Monday, October 26, 2015

Denver Center Theatre Company:10/9 – 11/15

Nina Raine’s “TRIBES” is a powerful play, and The Denver Center Theatre Company’s production thereof is one of the best of the season.
     Playwright Raine has peppered the dining room set-up for this play with a machine gun spray of hilarious if often abusive epithets and bon mots. Everyone shoots off his/her mouth without ever listening to what anyone else has to say.
     In Raine’s play a dysfunctional family has raised a deaf son as if he were able to hear. No one listens to anyone in this tribe. There is a brother who has emotional problems of his own and a sister who’s lying to herself about her virtuosity as a singer. Tad Cooley plays Billy, the son who was born deaf, with strong stage presence. Andrew Pastides portrays Billy’s brother, Daniel with a wide range of emotion. Isabel Ellison is their sister, Ruth.
     When Billy meets Sylvia (Kate Finch), a young woman who is going deaf, at an event sponsored by the deaf community he begins to find his “tribe” by coming in contact with people who are just like him.
     Kathleen McCall is brilliant as Beth, a harried mother and wife who does all she can to fend off the barbs of her chauvinist husband while dealing, however poorly, with the sibling rivalry of her offspring. McCall is at her hilarious best trying to find a ringing cell phone under the billowing kimono her husband has required her to wear prior to meeting Billy’s new girl friend.
     Stephen Paul Johnson plays Christopher, the abrasive and LOUD patriarch of the clan.
     Director Stephen Weitz’ casting is impeccable and his pacing the kind that keeps an audience constantly engaged.
     Shannon McKinney’s lighting design illuminates the proceedings with her usual professional brilliance. Craig Breitenbach’s sound design enhances the directorial concept exponentially. The Projection Design by Charlie I. Miller provides surtitles, which clarify the sign language used in certain scenes.
         “TRIBES” comes with high recommendations from this critic’s desk. 

Marlowe's Musings

For tickets call:  303-893-4100 or go online at

Sunday, October 25, 2015

As You Like It
Denver Center Theatre Company: through November 1
Since I be late and ‘brevity the soul of wit,’ I will be brief.
     Carolyn Holding is that rare commodity - a Rosalind both confident and beautiful who has the ability to mesmerize with a multi-faceted gem of a performance. Maren Bush is fetching as Celia, Rosalind’s partner in exile in the Forest of Arden.
     The performances of Matt Zambrano (Touchstone), Phillip Pleasants ( Adam and Hymen), Drew Horwitz (William) and Adrian Egolf (Audrey) are exactly As We Like Them.  Nick Amedica and Emily Kron provide an amusing-and endearing-acting duet as shepherd Silvius and shepherdess Phoebe respectively. One wishes to see Geoff Kent featured in a larger role. However… when one becomes aware of the fact(s) that he’s not only one of the Lords but also the assistant director as well as the fight choreographer, director Kent Thompson’s casting wisdom is understood.
     The costume design by Denitsa Bliznakova is eye-popping. Of special note is her creation of the exquisite purple gown in which we first see Ms. Holding as Rosalind.
     The Lighting design by Charles R. MacLeod and the Projection Design by Charlie I. Miller conspire to give us delicious visuals.
     If you would like an interesting point of view regarding this play pick up a copy of the book “Marlowe’s Ghost” prior to seeing it and read the chapter pertaining to ' its possible encodement.'  It will make the mystery that is “As You Like It” immeasurably richer and more provocative. Just sayin’!Marlowe's Musings

For tickets call: 303-893-4100  or go online at

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Buell Theatre: through October 25
                            Idina Menzel

How often does the Denver audience get to experience a Broadway phenomenon? Well, regardless of how you may have answered my query, you’ve got a chance to see and hear one now. 
     Idina Menzel is a star of the first magnitude and to see her acting and hear her powerfully beautiful voice is a gift to treasure. 
     Every theatre maven should attend “If/Then” for this reason and many more.
     La Chanze, who plays the role of Kate in the play is outrageously talented, has a great set of pipes and is adorable onstage. 
     James Snyder (Josh), Daren A. Herbert (Steven) and Anthony Rapp (Lucas) are the outstanding men in the cast. In fact with this line-up I think it’s safe to say that the vocal talent is pretty much outstanding across the board.
     The writer’s concept that sometimes our most insignificant seeming choices can end by out-picturing as radically different probabilities in one’s life is truly an important one. If one could only be aware of this at all times one might be able to circumvent some of the more disappointing aspects of life and find himself on a life – path that’s more enjoyable and fulfilling.
     Also of note is the lighting design by Kenneth Posner. One of the finer and truly memorable touches in Mr. Posner’s design is the exhilarating visual of a racing subway train. Unforgettable.
     Director Michael Greif has done a fine job transplanting “If/Then” from Broadway to Denver.
It’s a bit long-winded, but well worth the trip just to see and hear the divine Ms. Menzel.Marlowe's Musings

For tickets call:  303-893-4100 or go online at

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cherry Creek Theatre: 10/2 - 10/25

Pat Payne has done an admirable job directing the regional premiere of Cherry Creek Theatre’s “Sondheim on Sondheim.” It’s  a revue that touches on 21 shows including 64 parts of various songs. Many of the selections are well known and some of them a bit more esoteric.
     Stephen Day commands the stage with his outstanding rendition of “Being Alive” from “Company.”
     Susie Roelofsz touches us with her singing  of “Send in the Clowns.”
     Boni McIntyre’s “Do I Hear a Waltz” is great … even with the onscreen Sondheim interrupting her to say that this was not his favorite musical.
     Brian Merz-Hutchinson’s superb musical theatre talents are showcased in his singing of “Finishing the Hat” from “Sunday in the Park with George.”
     Jennifer De Dominici sings “Simple” from “Anyone Can Whistle” with a soprano to die for.
     It’s a show for people who know and adore Sondheim and who want to become acquainted with him on a more intimate level.
     The list of songs include some from “Sweeney Todd,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Passion” and “Into the Woods.” There’s even a song that was cut from “Gypsy”called “Smile,Girls.”
     Merz-Hutchinson’s and Roelofsz’ singing of such songs as “Loving you is Not a Choice” makes one long for a great production of “Passion.”
     In the video segments Sondheim speaks directly to us as audience about his close relationship with Oscar Hammerstein, his problematic relationship with his mother and also about his creative process. There are anecdotes about such actors as Ethel Merman as well as memories of his working on the lyrics for “West Side Story.”Marlowe's Musings

Cherry Creek Theatre Company
"Sondheim on Sondheim"
Six decades of inspiration and joy told through interview footage with the composer and, of course, his music.
Oct. 2 - 25
Fri/Sat @ 7:30 p.m.; Sun @ 6:30 p.m.
Tickets $34 Adult; $29 Student/Senior
303-800-6578 or online at
Shaver-Ramsey Showroom, 2414 East 3rd Ave., Denver, CO 80206
Seating is limited.