Sunday, December 22, 2013

Young Frankenstein
Vintage Theatre: 12/20 – 2/2
     As a character in his own film, “History of the World Part I” Mel Brooks says: ”It’s Good to be the king.” Brooks truly is the king…of Comedy. His 1974 film “Young Frankenstein” is now a cult favorite. Many fans know every line right down to the accent the actors used. 
     In 2007 “Young Frankenstein, the Musical” was nominated for three Tony Awards and also received The Outer Critics Circle’s award for Best Musical.
     In Director Deb Flomberg’s production of “Young Frankenstein” there are laughs galore!  One of the nice directorial touches was Ms. Flomberg’s having the villagers running with cardboard cut-outs of the trees to give the illusion that the horse cart is moving in the number “Roll, Roll, Roll in Za Hay.”
Seth Maisel

     Seth Maisel does a fine job of portraying Frederick Frankenstein. Maisel’s  performance is full of the hysteria and panic one remembers from Gene Wilder’s portrayal of this character in the movie.
    Mark Shonsey is a hoot as Frankenstein’s coweled and hump-shifting assistant Igor.

Mark Shonsey

     Hunter Hall’s music direction gives us a very full sound from the offstage live orchestra. From time to time one might wish however, for a bit of volume modulation in the sound design so that none of the deliciously funny dialogue is missed.
    Mike Kienker’s portrayal of the monster is so funny it’s scary. Jamie Horban’s choreography is at its best in the “Puttin’ on the Ritz” number in which Mr. Kienker and Mr. Maisel take center stage. 
    Patrick Brownson’s Inspector Kemp contributes nicely.
     Douglas Clark has provided a very clever set complete with all things dungeon-like. Christopher Waller’s lighting design s filled with electrical zaps and bolts of lightning, which are magnified by Curt Behm’s thunderous sound design.
     Kristi Siedow-Thompson is a voluptuous and fetching Inga. 
     Shahara Ray’s Elizabeth is most memorable. When she gets to unleash her acting and singing prowess in her ode to her own vanity: “It’s me, it’s Me, It’s me” she is especially good! 
     The opening night crowd embraced the show with great laughter and huge applause.
Dec. 15 - Feb 2
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 31@ 6:30 p.m.
$31($26 advance)
303-856-7830 or online at
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010Marlowe's Musings 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Boulder’s Dinner Theatre: 11/16 – 3/1
     The 1975 movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” has been a cult favorite ever since it opened and its fans adore the musical it spawnedalot! In 2005 The Pythonesque musical won the Tony Award for Best Musical on Broadway.
      Goofy, silly, wacky and irreverent, “Spamalot” is a whimsical fantasia of the omnipotent variety. I can hardly wait to get back to see it again. This time the whole fam damily is going!
                                                     Wayne Kennedy and Alicia Dunfee
     Alicia Dunfee is magnificent as the Lady of the Lake. Ms. Dunfee is decked out in some of the most gorgeous costumes to have been seen this season. The gowns costume designer Linda Morken has created for Ms. Dunfee’s aquatic goddess  shimmer and sparkle throughout. Dunfee’s vocals are, as usual, outstanding.
     Wayne Kennedy is an Arthur who is disturbed, doubting and indubitably destined to discover the whereabouts of the Grail. Bob Hoppe is a superb Sir Robin. Brian Jackson has never been better as Sir Launcelot , a Knight of Ni and an epithet-spewing Frenchman on the battlements. The winsome, bodacious Brian Norber is a hoot as Dennis’s mother.  Brett Ambler, Blake Walton and Scott Severtson deliver the goods with just the right over the top over acting. And who would have thunk that the voice of Jerry Lewis is the actual Voice of God? Scott Beyette is delightfully subservient in the role of Patsy, Arthur’s longsuffering servant. And last but not least,the Lady of the Lake’s “Laker Girls” are given just the right cheerleading  pulchritude and chutzpah by Tracy Warren, Jessica Hindsley, Norelle Moore and Tracy Zimmerman.
Left to right: Brian Jackson, Wayne Kennedy, Scott Beyette and some short Knights of Ni
     Ms. Arpan directs with the sure hand of one who has known numerous actors in all of the roles in this show. This lady performed in this show on Broadway and was part of the national tour. Arpan really knows what works and what doesn’t as far as staging Monty Python’s funny “business.” Her direction emphasizes all the allusions to past musicals inherent in the show. The Fiddler on the Roof (“You Won’t Succeed on Broadway”…if you don’t have any Jews) and Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera” (“The Song that goes Like This”) are just two of these. There are also jabs at “Wizard of Oz,” “West Side Story” and numerous other musicals.
     Amy Campion has done wonders with the set and Todd Debreceni’s Armor Fabrication and Design is astounding. The fun quotient of this show is exponential and the laugh meter is nearly always on hyperdrive!
Oh, and if you order the Prime Rib your waiter will shout “Fetchez la vache!”
For tickets call 303-449-6000 or go online at
Boulder’s Dinner Theatre is located at 5501 Arapahoe Avenue
, Boulder, Colorado

For tickets call 303-449-6000 or go online at
Boulder’s Dinner Theatre is located at 5501 Arapahoe Avenue
Boulder, Colorado.

Monday, December 2, 2013

    Town Hall Arts; 11/15 – 12/29
     With Bob Wells’ direction of his new production of “Annie” Town Hall Arts continues its claim to being one of the very best musical theatre venues in the region.
     Wells has discovered a phenomenal talent in Sydney Fairbairn. She’s that little girl with the red hair and the indomitable hope for Tomorrow. It doesn’t hurt that she’s cute as a button and can sing either. We’ve seen enough reproductions of this show in which the child actors are just not up to the task. And while we’re on the subject the ensemble of little girls in the orphanage is superb to a waif. Running the orphanage as Miss Hannigan is LuAnn Buckstein, one of Denver’s foremost talents in comedic acting. It is to be hoped that Ms. Buckstein will be seen again soon in productions such as this one. Her talent for character roles is remarkable. 
     Daniel Langhoff is outstanding in the role of Daddy Warbucks. A bit youngish for the role, Langhoff does smashing work. His duets with Ms. Fairbaim ("Something was Missing" and "I Don't Need Anything But You") as well as his delivery of numbers such as “N.Y.C.” stun!
                               Rebekah Ortiz, Daniel Langhoff and Sydney Fairbairn 

     Rebekah Ortiz, who knocked everyone out in Ignite’s “Pippin, proves a fetching Grace.
     Cory Wendling's fiery performance in the role of Rooster tears the place up accompanied by Taylor Nicole Young's superb Lily.
                  Left to Right: Cory Wendling, LuAnn Buckstein and Taylor Nicole Young

     There are great talents in the supporting cast as well: Damon Guerrasio, Paul Jaquith, Kevin Walton, Kateri Cates and John Mackey.
     The technical work is flawless. Tina Anderson’s set design moves us in Bob Wells’ seamlessly precise transitions from orphanage to mansion to Times Square with artistry that’s illuminated by Seth Allison’s eye-popping lighting design.
     Donna Kolpan Debreceni has provided us with ear pleasing tracks of the indescribably delicious variety.
     Kelly Kates’ choreography is exhilarating!
     Cindy Franke’s costumes are spot on.
     You’ll have to pray to the theatre gods to get a seat. The run is nearly SRO!

Town Hall Arts is at 2450 West Main Street, Littleton Colorado
Call 303-794-2787  for tickets or go online at

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Snow Falling on Cedars
Vintage Theatre: 11/22 – 12/15

     Spare and clear as Haiku, Director Sam Wood’s “Snow Falling on Cedars” is also illuminating and poignant.
     Based upon the David Guterson novel that became a movie in 1999, the story deals with a newspaper reporter who’s covering a murder trial. A fisherman has been killed in Puget Sound and the man accused of the murder is the husband of the reporter’s teenage girl friend.
Left to Right: Arlene Rapal and Ben Cowhick

     Ben Cowhick turns in a superb performance in the role of Ishmael Chambers, the reporter. Arlene Rapal is outstanding as Hatsue. Dale Li rivets as Kabuo Miamoto the accused man. Glenna Kelly turns in a very fine performance as the mother of the deceased fisherman.
     The play includes flashbacks to scenes involving the American concentration camps for the Japanese while the War in the Pacific raged.
Left to Right: Robert Payo and Maria Cheng

     Director Wood has brought together a fine cast that also includes Maria Cheng, Robert Payo, Wade Wood, Roger Simon, Brian Brooks and Christian Munck.    
     Although one bank of lights failed to work on opening night the gallant cast managed to carry off the riveting drama with professional panache.
     The evocative sound design is one of the memorable highlights.

Vintage Theatre presents
"Snow Falling on Cedars"
A courtroom drama, a mystery, a love story set in a community divided by whites and Japanese.
*Nov. 22 - Dec. 15
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2:30 p.m.
$25 ($20 advance)
303-856-7830 or online at
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010Marlowe's Musings


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Death by Miss Fortune
Windsor Gardens Theatre Company

     Pamela Clifton has directed a very fun production of a play called “Death by Miss Fortune” over at Windsor Gardens.
           Mary Julsen and Ed Loffredo

     It was a genuine pleasure to get to experience the presentation of this comic pastiche. Clifton, who also wrote the script, has assembled an adorable and enthusiastic cast who are learning the dramatic arts and having a ball in the process.
     The scenario communicated by these thespians is that of a playwright who is writing a mystery involving a murder at a talent show. The seniors who brought this comedy to life are getting a chance that many would envy. They are embracing this lucky opportunity with enthusiasm and passion.
                           Lynn Nicholson

     The auditorium at which, Clifton and her cast present their shows is comfortable and elegant. This is a group of actors who really know what it means to entertain a sold out house and having a great good time themselves.Marlowe's Musings

Rancho Mirage
Curious Theatre: through Dec. 7
     Sometimes one is simply overwhelmed by the artistry on the Denver stage. For a rolling world premiere “Rancho Mirage” rocks. It’s the funniest of Steven Dietz’s plays to date and one of the most entertaining productions to have been seen at Curious for a long time. 
     Director Christopher Leo has assembled a cast of Curious Theatre’s brightest stars and gives the proceedings a quicksilver pace that keeps us totally enthralled throughout.
     Playwright Dietz has great compassion and a great sense of humor about his characters’ frailty, frustrations and foibles.  These characters are friends in the true sense of the word. Since they know each other so well the are able to

Left to right: C. Kelly Leo and Karen Slack

annoy and madden each other with their petty peeves and critical gaze. What they do for the audience is destroy funny bones.
     Bill Hahn pulls out all the stops with a performance that is comic gold! C. Kelly Leo is at her best in a searing melt down near final curtain. Karen Slack, Erik Sandvold, David Russell and Devon James are all at the top of their game.
                                        Left to right: Bill Hahn, C. Kelly Leo and Karen Slack

      The professionalism is everywhere present and there is a budget that allows for visual and auditory satisfaction many times missing in theatres with a more modest allowance. Every actor onstage delivers Mr. Dietz’s wordsmithing with an undeniable naturalness. Everything feels fresh and as if these characters were all encountering these dilemmas for the first time. Dietz’s characters have known each other forever…know the buttons to push as well as the pitfalls of conversation to avoid - and in no time flat - to wallow around in with glee.
     It’s Christopher Leo’s best directorial work to date and it will make you roar!

Curious Theatre Company
1080 Acoma St.
Denver, CO 80204     For tickets go online to or call the box office at 303-623-0524Marlowe's Musings

Friday, November 8, 2013

Electra Onion Eater
Buntport Theatre: 11/1 - 11/23Left to right: Erik Edborg, Andrew Horwitz, Erin Rollman and Hannah Duggan
     Buntport Theatre is a gift of the gods! Their lampooning of Sophocles’ Greek tragedy ”Electra” is a delectable ambrosia.
     “Electra Onion Eater” proves once again that the demigods over at Buntport have the recipe for turning the most tragic tale into an evening of theatre that’s an Olympian laugh riot! Anyone who saw their send-up of Shakespeare’s “Titus” knows that.
     The genius of this troupe is that they are able to sublimate ego (Really? I know!) and collaborate in the writing and directing in order to bring forth shows that are somehow sublimely smart and sensationally silly.
     This one is sort of a tragedy of the geeks that gives us a mash-up of contemporary sit com and advert jingle while providing a nudge and a wink to the mask which uneasy wears the frown.
      Hannah Duggan is the magnificently breezy and carefree matriarch, Clytemenestra. Erin Rollman is her hysterical (and hysterically funny) daughter Electra who, continues to grieve for her dead daddy Agamemnon by cryin’ like a rat eatin’ onions. Erik Edborg is Orestes, Elektra’s long lost 

      In this glimpse into the dirty laundry of one of the original dysfunctional families of Greek theatre the Buntport crew has brought in guest artist Andrew Horwitz as friend of the fam, Brucey-Goosey.
     Even if you have never heard of Sophocles’ “Electra”…No Worries! The show’s so tight you get it all right from the start.
     This show comes with the highest of recommendations from this reviewer’s desk.Marlowe's Musings

Buntport Theatre is located at 717 Lipan St Ste B Denver, CO 80204 Call (720) 946-1388 or go online at for tickets

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
The Edge Theatre Company: Through 11/17
     There is a fine production of Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” at The Edge Theatre.  Directed by Angela Astle, The Edge continues its reputation for taking risks.
     Brian Landis Folkins’ portrayal of Brick is a compelling one that is modulated with true craftsmanship.

Brian Landis Folkins and Maggy Stacy

     Maggy Stacy’s sultry performance in the role of Maggie the cat is a convincing one.
    Emma Messenger is outstanding as Big Mama. Her character is deliciously real in her aggravating and annoying characterization.
                            Maggy Stacy and Emma Messenger

     Marc Stith’s Gooper is imbued with so much humanity one feels an empathy for a character one generally dislikes.
     Russell Costen’s Big Daddy is powerful.
                                    Russell Costen
     Justin Lane’s scenic design for Astle’s vision of this in the round presentation is extremely well done. Aided by the sound design of Kenny Storms and Steve Caldarola’s lighting design the show is blessed with external natural sounds and explosions of fireworks. Caroline Smith’s costumes are spot on.

Photo Credit: Rachel D Graham / RDGPhotography

The Edge Theatre
"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"
The classic favorite story of a Southern family in crisis.
Oct 18 – Nov 17
Fri./Sat. @ 7:30 p.m.; Sun. @ 6 p.m.
Tickets: $20 - $22
303-232-0363 or online at
The Edge Theatre, 1560 Teller Street, Suite 200, Lakewood CO 80214. Free Parking.Marlowe's Musings

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Book of Mormon

Buell Theatre: 10/23 – 11:24

     Dear reader, please be aware that this review is a rave that’s going to be one long list of kudos for a show that is outstanding in every way.
     Denver Center Attractions is to be lauded for bringing us this superb production of a show which has won: nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Book (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone) as well as the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical; five Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album; four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Musical, and the Drama League Award for Best Musical.
                                                                    Nic Rouleau
      From the moment one enters the auditorium of the Buell Theatre and sets eyes upon the magnificent frontispiece for “The Book of Mormon” he is aware that something on the order of a grand celestial event will occur when the curtain rises.  The crashing waves of what must by the Great Salt Lake seem to rise and blend with the luminous clouds of heaven as the golden image of the angel Moroni heralds good news from above the proscenium.
     Everything about this production is high, wide and handsome. Directors Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker have cast this show with triple threats. 
     The performance by Nic Rouleau in the role of Elder Price is outstanding both vocally and in the acting. A.J. Holmes as Elder Cunningham stuns

     The choreography and the dancing thereof is exhilarating!
        The humanity inherent in this seemingly blasphemous piece is so richly evident. Sometimes people forget to look below the surface of Great Art. Issues which are not topics of household discussion that are exposed include the circumcision of women and the annihilation of people in third world countries by the spread of AIDS.
       The lyrics of the musical number “Turn it Off” which skewer the idea that all one has to do to eliminate his sexual orientation is to “turn it off like a light switch,” are hilarious. The book and lyrics for “The Book of Mormon” continue in the vein of the “South Park" authors’ reputation for being geniuses at showing us society’s foibles and fallacies. This is superbly done laser-sharp Swiftian satire!
     Some of the musical numbers lampoon familiar songs from the canon of Broadway’s classics. “The Lion King” provides a zinger early in the show and the number near final curtain, in which the Africans perform their own personal misinterpretation of the history of Mormonism may remind those in attendance  of the “Small House of Uncle Thomas” in “The King and I.”
      I missed “The Book of Mormon” the first time around.
     This production truly is the second coming!
Single tickets for THE BOOK OF MORMON start at $35. To charge by phone, call Denver Center Ticket Services at 303.893.4100. TTY (for Deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons): 303.893.9582. Additionally, tickets may be purchased at the Denver Center Ticket Office, located in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby. Buy

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Vintage Theatre: 10/11 – 11/10
     Heartfelt and moving, Vintage Theatre’s production of “Shadowlands” deserves your patronage.
 Lorraine Scott and Craig A Bond have co-directed the show with a tender eye focused on that great inner debate we all have over when to let the head lead and when the heart.
     Here it centers on C.S. Lewis, the philosopher, theologian and author of the Narnia tales as he thinks through the great question of why God allows suffering. As he does he misses or nearly completely misses the gift that keeps knocking at the door to his own heart.
     Verl Hite lends a certain nobility to the role of the reserved writer and provides a strength that is shored up by the understated humor of the writing.
                                      Left to Right: Stephanie Schmidt and Verl Hite

     Stephanie Schmidt provides dynamic contrast to the over-thinking propriety of her English friend. Her ability to be out-spoken without ever appearing sharp or attacking – even when attacked by the philosopher’s friend – draws us in and makes the final scenes more touching than they might otherwise have been.
    Wade Livingston shines as “Warnie,” C.S. Lewis’ brother. The naturalness of his performance is quiet and assured. One only wishes there could have been a puff of smoke or two from his omnipresent pipe.
                                     Left to Right: Verl Hite and Wade Livingston
                                           Photo credits: DenverMind Media
     Frank Haas’ exquisite lighting design allows for the mundane and the sublime to intermingle.
     Tobias Harding’s scenic design is striking and innovative with its tilt of soaring bookcases flanking the playing space.
      Scott and Bond have provided us as audience with a supporting cast that is a good one and looks so authentic it could be used for any number of Dickens productions. This show touches us deeply.

Oct. 11 - Nov 10
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2:30 p.m.
$25 ($20 advance)
303-856-7830 or online at
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010 Marlowe's Musings

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Full Monty
Boulder’s Dinner Theatre: 9/6 – 11/9
A musical with a lot of great thongs!
     “The Full Monty” is a big-hearted musical about a bunch of average Joe blue-collar steelworkers who are depressed because they’re out of work and because their wives are high on ogling a group of touring male strippers. You gotta know that this is real Honest To God great acting because there is nothing about the cast and crew at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre that’s “average” anything. What you get when you go to BDT is high wide and handsome in every way imaginable!
      The play centers on Jerry, a lovable guy who’s just found out he’s about to lose custody of his son. His response is to round up the guys in the neighborhood and talk them all into starring in a strip show to make some bucks and shore up their reputations for being gutsy guys who just happen to be down on their luck.
     Seth Caikowski turns in a stellar performance in the central role of Jerry Lukowski. The song: Breeze off the River” Jerry sings to his son Keno is truly heartfelt and moving.
     Joel Adam Chavez is touching and funny as David Bukatinski, Jerry’s pudgy buddy.     
     Scott Beyette, who also directs the show, is Harold Nichols, a former boss of this crew and who’s gonna teach the guys how to hoof it while they “Let it Go” onstage.
     The always-outstanding Joanie Brosseau portrays Nichols’ wife Vicki with a sparkle and flair that astounds.
     Shelly Cox-Robie plays Jeanette Burmeister, the tough and lovable showbiz accompanist with her own indelibly endearing musical theatre stamp.
      Brett Ambler’s Malcolm McGregor is introduced in ”Big-Ass Rock,” a darkly comic number about a botched suicide from which he’s saved by Jerry and Dave. Malcolm is saved again by Burke Walton’s Ethan (the Donald O’Connor wannabe) in another moment of grief later in the show.
     Robert Johnson’s Noah “Horse” T. Simmons gets to let it more or less all hang out figuratively speaking in his showstopper, “Big Black Man.”
     Even the supporting cast is full of stars: Jessica Hindsley, Alicia Dunfee, Amanda Earls, Bob Hoppe, Matthew Peters, Tracy Warren, Scott Severtson…The list goes on and on!
     Neal Dunfee’s conducting of the just offstage BDT stage orchestra is phenomenal.
     Although what goes on is less important in many scenes than what comes off Linda Morken’s costume design is spot on. Oh and don’t be surprised if you see a lot of ‘ladies night out’ ladies with their eyeballs pasted to the…er stage.
     It's awesome fare onstage and on your table! 
     Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!Marlowe's Musings

Tickets for The Full Monty are on sale now. Prices start at just $37, and include both the performance and dinner served by the stars of the show. All tickets for opening weekend (Friday, September 6 - Sunday, September 8, 2013) are just $37. Group rate tickets and season subscriptions are available for all performances throughout the year. Call (303) 449-6000 or log on to for reservations and/or additional details about the show.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company: 9/27 – 10/20

     Theresa Rebeck’s “Seminar” is a play about four wannabe writers who have paid a well-known literary figure to take a look at their work and tell them what they need to know to succeed as well. The instructor they’ve chosen is honest beyond words and eviscerates their work with pleasure after reading a few pages of the opening of each of their texts.
     The work is provocative and features one superior performance by one of Colorado’s best.  John Ashton turns in a studied portrayal of the embittered instructor. To this reviewer’s not so humble eye and ear Ashton’s delivery of the  role of the scruffy Leonard may well be the best performance by this artist to date. The co-author of one of Denver’s longest running plays “Murder Most Fowl,” Ashton shines in the role.
                                Devon James, John C. Ashton and Matthew Blood-Smyth
     The four actors cast in the roles of his students are artists to watch for in every program. They are: Sean Scrutchins(Martin), Devon James(Kate), Matthew Blood Smyth(Douglas) and Mary Kay Riley(Izzy).
     Rebeck’s play is full of wit, wisdom and vitriol. However … although it’s true that some critics may be able to get the flavor of a work in just a few pages one wonders if it might not be helpful to read the entire work in order to critique structure, theme and character. I’m just sayin.’
     The publicity for this show describes the production as having “mature language and brief nudity.” Perhaps it is right about the language being somewhat “mature.” The “brief nudity” was however, quite simply out of place and just plain wrong given the time and place.
     That said, the production is a worthy one coming with high recommendations from this reviewer’s desk. Ron Mueller’s set design speaks volumes presenting as it does the exaggerated contrast of the habitat of the neophyte writer and that of the seasoned professional. Stephen Weitz directs.

Venue: The Dairy Center for the Arts - Carsen Theatre
2590 Walnut Street, Boulder, CO 80302
For tickets call 303-444-7328 or go online at