays at Town Hall Arts Center accessible to all, ten value seats at $10 each will be made available on a first-come-first- served basis one-hour prior to each published curtain time.