Thursday, February 27, 2014

See What I Wanna See
Ignite theatre: 2/14 – 3/9

     Ignite Theatre's production of "See What I Wanna See," based on short stories written by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, is a jazzy musical adaptation with music, lyrics and book by Michael John LaChiusa.
     Director Robert Michael Sanders has cast the show with some great talent and the live stage orchestra, conducted by music director Heather Holt Hall is outstanding.
     The cast includes such Denver favorites as Lisa Mumpton, Daniel Langhoff, Steven Burge and Brian Walker-Smith.

     Burge and Langhoff deliver performances that are especially engaging.

      The musical tells two tales, both of which, center upon the nature of Truth. 

           The first tale recalls “Rashomon,” Akira Kurosawa’s filmic translation of Akutagawa’s work in which a tragic occurrence is seen through the eyes of each of the characters with their varying points of view. Which is true?
      In the second piece a priest in despair after the events of 911, loses his faith only to find it again when a hoax of a miracle he’s created impacts his belief in a singular fashion.
     The voices are strong and the music is intriguing in its often jazzy stylization.

  Although “See What I Wanna See” isn’t necessarily this reviewer’s cup of Saki, it has its merits.

     The production will make you hungry to see Kurosawa’s film again.

Tickets are:
$27 for ADULTS
$19 for STUDENTS
$24 (per person) GROUP OF 6 or MORE
Shows are:
February 14th - March 9th
Fridays and Saturday at 7:30 pm
Sundays at 2:30 pm
Aurora Fox Arts is located at 9900 E. Colfax, Aurora, Colorado 80010
Or go online at
Box Office: 720-362-2697
Marlowe's Musings

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

              Town Hall Arts: 2/21 – 3/23

     The best of four productions of this musical to have been seen by this reviewer, Town Hall’s “SWING” knocks it out of the park!
     Matt Peters’ direction is very fine. His choreography stuns!
     Rae Klapperich’s dancing is exhilarating eye-popping magic! Lithe, limber and lovely! How does it get any better than that?

    Left to Right: Stephen Bertles and Rae Klapperich

Stephen Bertles is the Rock of Gibraltar over, under and around which Ms. Klapperich dives soars and sparkles throughout.
     Raven-haired beauty Ronni Gallup, who stuns in the dancing of numerous routines, gives us true star quality.

   Tracy Kern and the male ensemble of "Swing"

     Tracy Kern unleashes her glorious soprano alongside Darren Kramer’s ultra- smooth virtuoso trombone until the rafters rattle with “Cry Me a River.”

                                          Anna High

     Anna High soars with her rich, sonorous renditions of such golden standards as “Blues in the Night” and “I’ll Be Seeing You in All the Old Familiar Places.”
     Seth Caikowski enhances the production ginormously with his great voice and sparkling comedic presence. Who knew he was a maestro of the ukelele?    
     Whether singing such well known numbers as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” or singing and dancing in ensemble moments, the multi-talented Matt La Fontaine is always engaging.
     Seth Alison’s lighting design dazzles!
     Most of the costumes created for SWING show off the glorious bodies of the stars to a fare thee well and are sparklin’ spot on! (Well, except for the ones in the Country Western number.)
     Although he’s great when scattin’ with Traci Kern in “Bli-Blip” Demetrius De Thomas needed to be miked better to keep up with this cast of power-house singers and dancers.

     Donna Debreceni’s stage band, which is onstage throughout, goes from cookin’ swingin’ jazz to laid back, steamy blues in a New York nano-second.
     One would be remiss not to mention with huge praise the reeds of Rob Rebholz, the trumpet of Rob Reynolds, the trombone of Darren Kramer, Scott Alan Smith’s guitar/bass and Tag Worley’s drums/percussion. This band is musical theatre gold.
     For you, dear reader, it simply means entertainment that’s the Mother Lode!

     Note:(If there were one other criticism of this show it would be regarding those floating cardboard notes that hang uselessly above the audience. Puh-leaze take them down and return to Beyond the Blackboard. Hopefully you still have the receipt.)

Town Hall Arts Center
2450 West Main Street
Littleton, Colorado 80120

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Parallel Lives
Miners Alley Playhouse: 1/31 – 3/9
Left to right: Gail Montgomery and Lisa DeCaro

     In Miners Alley Playhouse’s production of “Parallel Lives” two women play thirty different characters.
     At the top of the play two winged supreme beings argue about how to create the world. They return at the beginning of Act Two to observe how their Creation has evolved. The various vignettes that, form the body of the play are as diverse as life on earth can be.
     Director Len Matheo has cast two outstanding actors in Lisa DeCaro and Gail Montgomery. Both of these women are consummate artists. They are blessed with comedic talent of the genius variety and have energy, which is on hyper-drive throughout. The always-enchanting Ms. De Caro is an utter delight. This is the first time this reviewer has been regaled with the artistry of Ms. Montgomery and one hopes to see her work again soon.
     Under the astute direction of Matheo the show has won multiple contests and received many awards from Colorado to New York. The show was also invited to bring its set, costumes and crew to Heidelberg, Germany where it was performed for the U.S. Armed Forces.
     Tempered by a couple of moments of poignancy and sadness the predominant factor here is comedy.
     You will laugh out loud a lot at the hilarious antics of these characters created by Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy.
     Their show will leave you breathless with laughter.
Miners Alley
“Parallel Lives”
Jan. 31 - Mar. 9
Fri. and Sat. @ 7:30 p.m.; Sun @ 6 p.m. (2 p.m. on Sun., Mar. 9)
A non-stop comedy about how women and men respond to the circumstances of their lives.
Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden, CO 80401
303-935-3044 or online at

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Lyons
Vintage Theatre: 2/7 – 3/9

     Nicky Silver’s “The Lyons” is dark serious drama with a decidedly comic edge that will set you free! It’s a no-holds-barred black comedy of the devastatingly funny variety!!
     If you think you’ve seen button pushing controlling   parents and siblings, wait til you meet the Lyons.
     The vitriolic matriarch in August Osage County pales in comparison to Persoff’s performance as Rita.
     Ms. Persoff leads this Matriarch-driven production as Rita Lyons.  Now that her husband Ben is dying the bitterness has come to a head and rather than his getting a chance for an emotional and sentimental bon voyage, these two come to loggerheads at the death bed. 
Left to right: Joey Wishnia and Deborah Persoff

     Their two emotionally damaged children are treated to a smorgasbord of barbs and insults in their feuding that devastate the funny bones of not just them, but all in attendance. 
     Persoff’s performance is vital and drop-dead funny with a tear in its eye. Her acerbic Rita is by turns brittle, catty and caustic.  
     Joey Wishnia is masterful as Rita’s husband Ben, the exasperated and exhausted Patriarch. When the phone rings in the middle of one of Rita’s tirades Ben says, ”I hope it’s death.”
     In Bernie Cardell’s sensationally well directed production laughter accompanies the mean-spirited thrust and parry of these embittered spouses and their progeny in a way that may put one in mind of an Albee play. You may also think of the dysfunctional family of royals in James Goldman’s “Lion in Winter.”
Left to right: Haley Johnson and Preston Britten

     Haley Johnson’s performance in the role of Lisa, Ben and Rita’s daughter is this reviewer’s favorite since she played Blanche in Vintage Theatre’s production of Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named  Desire.”
     Preston Britton’s portrayal of Curtis, their emotionally scarred son, turns in what to this reviewer’s eye is his best work on stage to date.
     Nathan Bock delivers an assured performance at the top of Act Two recalling our memories of his superb Richard in “The Lion in Winter.”
The correctly sparse and minimalist scenic design causes the characters to really pop.

Vintage Theatre presents
"The Lyons"
Ben Lyons is dying and sentimental goodbyes are abandoned in this delicious dark comedy by Nicky Silver.
Feb.7 - Mar. 9
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2:30 p.m.; Thurs. Mar. 6 @ 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Mar 8 @ 2:30 p.m.
$26 ($21 advance); Groups of 6+ $18
303-856-7830 or online at
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010Marlowe's Musings

Painted Bread
Aurora Fox Arts: 1/31 – 2/23


     Karen Slack’s performance in the central role of “Painted Bread” makes one feel as if he were in the presence of the artist herself. If ever an actor has channeled the discarnate spirit of a character she is playing Slack does.
     Paul Borrillo is a magnificent Diego. Not just credible in the role, Borrillo portrays Frida’s artist-lover with a larger than life brio that puts one in mind of Kazantzakis’ Zorba..
     Martha Harmon Pardee turns in a performance that is both funny and fine as the guide at the art museum.
     The supporting cast is full of such talent as Dale Li, Ben Cowhick, Kurt Brighton and Rebekah Fernandez.
     Upon entering the auditorium at The Aurora Fox one is regaled with a stunning scenic design, which alludes to numerous art museums. 
     See if you can find representations of such edifices as the Denver Art Museum as well as others. Charles Packard’s work here is quite simply his best. The fluid sweep of the set allows for the magical unfoldment of the story of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. 
     As directed by Warren Sherill, the piece is cast, paced and framed as a true masterpiece. In fact from time to time frames descend from the proscenium allowing Frida’s self portraits to come to life. 
     Written with style and soulful inspiration by Melissa Lucero McCarl, this evening of theatre is a marvel.
     The technical crew for this production is superb to a man/woman. Lighting by Shannon McKinney, sound by El Armstrong and costumes by Linda Morken provide us with the visual and auditory coloring that make this portrait of Frida Kahlo sing.

Aurora Fox Arts is located at:

9900 E Colfax Ave, Aurora, CO 80215

for tickets call (303) 739-1972 or aurorafoxartscenter.orgMarlowe's Musings

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Stage Theatre: 1/24 – 2/23
The Denver Center Theatre Company
     Director Kent Thompson has chosen to set his visually magnificent production of "Hamlet" in the time just prior to World War I.
                                                      Aubrey Deeker
Aubrey Deeker’s stab at the central character gives us a truly indecisive young man. Walking a fine line between an intellectual and emotional tack this handsome actor leans into the assumption of a certain paralysis by way of analysis. This becomes the cause of his Hamlet’s inability to act. Mr. Deeker deserves a great deal of praise for his performance of this role because there is no harder thing to act than inaction.
                                 Sam Gregory
     Sam Gregory’s studied portrayal of Polonius, father of Ophelia and Laertes is studied work indeed. When Gregory is onstage we hang upon his every word as if it were pure gold. Gregory’s facial expressions, physiological stage movement and verbal tonality are perfectly measured and utterly congruent.
     Philip Pleasants’ character work is of the first magnitude in each and every moment he’s onstage. His grave-digger is outrageously well done and enormously funny. Like Mr. Gregory, his work is consummate craftsmanship of the highest and best.

          Left to right: John Hutton and Aubrey Deeker

     John Hutton is unforgettable as the Ghost of Hamlet’s father. This actor is also responsible for a thoroughly entertaining and hilarious version of the Player King.
     Kathleen McCall has chosen to give us a Gertrude who is more a fashionista swept along by the tide of events. A vision of sparkling gaiety in the opening scenes, Ms. McCall is at her best in the scene with Hamlet in which Polonius eavesdrops behind the curtain in her bed chamber.
          Kathleen McCall and Aubrey Deeker 

     Elizabeth Novak’s costume design is eye-popping. However … one does wish that Ophelia’s costume for the mad scene might have been more realistically sullied and tattered.
     Jacob H. Knoll who plays Laertes, rips our hearts out with his grief at hearing of Ophelia’s drowning.
     It is to be noted that Shawn Fagan’s performance in the role of Horatio is teriffic. So important in setting the tenor of the show, Horatio’s elocution of Shakespeare’s words in the early scenes of the play is stunning.
          The rousing incidental music composed by Gregg Coffin provides an auditory exclamation point at the top of each scene that causes the audience to lean forward in their seats in anticipation of what will follow.
     Craig Breitenbach’s sound design is of the breathtaking quality one by now expects.
     Robert N. Schmidt’s scenic design is richly laid out with its scaffolding hinting at the fact that Denmark was already in sore need of reconstruction prior to the old king’s murder.
     York Kennedy’s lighting design dazzles.
     The heart-pounding fencing match near play’s end rivets thanks to the genius of Geoff Kent’s expertise in coaching the fight-choreography.
     To go, or not to go. That is the question.
      The answer?  Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!Marlowe's Musings

Single tickets for Hamlet start at $35 (non-SCFD) and also are available for $10 (SCFD 10 for $10 program).  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.