Monday, April 29, 2013

“A Knight To Remember”
                             Buntport Theatre: 4/18 – 5/11
                                                                      Brian Colonna 
    “A Knight to Remember” relates the tale of a young man who now 35 has never been as happy as he was in fourth grade. Brian Colonna’s autobiographical illumination of his memories of his fourth grade crush on a girl who didn’t know where to put her hands touches. Even the orthodontist from his childhood gets into the mix by way of a tee shirt bearing the inscription: “Stainless Steel Sex Appeal.”
        Simplistic-seeming yet saucily savvy, Colonna’s script allows for the intervention of other cast members who take HUGE pleasure in deftly breaking all theatrical rules with childlike abandon.  Only the audience takes more pleasure in their antics than they do! Examples of these are: When you don’t have lines you don’t talk. Or if you are not in the scene then you don’t stick your head out from the side curtain in view of the audience. “A Knight to Remember” is a return to childhood with reminiscences based on a book about “Knights.” It’s part “Fellini- Amarcord”(“I Remember”) and part The Marx Bros’ “A Knight at the Opera”  … without a lot o’ Spam. (Sorry!) There is grandiose movie music that gives the auditory illusion of Hollywood chivalry at its most florid.          
                                                                      Brian Colonna
In one scene Sir Brian appears as Sirs Lionel, Sagramore, and Dinadan in projections of various lobby fotos of Vanessa Redgrave’s Guinevere singing “Take Me to the Fair.” As we listen to the voice over of Julie Andrews from the Broadway version of “Camelot” we get one of the most hilariously correct similes in the show. “Her voice is like a clean white shirt drying in the sun.” Beyond that there is an amazing suit of armor and a chivalric mount that will make the producers of “War Horse” weep.

                                          Hannah Duggan, Erin Rollman and Brian Colonna
     A pencil experiment in which the adorable Hannah Duggan raps :“where’s my PENcil, where’s MY pencil, WHERE”S my pencil” while strutting around with a plush black chair pasted to her butt stuns. Duggan’s hilarious turn as the show’s onstage technical director for sound, lights and constantly changing and deliciously fluid set design is a hoot!
     Erin Rollman is her usual brilliant self in numerous roles including both of Brian’s parents, his fourth grade teacher and his fourth grade squeeze as well as a thoroughly minimal and delightfully innovative Lady of the Lake.
     Although I didn’t guffaw a whole lot in this one ... even after the show I had to sternly tell my happy face to stop smiling because it was getting EXTREMELY painful and I was starting to fear that the tragic face of the critic would never again be mine. Happily the tragic has returned and all is in critical condition again.
     To paraphrase the Bard’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream”: ”The short and the long of it is  - Buntport’s show is preferred.”
       It’s comic caviar on crackers!   
                                                       ("Not much of a cheese shop tho!")

Through May 11 at 717 Lipan Street, Denver CO.
720-946-1388  or
Marlowe's Musings

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Motherhood Out Loud
The Avenue Theatre: Through Mother’s Day and may extend again!!!

     In the intimacy of The Avenue Theatre this play with its superbly written monologues gives us heart opening gems about Mom that are sometimes heartbreaking and sometimes just plain sparkle with great humor.
     The stellar cast includes such talents as LuAnn Buckstein, Jane Shirley and Cindy Laudadio-Hill. New to this reviewer were director Wells’ fabulous new discoveries : Megan Heffernan and Samantha Provenzano. The male element is provided by the brilliant actor Jeff Kosloski. This actor’s monologue about a character who’s a gay papa is unforgettably poignant.
     The monologues in this play are full of lots of maternal moments that get illuminated by writers who work in film, theatre, television and newsprint. One can hardly imagine a better-written evening and director Wells has breathed life into the piece by his innovative reimagining it theatrically to ‘show’ rather than just ‘tell’ these stories.
     One scene involving a mother’s love for a son who has been deployed to foreign shores is extremely moving. Although one and all involved in this production are stellar, the show is led with magnificent aplomb by stars: Jane Shirley and LuAnn Buckstein. Seth Alison’s lighting design adds a different kind of ‘star’light. Bravo! I have only one criticism of “Motherhood Out Loud.” And it’s the title!
I couldn’t imagine any play with this title being of interest to me or my readership. How wrong I was!!!!!!!!  
     This show will make any day Mother’s Day and if you take her you’ll be glad you did. If she’s not in town you’ll be makin’ a call!

This show about Moms reminds us… you only get one!  Run to see it!

417 E. 17th Avenue  Denver, CO 80203
  Call 303-321-5925 for tickets! Marlowe's Musings

The Memory of Water
Miners Alley Playhouse: 4/19 – 5/26
     John Arp’s direction of “The Memory of Water” is smart and professional. His casting couldn’t be better and Arp keeps the proceedings moving at a clip that does not allow the show to ever descend into the maudlin. 
     The scenario is pretty much the same as that of Woody Allen’s homage to Ingmar Bergman in his screenplay for “Autumn Sonata.” Both Shelagh Stephenson’s play and Allen’s screenplay have the same armature. Three sisters have returned home to come to terms with the death of the matriarch. Unlike Allen’s film, after which one wishes to slit his wrists, “The Memory of Water” is full of warmth and humor. 
     The evening has a poignancy, which endears. It’s a female driven production with some of the best acting talent in the state. Lisa DeCaro, Paige Larson and Emily Paton Davies portray the three sisters. Deborah Curtis is the ghost/memory of their mother, Vi. The peripheral male characters in all of this - a husband and boy friend - are superbly read by Matthew Blood-Smythe and Kurt Brighton.
      There is a very fine lighting and projection design by award-winning Jonathan Scott McKean that illuminates McKean’s and Rick Bernstein’s appropriately self-effacing set. Ann Piano’s costume design is one of her best and lends a humorous lightness to the piece. You’ll see what I mean when you see it.
      “The Memory of Water” has a soothing flow to it and its resonance will bubble up in your consciousness throughout the week that follows. The truth that those who go before us are profoundly a part of us always is illuminated with beauty and great heart.This is a beautifully staged production that demands to be seen.
                    Left to right: Lisa DeCaro, Paige Larson and Emily Paton Davies

Miners Alley Playhouse presents
"The Memory of Water"
Apr 19 – May 26
Fri. and Sat. @ 7:30 p.m. and Sun @ 6 p.m. (2 p.m. on May 26)
$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.Marlowe's Musings

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sense and Sensibility
The Stage Theatre: April 5/ May 26

The Denver Center Theatre Company's production of "Sense and Sensibility, the Musical" is visually magnificent.

     Marcia Milgrom Dodge’s direction of “Sense and Sensibility, the Musical” is astounding! This artist has such a command of the essentials of stage movement and choreography one is swept joyously into the new musical based upon Jane Austen’s novel. The acting and singing is outstanding across the board. Stephanie Rothenberg and Mary Michael Patterson are both stunning as the Dashwood sisters. Rothenberg’s “We Must Have Sense” sets the tone of the piece superbly. Patterson’s “That’s Not Love” is quite simply marvelous. Especially enjoyable are Ed Dixon’s Sir John and Ruth Gottschall’s Mrs. Jennings. The character work done by Mr. Dixon and Ms. Gottschall succeeds brilliantly in punctuating the romantic melodrama.  Robert Petkoff stands out in remarkable fashion especially in his singing “Don’t Try to Change Her.”
Ruth Gottschall
                                               Mary Michael Patterson and Robert Petkoff

     The costumes by ESosa are eye-popping period beauties. Allen Moyer’s scenic design is magnificent. The lighting created by James F. Ingalls is outstanding. Music director and conductor Paul Masse has done yeoman’s work keeping his orchestra in the pit in perfect alignment with the vocals of the brilliant actors onstage. Happily the orchestra does not overwhelm the lovely vocals. However… the sound of the orchestra is sometimes a bit thin.  The opening scenes of Act One are of such a perfect nature in all ways that one expects this work to carry us forward to show’s end on the tide of its excellence.
     Unfortunately the musical’s book has trouble keeping us rapt due to its all too honorable attempt to keep all these characters and their intricate relationships true to those in the novel. It is always a daunting task to translate any work from one medium to another.  In this reviewer’s not so humble opinion it may be necessary to sacrifice a few of the songs replacing them with dialogue that moves things along more quickly.
     While the music, lyrics and choreography of the chorus’ songs such as “In Society” exhilarate some of the other songs linger a bit too long. Telescoping a few of these could help. The entr’acte is a dismal failure. It neither makes us recall the glorious tunes of Act One nor does it make us anxious to continue the journey. It should be reworked with an ear to auditory exuberance. If there were one song that one might wish to see eliminated it’s “Cry Baby Cry.” Its lamentable largo lament works in the way a lullaby might on a crowd late in an overlong show.
    If the writers are not afraid of an editor’s red pen, this musical could turn out to be a huge Broadway hit. 

It’s just common “Sense.”

Performance times:
April 11, 7:30pm
Tue-Thur: 6:30pm
Fri-Sat eve: 7:30pm
Sat-Sun mat: 1:30pm
May 5, 12 & 19 eve. 6:30pm
Tickets | Tours
303.893.4100 | 800.641.1222
TTY: 303.893.9582
Hours: 10am-6pm Mon-Sat

Did you know you could lose up to one pound of belly fat just attending a show directed by Bob Wells? It’s true. The belly laughs come so fast and furious you won’t need those green Diet coffee beans left over from St. Paddy’s Day or that personal trainer who’s such a tease. And if you see the show multiple times you may be featured in the lobby in semi nude before and after fotos, too! Who knew?
But I digress …
The 39 Steps
Town Hall Arts: 4/12 – 5/5

     Das ist der happy maker!  It vill tickle you down to your toesies und make you crazy mit gigglin.’ Bob Vells has given us reason to screamin’ mit laughter und hysterical makes us leavin’ us pantin’ und yukkin’ it up in der aisles.  It’s like a big triple helpin’ of Laughter Ale mit reason to lick-den steinen.  But I digress…  

     Bob Wells, you are a theatrical treasure! You have blessed Denver audiences with some of the most outstanding productions ever to have been seen in the Mile High Titty. And this one is pure theatre magic!

     It has gotten to the point that ads for theatre in this town should list the director above the title the way movies did back in the sixties. And that is because of your direction, Mr. Wells. There are also several others in this town who aspire to ascend to your way high upness! They would do well to model your method and madness. Your directorial treatment of this send-up of Alfred Hitchcock's movie is breathtaking.
     James O’Hagan Murphy, who just finished an SRO tour de force as RFK at Vintage Theatre has been cast as the matinee idol leading man in “The 39 Steps.” Whether it’s Torvald Helmer in The Byers-Evans House Theatre’s production of “A Doll’s House”, “RFK” at Vintage, or as the Hitch-cocky-an hero of Town Hall’s “The 39 Steps” one has come to know what outstanding work we will get from this artist.  Bravo!
Left to right: Eric Mather, MacKenzie Paulsen, James O'Hagen-Murphy and Seth Maisel

      Eric Mather is quite simply the maestro of funny bone demolition.  In this show, which does for Hitchcock what Mel Brooks did for Frankenstein, Mather knocks us out with physical comedy that is outrageously well done. Each and all of the many characters he portrays are stupefyingly funny.
      Seth Maisel unleashes a panoply  (see dictionary) of devastatingly funny idiotic characters that even includes a bit of an homage to Marty Feldman (the eyes have it!) in one very funny (I’m not telling!) Scottish scene.
      Mackenzie Paulsen is a stunning beauty with magnificent stage presence and dynamic theatrical instincts. Until now this reviewer had not seen her amazing work. From here on out I will be searching for her name in every program. And so should you, dear reader! Brava!
Seth Allison’s evocative lighting, Lori Worthman’s  ingeniously appointed revolving set,  Lori Worthman’s vintage costumes and John Rivera’s superb sound design  are all  spot on  in Wells’ production.
      The main suspense here is not so Hitchcockian however. It’s more about whether or not the old guy sitting next to you will pop his suspenders because his bowl full of jelly is bouncing so hard from the laughter. Well, I guess there is also the suspense of wondering whether Wells and company can make you laugh any harder than they have up until the moment at which you are trying to drag your sorry ass up off the floor and back into the theatre seat!
      In case you missed something… I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Town Hall’s production opens April 12 and runs through May 5, 2013. Show times are Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. (& 2:00 p.m. on 4/27) & Sundays at 2 p.m. (& 6:30 p.m. on 4/21).
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.Marlowe''s Musings

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Other Desert Cities
The Space Theatre: 3/29 – 4/28

     The Denver Center Theatre Company’s production of “Other Desert Cities” stuns!
       Playwright Jon Robin Baitz has written one of the best contemporary dramas to have been encountered by this reviewer in a very long time. Although the playwright has seemingly created Act One as a hard ball from political left field Act Two reveals family secrets that humanize its right wing characters. 
     It’s a play about a daughter’s return home to Palm Springs after a breakdown due to a beloved brother’s suicide. It seems that she's found her mental bearings by writing a play that’s a scathing expose full of shame and blame for her parents.   
     Director Kent Thompson has cast the play well and given it the leisurely pacing needed to allows the characters’ stories to unfold naturally and Baitz’s astoundingly well written dialogue to pop!
     Although one might wish for a bit more luminosity at final curtain in light of a revelation late in the play the affectionately drawn performance by Kathleen McCall as Brooke Wyeth the depressed daughter is stunning.
        With his portrayal of Lyman Wyeth the curmudgeonly patriarch, Michael Hartman delivers some smashing professional work enhanced with that inimitable gravel voice Denver audiences have come to love. 
        Polly, the unflinchingly acid-tongued matriarch of this clan is given a brilliant portrayal by Lauren Klein. The quips with which the playwright illuminates this character allow her to be as self revelatory as she is acerbically funny.
     Tracy Shaffer is a complete delight as Silda Grauman, Polly’s alcoholic sister, who once partnered with her in the writing of screenplays. John Patrick Hayden turns in a fine performance as Trip Wyeth that is by turns self pitying for being ignored and all whirring gears calculating his place in the inheritance simultaneously. James Kronzer’s superbly appointed set and the very fine lighting design by York Kennedy enhance the production.
      One of the very best productions to have been mounted by The Denver Center Theatre Company this season!

Single tickets for OTHER DESERT CITIES start at $35 (non-SCFD) and also are available for $10 (SCFD 10 for $10 program) and are on sale now.  To purchase, call Denver Center Ticket Services at 303.893.4100.  For groups of 10 or more, please call 303.446.4829.  TTY (for Deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons): 303.893.9582.  Tickets also may be purchased at the Denver Center Ticket Office, located in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby.  Buy and print online at  Student rush $10 tickets are available one hour prior to curtain with a valid student ID subject to availability.  Senior and military rush tickets are available one hour prior to curtain, subject to availability. No children under four will be admitted to any theatre.

Marlowe's Musings

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Vintage Theatre: 4-5 / 5/5

     Vintage Theatre’s “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” is the sexiest shit-kickin’ shindig in town!
     I had forgotten how much I LOVE this show about the Lone Star State’s famous brothel known affectionately as the Chicken Ranch!

                                          Boni McIntyre and Scott Bellot
     There is real chemistry between the silver throated Boni McIntyre  as Miss Mona, the madame with a heart of gold and Scott Bellot as Sheriff Ed Earl, her common ‘law’(get it?) boy friend.  Thanks to these two actors’ superb work you are really gonna feel the heart of Vintage Theatre’s head spinning, heart opening production.
     Director Deb Flomberg has cast the show with superb actors, who are hugely talented dancers and singers and who really know how to crank out those boot-tapppin’, knee slappin’ country numbers. Rachelle Wood’s performance as Angel and Lauren Cora Marsh’s as Shy dazzle us! Shahara Ostrand’s singing of Doatsy Mae is outstanding. Lisa Young (Jewel) blows the roof off with “24 Hours of Lovin’.”
      Patrick Brownson’s Governor is a side-stepping, side-splittin’ wonder. Chris Gallegos is a hoot as Melvin P. Thorpe. David Ballew and Preston Britton spice up the line dancin’ Aggie number  with just the right brand of sassy.
                                    The cast of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."

     Shaun Albrechtson’s set with its crème colored panels and cookie cutter designs give our memories a splash of Mississippi riverboat. Hunter Hall’s music direction of the in-your-face orchestra is amazing.
     Jamie Horban’s choreography keeps the viewer’s eye moving and everybody’s good lookin’ legs in the air. In short the evening is thoroughly enjoyable. If you miss this one your fun quotient for the month won’t be near what it could be.
     Yee Haw!

Vintage Theatre presents
"The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas"
 The musical about the little Texas brothel known as the Chicken Ranch.
Apr. 5 - May 5
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2:30 p.m.
$30 ($25 advance)
303-856-7830 or online at
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010Marlowe's Musings