Monday, May 30, 2016


L-R: Ryan Bueller, Rachelle Wood and Dayle Extrell

“Legally Blonde, the Musical” is the screen to stage version of the 2001 movie that starred Reese Witherspoon. It’s fluffy, feather-weight escapism speaking to the 21st century version of young female empowerment. If there be any substance here it’s in a thinly veiled homage to that time honored truth that substance is more valuable than image.

     So at the top of the show all Elle Woods wants to do is to become the wife of the well-heeled, well-dressed, self absorbed Warner Huntington lll. The balance of the show is about Elle finding her way through the train wreck of her infatuation for this arrogant cad to the realization that a kind and supportive love would be LOTS better.
     It’s a pink, frothy (Did I say pink?) evening of musical theatre that’s a HUGE hit with younger audiences. One must be totally candid in saying that mature theatregoers may find the book for “Legally Blonde,the Musical”  to be about as interesting as time travel back to your high school pep rallies. Nevertheless, I’m told that this production of the show is practically sold out for the run.

      One reason to go is that the multi-talented Nick Sugar directed and choreographed this lightweight ball of fluff. Sugar, who can turn dross into gold, does it again with this show. Why do I say that? Because he knows how to cast!
     He’s cast Rachelle Wood as Elle Woods (Is there an echo in here?). Ms. Woods, who was an enchanting Mabel in the recent production of “Mack and Mabel,” is a musical theatre firecracker as Elle.

     As Paulette, Dayle Extrell, Elle’s (There is an echo in here!) supportive hair stylist friend, is outstanding!    
      Tim Oakes does a fine job creating arrogance and narcissism as Warner Huntington lll.
      Carter Edward Smith turns in an affectionately drawn and very well sung portrayal of Emmett Forrest.
       Zach Stailey (a brilliant Professor Callahan) does a remarkable job singing “Blood in the Water.” (This description of the realities of becoming a shark of a lawyer at least makes us think of a different color than pink momentarily!)
     Ryan Buehler is a stitch as Paulette’s hot UPS step-dancer boy friend. This actor had the audience in hysterics whenever he strutted onto the stage.
     The supporting cast is full of the names of superb musical theatre actors. Among them are: Taylor Nicole Young, Rebekah Ortiz, Gabriel Morales, Chelley Canales, Jenna Moll Reyes and Olivia Beyette.
     Other reasons to go are Donna Debreceni’s magical musical tracks and  Nicole Harrison’s very fine costume design. Tina Anderson’s scenic design is superb.

For tickets call:303-794-2787   townhallartscenter.orgMarlowe's Musings

Monday, May 23, 2016

Dear reader, please be aware that this is going to be a LONG list of plaudits for a production filled with spectacular talent and staged in a wondrous palatial theatre that is Divine.

Debby Boone in foreground with L-R: Tracy Warren, Matt LaFontaine and Sarah Grover (All photo credits go to Rachel Graham Photography)
The current production of INTO THE WOODS at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse is a slam dunk smash hit! Opening with the sensationally talented Emmy Award winning Debby Boone as the Witch for the first three weeks, the balance of the run will feature Beth Beyer, the brilliant Adelaide in the recent concert version of “Guys and Dolls” at Lone Tree Arts Center.
     Directed by Don Berlin, one of Colorado’s premiere theatre talents, the casting is awesome. The crew of techies assembled for this huge endeavor is equally impressive.
     The result? An evening of theatre that rivals Broadway musicals on Broadway.
     Debby Boone is spellbinding (and really 'lights up' the stage!)  as the Witch.
               Rachel Turner 
     Ravishing in the costumes created by Laurie and Rae Klapperich, Rachel Turner’s exquisite Cinderella mesmerizes us with her crystalline vocals.
     Tracy Warren (Marlowe Award for "Mary Poppins") gives us a Baker’s Wife to die for!  
L-R: Tracy Warren, Matt LaFontaine and Debby Boone
     Matt LaFontaine’s (Marlowe Award for "Fiddler on the Roof") performance of the Baker is an affectionately drawn, beautifully acted and vocally masterful portrayal.
     As Cinderella’s Mom, Little Red’s Granny and the Lady Giant, Maggie Tisdale is a whirlwind of maternal, geriatric and well… ‘gigantic’ theatrical expression. 
L-R: Markus Warren and James Francis
   Markus Warren gives us two unforgettable portrayals. The first is a chilling stalker of a big bad wolf singing "Hello, Little Girl." The second is that of Cinderella's Prince,who together with James Francis (Rapunzel's Prince) stuns the audience with an awesome rendition of "Agony."
     L-R: Kalond Irlanda Melissa Sawyer and Matt LaFontaine
     Melissa Swift-Sawyer, who mesmerized us with her breathtaking acting and singing in Colorado’s longest-running show, “Always, Patsy Cline,” is brilliant as Jack’s Mother. 
     Sarah Grover (Marlowe Award for "The Addams Family") is all gleeful girlish naivete  as Little Red Riding Hood.

Kalond Irlanda and Sarah Grover 
      Kalond Irlanda delivers a delightfully well sung Jack.
     Bob Hoppe's choreography (Marlowe Award for "The Addams Family") astonishes!
     Music Director/Conductor Phil Forman and his scrum diddly orchestra deliver Sondheim’s score with ear-pleasing professionalism. 
       Scenic Designer Michael R. Duran gives us one of his very  best sets - and there have been many! - in memory. Shannon Johnson’s lighting design creates magical mood shifts that delightMark Derryberry’s sound design is giant-stomping perfection!    Todd Debreceni (Marlowe Award for Make-up and Special F/X) does yeoman’s work transforming Debby Boone’s beautiful face into that of a totally awesome, rad and gnarly witch.
     The dinner, served up by an attentive and congenial wait staff, is mouth-watering. (Am I sounding a little bit like the Wolf?) The prime rib with Bordelaise butter that my guest for the evening and yours truly had was divine! The Berry Brownie Trifle was equally deelish! It’s a bit of a jaunt up to Johnson’s Corner but it’s SO worth it! This plush, elegant venue is also one of the most comfortable you will have experienced.

Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!

INTO THE WOODS!!!!!!!!Marlowe's Musings

Candlelight Dinner Playhouse is located at 4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown Colorado,80534
For tickets call the Box Office at 970-744-3747 or go online at

Monday, May 16, 2016

White Guy on the Bus
Curious Theatre Company: 5/14 – 6/24
                         Sam Gregory and Jada Suzanne Dixon
With its production of Bruce Graham’s “White Guy on the Bus” Curious Theatre Company holds the mirror up to well-heeled white America. That which is reflected in this mirror with regard to racial bigotry and white entitlement is not new and most assuredly not pretty. By show’s end this haunting and provocative play leads us to a moment of violent rage. Don’t try to assume that you can guess what that will look like in advance. Mr. Graham’s non-linear play is miraculously unpredictable. The play is full of incendiary dialogue unveiling the lies we tell ourselves about civil rights and racial equality.
     Sam Gregory plays Ray, the white guy in question. Ray’s a financier who’s burnt out and verbalizes fantasies about leaving his job and living in blissful solitude like Thoreau or Gaugin. Gregory’s portrayal is wondrous in its ability to conjure emotions such as rage out of a character who appears to be a lost soul drifting in a world of ease and opulence.
    Jada Suzanne Dixon is Shatique, the single African-American mother, Ray meets on the bus. Dixon gives her budding acquaintance with Ray the suspicious, slow to warm credibility necessary to create the backdrop for the drama about to unfold in their lives.
     Dee Covington plays Ray’s wife, Roz, a dedicated teacher at an inner city school that’s 72% African American. Covington creates a forthright character whose outspoken personality is as compassionate as it is judgmental.
     Andy Waldschmidt plays Christopher, Ray and Roz’s surrogate son. Christopher’s entrée into the world of advertising has its own rules and regulations on the politically correct depiction of racial images specifically designed to persuade the masses to purchase its products.
     Rachel Bouchard portrays Molly, Christopher’s girl friend, as naïve and generally unable to keep up with Roz’s more seasoned arguments on racial issues.
     Chip Walton's direction is his usual professional excellence.
     Shannon McKinney’s lighting design, which manages to frame the piece in the stillness of an etheric post mortem fluidity, is exceptional. Jason Ducat’s sound design is outstanding. However …  Michael Duran’s limbo of a scenic design disappoints.
Thursdays – Saturdays: 8 pm
*note: there will be a performance on Wed, June 22 at 8pm Sundays: 2 pm
Talkbacks will follow all performances May 19 – June 24

Curious Theatre Company,
1080 Acoma Street, Denver CO, 80204
(Near 11th Avenue and Acoma Street)
Tickets start at $18
The Box Office is located at 1080 Acoma Street, Denver
303.623.0524 or online at