Sunday, November 27, 2022

  Disney’s NEWSIES

Town Hall Arts Center: 11/11 -12/30

Elton J. Tanega and the cast of Disney's Newsies





“Newsies, The Musical” is based upon a 1992 film that was inspired by the 1899 Newsboys Strike In New York City. The show has music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman and book by Harvey Fierstein. Nominated for eight Tony Awards it won two: Best Choreography and Best Original Score.

     For this production director Steve Wilson has cast a stellium of youthful talent, led by Elton J. Tanega, one of Denver’s fastest rising stars!  After seeing his work in “Tuck Everlasting” as well as his Prince Topher in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” it’s no surprise that his take on Jack Kelly, the dreamer turned Union organizer, is superb.

     As Katherine Plumber, Jack’s love interest, lovely Kelly Maur is at her best singing “Watch What Happens.”

     As Jack’s crippled side-kick Crutchie, Kong Vang delivers the pathos ("Song from the Refuge") of the evening with panache.

     Camden Deal’s Davey is excellent as well. His singing in "Seize the Day" and "Kings of New York" is most memorable. 

    The chart-topping jazz vocalist Rajdulari enchants us with her singing and acting in the role of Medda Larkin, the Vaudeville Chanteuse! Her singing of “That’s Rich,” dazzles us!

     Eric Fry does a superb job in the acting and singing of Joseph Pulitzer, the greedy newspaper magnate. Visually Fry brings up memories of Orson Welles in Citizen Kane. Of course, Kane was a thinly veiled version of another ruthless newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst.

      Kevin Walton gives a strong performance as one of Pulitzer’s hard-edged cronies, Weisel.

     Choreographers Ronni and Debbie Stark have created exhilarating dance routines that these young actors bring to life with enthusiasm.

     Director Steve Wilson is something of a theatrical magician. His talents were on view earlier this year with Vintage Theatre’s hilarious “The One Act Play That Goes Wrong.” Here he brings us a stage full of exciting new talent peppered with a few excellent stage veterans creating an evening of magical stage memories.

     Donna Debreceni’s work as Music Director is responsible for the superb sound of Alan Menken’s score. The choral work on "The World Will Know" is Powerful!

     Illuminated by Vance McKenzie’s lighting design, M. Curtis Grittner’s excellent scenic design regales us with the illusion of far more depth than most.

     One must make mention of Robert Michael Sanders, Chief Operating Officer at Town Hall Arts Center. Together with LuAnn Buckstein, Sanders is leading Town Hall in educating our teens to great success upon the stage. Town Hall even has an outreach program with shows that tour the schools.

   Go enjoy this family friendly holiday treat and support Town Hall Arts Center!

For tickets go online at

 or call: 303-794-2787

Sunday, November 20, 2022


CURIOUS THEATRE: Nov 10 – Dec 10


Last season at this time, I was announcing all the top Marlowe Awards as going to Curious Theatre for its Powerful production of AMERICAN SON.


They were: 



This year it’s different.

Franklinland disappoints on almost every level.

The script, which sounds fun at first, is a ‘fowl’ play.

The direction and acting, tragic.


Nevertheless, there is a beautiful scenic design by Markas Henry.


     Probably Covid had much to do with this. At least one wishes to be able to give the old guard of Curious the benefit of the doubt. Still “guiding” the new administration, Curious Theatre’s old guard is gasping its last this year.


     One cannot wait for the new administration at Curious to come fully into bloom next season!!! It’s thrilling to know that Jada Suzanne Dixon will be the new Artistic Director.


     As for now … your turkey is ready.



Thursday, November 17, 2022

    The Buell Theatre:



With book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, My Fair Lady is based upon George Bernard Shaw’s play, Pygmalion. The 1956 Broadway production won six Tony Awards including Best Musical. The 1964 film got the Academy Award for Best Picture.

     Bartlett Sher’s direction of this classic musical brings all those things you’ve loved and cherished about My Fair Lady for so long to this production … as well as a bit of a twist.

     Sher’s production, which was nominated for 10 Tony awards, leans much more heavily upon Shaw’s original intentions than most. Known for his feminist views, Shaw mirrored much of what was going on in Ibsen’s plays, such as “A Doll’s House.” 

      That said, Sher’s slant on the work is more realistic, and less romantic than most.

      As linguistics professor Henry Higgins, Jonathan Grunert sings the part, rather than relying on the recitative performance we remember so well from that of Rex Harrison. His rendition of “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” is poignant indeed!

     Madeline Powell puts her own personal stamp on this portrayal of Eliza Doolittle, the cockney flower girl Higgins tries to transform into his version of a proper English lady.  Blonde and beautiful, Powell slowly unveils her gorgeous soprano in much the same way that she unveils her character’s evolving linguistic facility with the English language. When she unleashes that golden soprano in “The Rain in Spain” and “I Could Have Danced All Night” it’s ear-pleasing to say the least.

     As Freddy Eynsford-Hill, Cameron Loyal gives “On the Street Where You Live,” its due as well as doing some very fine vocal sparring with Powell’s Eliza in their duet, “Show Me.”

     Becky Saunders’ portrayal of Mrs. Higgins is magnificent.

     Michael Hegarty is a total delight as Eliza’s father, Alfred P. Dolittle. His singing and acting of “With a Little Bit of Luck” and “Get Me to the Church on Time” are both glorious!!!

     Catherine Zuber’s design for the gown Eliza wears to the Embassy Ball is exquisite!!!

     The Ascot Gavotte is beautifully staged. The costume design by Catherine Zuber is eye-popping and the sound design by Marc Salzberg and Beth Lake superb.

     As Zoltan Karpathy, Daniel James Canaday brings great comic sparkle to the scene at the Embassy Ball. His performance, if slightly more amicable, is just north of that of Kenneth Mars as Hugh Simon in the film, “What’s Up, Doc?” 

   David Andrew Rogers music direction and conducting of the My Fair Lady Orchestra in the pit is outstanding!!!

     Lovers of musical theatre should make plans to see this compelling production soon. It’s only here a few more days.


For tickets call 303-893-4000 or go online at

Monday, November 7, 2022



         The cast of SPAMALOT

With music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle and book and lyrics by Eric Idle, “Spamalot” is a musical comedy that’s adapted from the 1975 movie, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

     Irreverent and hilarious, it parodies the legends of King Arthur and his knights, peppered with some peasants spouting Marxist quotes.

     Directed by Mike Nichols on Broadway, the show was nominated for fourteen Tony Awards, and won three, including Best Musical.

     Vintage Theatre’s production of MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT is a rollicking romp that’s a joyously unbridled and utterly anarchic (not Antarctic!) comedy!

     Co-directors Bernie Cardell and Heather Frost's  stage direction of Vintage Theatre’s production pulls out all the stops in this comic romp. 

      The cast is brilliant to a man/woman!

      Colorado favorite, Markus Warren is regally self-absorbed and eminently bewildered as Arthur, King of the Britons.

     As Patsy, Cole Henson is equally uncertain of his part in the quest! As Arthur’s ever attentive side-kick, he even provides the clip-clop of invisible horses with two halves of a coconut.

    Matt LaFontaine is extremely well-suited to Monty Python’s iconic brand of comic anarchy. His portrayals of Not Dead Fred and Herbert sparkle with broad strokes of physical humor on the one hand, and the “woe is me” fawning of a spoiled brat on the other.

     Faith Siobahn Ford’s portrayal of the Lady of the Lake is glorious! Her singing of “The Song that Goes Like This” with Eric Crawford’s preening Sir Galahad, which sends up the chandelier-shattering Andrew Lloyd Webber compositions such as those in “The Phantom of the Opera,” is utterly amazing!

     Andrew Uhlenhopp, who opens the show as narrator/ history professor is true comic genius. 

     Cheryl Faulkner’s costume design for the show’s eye-popping Laker girls, gives us a riot of colorful French can-can skirts and splashy Vegas attire!

     The shimmering wardrobe created by Faulkner for Ms. Ford is as stunning, as the tunics and chain mail for Arthur and his men are spot on.

     And if you’re as much a fan of the original cast recording as this reviewer is, let me just say that the music direction by Heather Iris Holt delivers the goods to perfection.

     Robert Janacek’s set design is comprised of two castle turrets from which at one point, a French guard taunts King Arthur with such vulgar epithets, you will think he has Tourettes Syndrome. 

     Is it just me, or do stories of the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, carnivorous rabbits and a quest for a shrubbery required by some people who say “NEE,” seem ‘par for the course’ as far as news stories go these last several years?

     Nevertheless, this show is the perfect theatrical antidote for the insanity bred as reality daily on the evening news.

      GO! GO! GO! AND LAUGH!!!


303-856-7830 or online at

Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010

90 Minutes no intermission.