Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Man Who Came to Dinner
Town Hall Arts Center: 2/19 – 3/20

     L-R: Martha Harmon-Pardee, Eric Fry and Taylor Nicole Young (photo credit:Gary Duff)

     Playwrights Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s “The Man Who Came to Dinner” was first produced in 1939. It’s a 3-Act comedy that is now the most produced American play in history.

     In Town Hall Arts’ production Eric Fry portrays Sheridan Whiteside, the outspoken and offensive show-business commentator and radio wit, who has slipped on a piece of ice outside the home to which he’s been invited to dinner. Throughout the play Whiteside insults and humiliates the owners of this home, in which he is now receiving medical treatment for a hip complaint.
   Fry does a great job spewing the requisite vitriol. Nevertheless…one might have wished for a tad more self-adulating ‘tongue-in-cheek’ humor from this celebrity wit.
     Martha Harmon Pardee’s portrayal of glamorous Hollywood Actress Lorrain Sheldon is sheer theatre ice cream! Harmon Pardee has never been this outrageously funny. Her performance will leave you breathless!
     As Daisy Stanley, the lady of the house Whiteside has thrown into chaos, Leslie Randle presents a civility thinly veiling a desire to kill that has remarkable naturalness.
     LuAnn Buckstein is hilarious as Miss Preen, the longsuffering nurse, who’s the constant butt of Whiteside’s verbal abuse. We have to wait a long time for her rebuttal, but it’s worth the wait because when it comes Buckstein bristles with comic brio.
     Seth Maisel gives us a frenetically funny performance of Banjo. Based upon the actor, Harpo Marx, one might have wished that they’d have found him a curly blonde wig.
      Taylor Nicole Young does an admirable job as Whiteside’s secretary, Maggie Cutler.
     Michael Duran's scenic design is one of this season's best and Seth Alison’s lighting design is masterful.
     The costumes created by Linda Morken, especially those for Martha Harmon Pardee, are spot on!
     It’s a longgg evening of theatre and director Bob Wells makes sure that there are lots of laughs.

Town Hall Arts Center is located at 2450 W. Main St. in Littleton, Colorado. For tickets go online at www.TownHallArts.org or call the box office at 303-794-2787.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Buell Theatre: 2/16 – 2/28

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” is musical theatre to die for! 
     In 2014 this hilarious black comedy was nominated for ten Tony Awards and won four: Best Musical, Best Book, Best Direction and Best Costume Design.
     The production currently on view at The Buell Theatre is visually magnificent and irresistibly hilarious.
     The score is full of tunes that will lift your spirits and make you forget whatever ails you.
     The book, which is based on the novel,"Israel Rank, The Autobiography of a Criminal" by Andrew Horniman" and the 1949 film" “Kind Hearts and Coronets,” tells the tale of one Monty Navarro who, having been born into a rather low class in England, is shocked to discover that he’s eighth in line to becoming the earl of D’Ysquith. Monty feels it may take him a long time to rise to the top of the family tree and chooses quite a ghastly way to hasten the process.
     Kevin Massey is an adorably watchable, mischievous Monty.
     John Rapson portrays all the other Dysquiths that will have to croak before Monty can gain the earldom. In a tour de force of breathtaking theatrical prowess, Mr. Rapson embodies Dysquiths of both genders and remarkably disparate ages.
     Kristen Beth Williams(Sibella) and Adrienne Eller(Phoebe Dysquith) play the two ladies who battle for Monty’s affections. “I’ve Decided to Marry You,” the trio in which these two stunning ladies come to terms with their love for Monty, is a show-stopper! Both Ms. Williams and Ms. Eller have voices whose dulcet tones blend in what one might refer to as an elixir of auditory champagne.
     Under the expert music direction of Lawrence Goldberg, the twelve-piece orchestra makes Steven Lutvak’s score sound utterly scrumptious.

     This delicious musical theatre confection is only here through the 28th of the month. So run to get tickets!Marlowe's Musings

For tickets call 303-893-4000 or go online at denvercenter.org

Monday, February 8, 2016

          Stage Door Theatre: 1/29 – 2/14

     Tim Firth’s “Calendar Girls” is based upon the 2003 Touchstone movie of the same title that starred Helen Mirren and Julie Walters. This film received the British Award for Best Comedy Film and Mirren and Walters were nominated for Golden Globes for their performances. 
     Deborah Curtis, who was recently seen as the Widow Paroo in “The Music Man” at Boetcher Concert Hall, and Gina Walker, who played the Bogle in Vintage Theatre’s hit “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol,” lead a cast that features the women of Stage Door Theatre’s Adult Company.
     Both the film and the play are based on actual events involving some working-class British ladies who became famous for posing in the nude for a calendar to help fund a leukemia ward at their local hospital.
     When one of their husbands dies of Leukemia, the others form a support group for the grieving widow.
     As it is in any play directed by Pamela Clifton, there are lots more laughs than tears. This is especially true in the hysterically funny scene in which the ladies arrive for the tastefully risqué photo shoot for the calendar.
     "Calendar Girls" reminded this reviewer a lot of “The Full Monty.” Only this time it’s cast with a bevy of adorable and bodacious ladies!
     If you need a good laugh I would recommend that you get on up to Stage Door Theater in Conifer. You’ll have to hurry though. The show ends Sunday.

Tickets: $17-$22
20% discount for groups of 10 or more
Special Valentine’s Performances on
February 13 at 7:30pm and February 14 at 2pm,
includes dessert served at intermission.

Stage Door Theatre is located at
25797 Conifer Road
Conifer, Colorado, 80433

For tickets call 303.838.0809 or go online to www.StageDoorTheatre.org

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Stage Theatre: 1/29 – 2/28

                   L-R: C. David Johnson and Mike Hartman
                Photo credit: Adams Visual Communications

     There is much to recommend about the DCPA Theatre Company’s production of Robert Schenkkan’s “All the Way.”
It’s 1964, the year after JFK was assassinated, and LBJ and MLK are working hard to pass the Civil Rights Act. Written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Robert Schenkkan (“The Kentucky Cycle”), the script is sensational.
     The show stars C. David Johnson as a hard-driving, charismatic and profane LBJ. His performance alone is worth the price of a ticket.
     The characters played by Mike Hartman and Phillip Pleasants are so brilliantly and passionately put forth you may think you’re at a show on Broadway.
     Although Terence Archie is convincing as a centered and poised Martin Luther King, one might have wished for a bit more passion in scenes in which he’s taken to task by members of his own race who are crying for quick action in a process that was slow in coming.
     Todd Cerveris portrays an Alabama Governor George Wallace I wanted to hate a LOT more. Seeing the news footage of Wallace’s vicious bigotry on black and white television when I was in High School made my blood boil.
     Among the other fine actors in the cast are :Cajardo Lindsey, Laurence Curry, Sam Gregory, Kathleen McCall, Tracey Conyer Lee and Jessica Robblee. Josh Robinson stepped in at the last minute, nailing his roles with true professionalism.

                         The company of "All the Way"
               Photo credit: Adams Visual Communications

     The technical achievements in sound, lighting, scenic design and projection are exceptional.
     Playwright Schenkkan’s observations of LBJ’s conflict with George Wallace and J. Edgar Hoover and his (LBJ’s) manipulative moves in controlling the ever-waffling Hubert Humphrey are key and core and …riveting!

      Anthony Powell directs.Marlowe's Musings

For tickets go online at denvercenter.org or call the Box Office at 303-893-4100

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

4000 Miles
Miners Alley Playhouse:  1/29 – 3/6

            L-R: Deborah Persoff and Curtiss Johns

Amy Herzog’s Pulitzer-prize nominated play begins with 21 year-old Leo’s unexpected arrival at 3:00 a.m. for a one-night stop at his 91 year-old Grandma Vera’s West Village apartment. It’s the final destination on his cross-country bicycle trip. Vera’s a card-carrying communist with a lifetime full of experiences that fascinate Leo, and curiosity leads him to an extended stay. Light years apart generationally speaking, Vera and Leo connect through annoying and mystifying each other daily, and become one at heart in a brief period of time.
     Vera’s body may be failing but her mind is still sharp. Sometimes she does, however, become frustrated that she can’t “find the words” as easily as she once did.
     Deborah Persoff leads the four-person cast in a tour de force as Vera. Persoff embodies this 91 year-old character with physiological, verbal and facial expressions that are utterly congruent and masterfully convincing.  There are exquisite moments in Ms. Persoff’s luminous performance that sparkle with zest and vivacity.
     Curtiss Johns, a very fine young actor, delivers an affectionate performance as Leo, a handsome, athletic 21 year-old, who’s, consumed by the pleasures of drugs, sex and bicycling. The tragic loss he experienced along the way creates a wound that begins to heal with his bonding with Vera.
     Alaina Beth Reel plays Bec, a centered, composed young woman who always seems to have the upper hand in her on-again off- again relationship with Leo.
     Jenna Moll Reyes portrays Lily, a Chinese-American art student Leo brings home, with a ferocious vitality that’s hysterically funny.    
      Persoff’s active listening as her grandson falls apart, spilling his guts about a tragedy that occurred on his cross-country bicycle trip, is communicated with such non verbal caring and compassion as to be heart-wrenching. 
     Shannon McKinney’s lighting of this scene creates a shadowy dramatic mood that enhances the moment.
     Scenic designer Jonathan Scott-McKean has created an authentic looking apartment living room to describe Vera’s West Village home.   
     Ann Piano’s costumes for the piece are spot on.
     Director Len Matheo (“My Name is Asher Lev”) and (“The Cripple of Inishmaan”) has cast the play impeccably and paced it in such a way that the evening flies by. Matheo is one of the few directors in town who knows how to balance speaking with silence and action with stillness.
Miners Alley Playhouse
Jan. 29 - Mar. 6
"4000 Miles"
The journey of a grandmother and her wayward grandson to form a bond across the years.
Fri/Sat @ 7:30.p.m. Sun. @ 6 p.m.; Sunday, Mar. 6 @ 2 p.m.
$25 Adult/$22 Senior/$14 Child 12/Under
Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden, CO 80401
303-935-3044 or online at minersalley.com
90-minutes, no intermission.