Saturday, December 23, 2023

 

CENTRAL CITY OPERA: 12/23(11am and 1pm) and 12/24 (11am and 1pm)

at CENTRAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN DENVER

 

RUN TO SEE and HEAR JENNIFER DE DOMINICI as MOTHER (MARLOWE AWARD FOR BEST OPERA SINGER) In GIAN CARLO MENOTTI’S “AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS!” (MARLOWE AWARD FOR BEST PRODUCTION OF AN OPERA) GLORIOUS SINGING AND A GLORIOUS EMOTIONAL HIGH!!!

for tickets go online to centralcityopera.org

Saturday, December 16, 2023

 WHO’S HOLIDAY

VINTAGE THEATRE: Dec 4 – Dec 31

 



Late to the party, it was great to get the chance to see Jenny Weiss as Cindy Lou Who in “Who’s Holiday,” the one-woman show now on view over at the Vintage Theatre.

    It’s her third year performing this non-traditional Holiday piece, which has received nothing but raves. No wonder artistic director Bernie Cardell insists that she reprise the role every Holiday season.

     As Cindy Lou Who, Weiss appears to relish every flirtatious rhyme and naughty, bawdy innuendo in Matthew Lombardo’s funny and irreverent play. Weiss makes her audience feel right at home in her mini trailer as she regales us with what has happened to her since that awful Christmas down in Whoville so many years ago. 

     Her memories of the Grinch recall the fact that although his heart was constantly shrinking, his other organs were, well, doing the opposite.

     It is to be noted that Jenny Weiss has given us a wonderful Christmas present complete with exuberant, colorful 'rapping'!

     Luke Rahmsdorff-Terry’s sound design is the professional quality that Denver audiences have come to expect of him.

  Theodore Geisel’s set is a wonderland of pastel glitz and thrift store treasures. 

     The excellent lighting design by Kevin Taylor shifts the moods from silly to sentimental on a dime.

     Costumer Sloane Crazybear’s mis-matched Seuss-like apparel for Ms. Weiss is spot on! 

    Heather Frost directs the proceedings at a bright pace.

    Although it’s a wonderful respite from the traditional saccharine holiday shows, this one is for an adult audience only!    


 Leave the kids at home!

 

For tickets call: 303-856-7830 or go online at vintagetheatre.org

 

 

 

Monday, December 4, 2023

 SANTA’S BIG RED SACK

RATTLEBRAIN PRODUCTIONS



 

 

     For the past two decades Rattlebrain Productions has assisted Jolly old St. Nick in stuffing his big red sack down the chimneys of many Colorado theatres.

     And how does it get any better than that?

     This show is a fast-paced, non-stop skewering of every holiday tradition imaginable. Hysterically innovative, it’s also delightfully irreverent.

     Besides the onstage skits, the show includes professional video segments and superb projection work as well.

     So if you’re tired of having to say “Bah Humbug!” to every traditional Holiday show, give yourself a treat and get on over to The People’s Building at 9995 East Colfax in Aurora.

     Every vignette is a gut-buster! Please know that I’m chomping at the bit to tell you more about these hysterical comic gems! However, not wishing to get coal in my stocking this season, I’m giving no spoilers!!!!!

     “Santa’s Big Red Sack” is a gloriously twisted Holiday present all tied up with some beautiful er, rapping.

     “Ho Ho,Hoe! Who Wouldn’t Go?”

     Run to get tickets!!!

 

For tickets go online at

rattlebrainproductions.com or 

call 303-218-7315.

 

 

 

Friday, December 1, 2023

 THE 2023 MARLOWE AWARDS 

 


BEST PRODUCTION OF A PLAY

DRIVING MISS DAISY 

VINTAGE THEATRE PRODUCTIONS

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY

DEBORAH PERSOFF

DRIVING MISS DAISY

VINTAGE THEATRE PRODUCTIONS

 

BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY

SEAN SCRUTCHINS

AMERIKIN

CURIOUS THEATRE COMPANY

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY

CRIS DAVENPORT

DRIVING MISS DAISY

VINTAGE THEATRE PRODUCTIONS

 


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PLAY

HANNAH DUGGAN

THE DEATH OF NAPOLEON IN THREE ACTS

BUNTPORT THEATER

 

BEST DIRECTOR OF A PLAY

TARA FALK

A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN

CHERRY CREEK THEATRE

 

BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

BDT STAGE

 

BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL

KENNY MOTEN

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

BDT STAGE

 

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

WAYNE KENNEDY 

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

BDT STAGE

 

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMER IN A MUSICAL

eden

CABARET

VINTAGE THEATRE PRODUCTIONS 

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

SHENA RENEE

DREAM GIRLS

LONE TREE ARTS CENTER

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

MARY CAMPBELL

CABARET

VINTAGE THEATRE PRODUCTIONS

 

BEST NEW CHILDREN’S MUSICAL

ALICE CLEANS UP WONDERLAND,

TOWN HALL ARTS CENTER

 

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

CHRISTOPHER PAGE-SANDERS

SOPHISTICATED LADIES

VINTAGE THEATRE PRODUCTIONS

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

KEVIN COPENHAVER 

A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC 

DENVER CENTER THEATRE COMPANY

 

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTION

HEATHER IRIS HOLT

SEUSSICAL, THE MUSICAL

PERFORMANCE NOW THEATRE COMPANY

 

BEST SCENIC DESIGN

ISABEL AND MORIAH CURLEY-CLAY

CLYDE’S

THE DENVER CENTER THEATRE COMPANY

 

BEST AUDIO DESIGN

CHRIS LANE 

CLYDE’S

THE DENVER CENTER THEATRE COMPANY 

 

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN

CHARLES R. MACLEOD

CLYDE’S

THE DENVER CENTER THEATRE COMPANY

 

BEST NEW PLAY

THE HEADLINERS

CHERRY CREEK THEATRE COMPANY

 

BEST ENSEMBLE (PLAY)

THE INHERITANCE

VINTAGE THEATRE PRODUCTIONS

 

BEST ENSEMBLE (MUSICAL)

THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL

MINERS ALLEY PLAYHOUSE

 

BEST PRODUCTION OF AN OPERA

AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS

CENTRAL CITY OPERA

 

BEST OPERA SINGER

JENNIFER DE DOMINICI

AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS

CENTRAL CITY OPERA

 

BEST PRODUCTION OF A BALLET

SWAN LAKE

COLORADO BALLET

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

 CLYDE’S

THE DENVER CENTER THEATRE COMPANY: Oct 27 – Nov 26


Seikou Laidlow, Sebastian Arroyo, Katherine George and Quinn M. Johnson(photo credit: Jamie-Kraus-Photography)

 

A Pennsylvania truck stop called Clyde’s is the setting for this ‘most popular play’ to have been created by playwright Lynn Nottage. 

     This playwright is the first woman to have received not one, but two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. She received the first for “Ruined” and the second for “Sweat.”    

     “Ruined” describes the struggles of Congolese women during war. 

     “Sweat” revolves around a group of friends who have spent their lives working at the factory, who find themselves at odds with one another when a strike breaks out. 

     Nottage also wrote the book for “MJ, the Musical,” on Broadway. It’s a jukebox musical which features the music of Michael Jackson, and which plays the Buell Theatre next April.   Nottage was previously best known for her play, “Intimate Apparel,” that’s about a black seamstress in the early 1900s.

     This production of Clyde’s owes much to the technical staff at the DCPA.  The kitchen of this truck stop/diner is given a realistic look, feel and even smell by scenic designers Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay!  The employees of Clyde’s cook sandwiches on the grill that steam and sputter throughout the show. 

     Sound designer Chris Lane’s choices for the musical bridges between scenes, provide the superlative heartbeat of the play! 

     The lighting design of maestro Charles R. MacLeod, who has designed over 300 DCPA productions since 1983, electrifies!

     Samantha C. Jones’ costume design is spot on!

     Brianna Buckley plays Clyde, the raunchy and abusive manager of this diner. As Clyde Ms. Buckley is sexy and demanding. However… one might wish that their portrayal of this character had more ‘teeth!’ 

     Quinn M. Johnson plays Jason, a walking powder keg, who recently released from prison, has a tattooed body that shouts ‘white supremacist.’ Although all of the characters have their ‘moments,’ Johnson’s performance in the role of Jason, is the most consistently riveting.

    Sebastian Arroyo’s portrayal of Rafael really makes us feel his rage! Mr. Arroyo is at his best in a scene in which he has been ‘stood up’ by Katherine George’s amiable Letitia , and who resorts to addictive behavior to soften the blow!

      Katherine George gives a solid performance as Letitia, the only female worker in the kitchen.

     The heart-opening performance of Sekou Laidlow in the role of Montrellous is the placid voice of gentle reason at the heart of the play. 

     The goal of constantly trying to create the ‘most delicious sandwich’ is an excellent metaphor for these characters’ trying to lift themselves out of a life of lack and degradation. It allows us to see, smell and almost taste these characters’ passion to free themselves from the drudgery and abuse of CLYDE’S.

     Though not the best of this season’s productions so far, it’s worth a peek. 

 

For tickets call 303-893-4100 or go online to denvercenter.org

 

Saturday, October 21, 2023

 DREAM GIRLS

LONETREE ARTS CENTER: OCT. 19 – 29

 

L-R: Heidi Carann Snider, Fairin Moon Hightower and Cha'Rel Ji'Cole Wright (photo credit: Moon Night Photography for the Lone Tree Arts Center)

 

DREAMGIRLS opened on Broadway in 1981 with music by Henry Krieger and lyrics and book by Tom Eyen. It follows the journey of a black female singing trio from Chicago called the Dreams, which closely resembles that of The Supremes. Nominated for thirteen Tony Awards, it won six. Jennifer Holliday received the Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical.

     The current production now on view at Lonetree Arts Center, is directed by Kenny Moten, who also directs the smash FIDDLER ON THE ROOF currently on view at BDT Stage. 

     It’s choreographed by nationally acclaimed choreographer Christopher Page-Sanders, who helmed last season’s magnificent production of "Sophisticated Ladies" at Vintage Theatre in Aurora. The show features Denver favorites, Trent Hines as Music Director and Mary Louise Lee as Vocal Coach.

 

     Shena Renee is an explosion of passionate talent in the role of Effie White. Her singing of “And I am Telling You I’m Not Going” blows the roof right off the theatre! This performance alone is worth the price of the ticket!!! Astounding!

 

    Brian Boyd is superb as ambitious Curtis Tayor, Jr.   Mr. Boyd is at his best “Steppin’ to the Bad Side” as well as with his smooth vocals, “Only the Beginning” and “When I First Saw You.” 

     Lawrence Flowers is a turbo-charged Jimmy! His singing of “Fake Your Way to the Top” thrills. Upon exiting the theatre I found myself wishing to get to see this fine actor perform the role of Jefferson in HAMILTON.  Magnificent!

  Amazing singing “One Night Only,” Fairin Moon Hightower is a sparkler as Deena Jones.

    The ensemble includes such up-and-coming stars as Kong Vang (Miners Alley’s “HAIR”) and Jalen Gregory(Vintage Theatre’s “Sophisticated Ladies.”) 

The minimal scenic design by Kevin Nelson Illuminated by Jonathan Dunkel’s mood-altering lighting design amazes!

     Max Silverman’s sound design delivers the ear-pleasing goods to perfection.

   Emily Valley’s costume design provides so much sparkling glitz it’s nearly blinding!

 

                 Run to get a ticket!

 

 

For tickets go online at lonetreeartscenter.org

 

 

Saturday, October 7, 2023

 SWAN LAKE

COLORADO BALLET: OCTOBER 6 – 26

Jennifer Grace and Mario Labrador (photo credit: Amanda Tipton)


Colorado Ballet’s SWAN LAKE is visually magnificent!

 

     Jennifer Grace stuns with the exquisite delicacy of her Odette/Odile. Her performance is magnificent!

     Accomplished in his technique, as well as strong and confident in his seemingly effortless lifts, Mario Labrador excels as Prince Siegfried.

     Gregory K. Gonzalez is superb as the winged sorcerer Rothbart, striking terror into the hearts of the swan corps de ballet.

     

     Composed in 1876, Tchaikovsky’s SWAN LAKE is based on a Russian fairy tale. It’s the story of Princess Odette who is transformed into a swan when she is cursed by the evil sorcerer Rothbart. Thought to have been loosely based on a story called “The Stolen Veil,” it has also been presumed that Tchaikovsky’s fascination with Ludwig II, the Swan King of Bavaria, may have been his inspiration for the character of Prince Siegfried.

     Tchaikovsky loved Adolphe Adam’s Giselle and the leitmotif idea he used to associate certain themes with his characters.  He used this technique not only in Swan Lake, but also later in The Sleeping Beauty.

     In the story, Odette, who is now a swan by day and a beautiful woman by night, captures the heart of Siegfried on his birthday. Rothbart’s spell can only be broken by one who had never loved, pledging his undying love for Odette. 

     Not wishing to lose Odette, Rothbart tricks Siegfried with the spellbinding Odile, a doppelganger for Odette all in black.

     Siegfried mistakes Odile for Odette, and offers his heart to the black swan, thus precipitating the culminating tragedy.

     The choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov is danced to perfection by the corps de ballet.

    Under the baton of conductor Adam Flatt, the Colorado Ballet Orchestra delivers Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score to ear-pleasing perfection.

     The awe-inspiring set gives us the illusion of a moody silvan glade for the opening acts as well as a massive regal throne room for the latter. The eye-popping costumes dazzle. Especially the ones for the sorcerer and the Queen!

Mario Labrador, Jennifer Grace and Gregory K. Gonzales (photo credit: Amanda Tipton)


 Both set and costumes are by Peter Farmer and courtesy of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.  

     The superb lighting design is by Todd Elmer.

      

                     NOT TO BE MISSED!

 

For tickets call  303-837-8888 or go online to coloradoballet.org

Saturday, September 30, 2023

 THE MINUTES

CURIOUS THEATRE COMPANY: SEPT. 9 – OCT 14


 Playwright Tracy Letts’ “The Minutes” is provocative, disturbing and ultimately the most satisfying piece of theatre to have come to this reviewer’s attention in a good long while.

       Renowned director Christy Montour-Larson has envisioned and brought it to the stage with Power! 

     Her choice of the actors in this accomplished cast as well as those involved with the technical end of things, are about as good as it gets!

     Every one of the actors is a shining light in this theatre community. They are: Brian Landis Folkins, Ilasiea Gray, Kathryn Gray, William Hahn, Jim Hunt, Cajardo Lindsey, Michael McNeill, Michael Morgan, Josh Robinson, Erik Sandvold and Karen Slack.

     Stand-outs in this all-star cast are: Erik Sandvold (“ I Am My Own Wife”)`, Josh Robinson(“American Son”) and Brian Landis Folkins (“Amerikin.”) 

     Markas Henry’s realistic scenic design for the chamber is superb. 

      Richard Devin’s stunning lighting together with Jason Ducat’s crackling sound design punctuate the proceedings with intermittent jolts that heighten the suspense.

     Set in a city council meeting in a fictional small American town, this play gives us a glimpse of the horrors underlying the absurd comedy of errors present even in local politics.

       Not to be missed!!!

 

For tickets call 303-623-0524 or go online at curioustheatre.org

 

Monday, September 25, 2023

 A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC

THE DENVER CENTER THEATRE COMPANY:

 SEP 1 – OCT 8



Soara-Joye-Ross and Edward Staudenmayer


With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC is a 1973 Broadway musical based on Ingmar Bergman’s 1955 film “Smiles of a Summer Night.” Nominated for eleven Tony Awards, the show won seven including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score.

     In 1977 it was produced as a film starring Elizabeth Taylor, Len Cariou, Diana Rigg and Lesley- Ann Down.  

     The book introduces us to several upper-class characters and their servants who are dealing with romantic foibles, heartbreak, and regret in Sweden at the end of the nineteenth century.  The score is full of beautiful waltzes and includes the iconic “Send in the Clowns.”

    Fredrik Egerman is a middle-aged lawyer who has recently married Anne, an 18-year-old woman who is still a virgin months after the wedding. Fredrik’s son, Henrik, is a seminary student who’s in love with his stepmother.

     Desiree Armfeldt is a popular actress, who is constantly on tour and has had an affair with Fredrik several years ago. Desiree’s daughter, Fredrika, suffers from her mother’s absence and yet her mother continues to seek and experience “The Glamorous Life.”

    Carl Magnus, who is married to Countess Charlotte, is Desiree’s current love interest.

 

     Although the show is well cast for the most part, in this reviewer’s not so humble opinion, it could have been improved had director Chris Coleman chosen more of the outstanding talent in this theatre community!  

 

 Nevertheless…

 

     Soara-Joye Ross is luminous as Desiree Armfeldt. Her singing of “Send in the Clowns” is full of bittersweet regret.

     Edward Staudenmayer is magnificent in the role of Fredrik Egerman in the acting and the vocals. 

     Zacchary James stuns vocally as Count Carl-Magnus.

      Sydney Chow is appropriately na├»ve and girlish as Anne Egerman.

     Sam Primack does a fine job in the role of Henrik Egerman. The frustration is palpable!

     Jennifer DeDominici’s vocal, bringing in “The Sun Won’t Set,” at the top of Act Two, is breathtaking!

     Lacking the husky voice of a Hermione Gingold, Leslie Alexander does her best, giving us a lighter, still poignant “Liaisons" as Madame Armfeldt.

     As Petra, Cate Hayman delivers a lusty, life-affirming version of “The Miller’s Son” that electrifies. 

     Kevin Copenhaver’s costume design stuns!

     Candy Brown’s choreography is mesmerizing.

      The lighting design by Pablo Santiago is a dazzler.

       Visually one can’t help thinking that the exquisite presentation of the dinner party in Act Two might well be an homage to one of Bergman’s later films, “Fanny and Alexander.”

 

For tickets go online at denvercenter.org

     

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, September 23, 2023

 CABARET

Vintage Theatre Company: 

September 15 0ctober 22




Mary Campbell and Brian Trampler (photo credit RDG Photography)

 

     Not the CABARET de papa, director Bernie Cardell pulls the artist card here and delivers a truly New and Powerful Production of this old warhorse.

     In Cardell’s vision CABARET is a nightmare which begins with youthful amoral and socio-political apathy and ends with the unspeakable horrors of the Third Reich, after an oncoming and constantly burgeoning, danse macabre. Three-time Marlowe Award winner Adrianne Hampton has created another triumph with her choreography.

      Marlowe Award winner Tanner Kelly does a sensational job as music director for this production. Mary Dailey plays keys while conducting the Vintage Theatre stage band.

     As the Kit Kat Klub’s emcee ushers us into the dark underbelly of Berlin’s seedy night life, the rising Nazi party is beginning to show its antisemitic teeth. 

     eden gives us a tour de force in the role of the emcee. A dynamic whirlwind of leering bigotry and grinning falsehood, their performance is stunning!

Besides the superb take on “Wilkommen,” their version of “I Don’t Care Much” is the quintessential statement on apathy at the time of socio-political crisis.

     Aynsley Upton stepped in at the last minute to lead the cast as Sally Bowles on the night this reviewer was in attendance. Her performance in the central role was awe-inspiring to say the least. Her singing of the title song and “Maybe This Time,” were masterful indeed! This is that enviable moment when, just as in “42nd Street,” the understudy must step in to replace an ailing lead and becomes a Star. Brava!

      Mary Campbell gives a formidable performance in the role of Fraulein Schneider. Her vocals are filled with emotional angst and her eyes with real terror. Ms. Campbell needs to be seen much more often upon the Denver stage.

     Samantha Barrasso ‘s Fraulein Kost is of special note. The very fine performance of this sight-impaired actor gave a new slant on our vision of the common folk of Germany who were being slowly shepherded into the flock of the Nazi party. (Slipping and falling, after a small misstep, one was heartened that she was not hurt. She carried on with true professional aplomb as though nothing had occurred.) 

      Brian Trampler is a memorable Herr Schultz. His singing of “It Couldn’t Please Me More” charms.

     The makeup on the leering faces of the Kit Kat Klub dancers is garish.  The lighting reminds of the expressionistic paintings of the day.  There is a hideous quality of the proceedings that perfectly matches the political sentiments of the day and the subsequent heinous treatment of Jewish people, homosexuals and all non-conformists. 

This is not the Cabaret de papa!  

Run to get tickets!  

 

Call the box office at 303-856-7830 or go online at Vintagetheatre.org

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

 FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

BDT STAGE: 9/9 – 1/13

 

WAYNE KENNEDY IS A TEVYE FOR THE AGES!

 

“Fiddler on the Roof” is the final production of BDT Stage’s 46-year run of excellent theatre!  When the American Theatre Critics Association met in Denver several years ago, they all went to see “DAMN YANKEES” at what was then called Boulder’s Dinner Theatre. They raved that Boulder’s Dinner Theatre was as great as the best theatre on Broadway. 

     This final BDT STAGE production is, in this reviewer’s not so humble opinion, Better than Broadway!  

     Please be aware that the rest of this review is going to be a long list of accolades for a near perfect production.

      With music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and book by Joseph Stein, Fiddler on the Roof opened on Broadway in 1964. It starred Zero Mostel as Tevye. 

     The book for the musical is based upon the writings of Sholom Aleichem which focuses on a Jewish milk man named Tevye, his wife Golde and their five daughters.  

     Winning nine Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book for a Musical, this production held the record for being the longest running show on Broadway for nearly a decade.

      Boulder’s Dinner Theatre has mounted an exceptionally well-crafted production of this musical for their final show.  

 

     Director Kenny Moten has cast the show impeccably.

 

     Wayne Kennedy’s performance in the role of Tevye is astonishing! Powerful and nuanced in every sense of the word, Kennedy’s portrayal of the Jewish milkman, will remain in your memory forever. His singing of “Tradition,” “To Life,” and “If I were a Rich Man” have his indelible, very personal stamp. It is to be noted that Kennedy is also responsible for the thoroughly well executed sound design.

      As Tevye’s wife Golde, Alicia K. Meyers’ strikes a perfect balance with Kennedy’s Tevye. Their duet, “Do You Love Me,?” is poignant indeed. Meyers, who has directed, choreographed and acted in countless BDT Stage productions, gives a stellar, heart-opening performance!

    Abigail Kochevar as Tzeitel , Jennasea Pearce as Hodel and Alei Russo as Chava enchant with their joyous version of “Matchmaker, Matchmaker.”

     Brian Cronan’s singing of “Miracle of Miracles” exhilarates! 

     As Perchik, Leo Battle’s duet of “Now I Have Everything” with Jennasea Pearce’s Hodel is mesmerizing. Denver favorite Tim Howard and BDT Stage Artistic Director, Seamus McDonough alternate in the role of Fyedka.

      Brian Burron is a masterful Lazar Wolf. Scott Severtson’s performance in the role of the constable is sobering indeed! Mary McGroary is delightful as Grandma Tzeitel! 

     Annie Dwyer’s Yente is Outstanding! 

     Anna High is a hysterical Fruma Sarah. A.K. Klimpke charms as the Rabbi. (BDT Stage favorite Brian Norber will take over the role later in the run.)

     Tracy Warren’s Fiddler is perfection!

     The ingenious creation of the scenic design for the shtetl of Anatevka is the excellent work of Amy Campion. Jessica Hindsley and Danielle Scheib share credit for the exhilarating choreography. Costume designer Linda Morken’s costume design is spot on.

     Lighting Designer Brett Maughan illuminates the proceedings with a touch of the poet.

     Under the baton of award-winning music director Neal Dunfee, the 19-piece BDT Stage orchestra delivers the beloved score to perfection.

                Run to get tickets!


Call 303-449-6000 or go online at bdtstage.com

 

Sunday, September 10, 2023

 SEUSSICAL, THE MUSICAL

PERFORMANCE NOW THEATRE COMPANY

September 8- September 24

 


Goofy and Silly and Way Too Much Fun

This Seussical Musical’s Really well done.

The set is a kid’s book with colorful pages

The seats inexpensive won’t take all your wages.

The chroma key brush strokes by this lighting man

Are vibrant paint splashes right out of the can.

The costumes are eye-popping playground apparel

And miracles happen whenever there’s peril.

Cartoonish and festive, this show is a winner.

It turns your small smile to a really wide-grinner.

 

     Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens based the book for this musical upon the works of Dr. Seuss. Flaherty composed the joyously upbeat music and Ahrens penned the lyrics. 

     The show is co-directed by Victoria Holloway and Kelly Van Oosbree, who also choreographs! These two artists pull out all the stops while allowing this outstanding cast to unleash all the lustrous fun with real panache.  

     Fresh from his outstanding work in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” Chris Boeckx oversees the proceedings as The Cat in the Hat. Boeckx even brings a smile to our faces during the entr’acte. ( No spoilers!)

      Josh Harris is adorable as Horton, the elephant!

     Sarah Atkinson’s JoJo is a total delight!

     Brekken Baker dazzles us as Mayzie, the profligate Mom who thinks parenthood is 'for the birds.' Or maybe not!!!

     Marlowe Award winner Nancy Evans Begley belts gorgeously as Sour Kangaroo!

     Sarah Forman is outstanding as Gertrude McFuzz! 

     Music Director Heather Iris Holt succeeds brilliantly with this fantasia of ear-pleasing music and mind-boggling verse.

      If you ever had the ecstatic pleasure of riding your bike with your grade school buddies following a bandwagon with calliope when the circus came to town, you’ll start to get the energy. It’s a whirlwind of childlike fantasy come to life and the perfect antidote to the evening news. It will leave you smiling from ear to ear!

     “Seussical, the Musical,” is the kind of show in which renowned costume designer Nicole Harrison must have been up to her armpits in sequins and feathers creating  the eye-popping costumes. 

     Vance McKenzie’s lighting is sensational!

     The show is a mash-up of Dr. Seuss favorites including “Horton Hears a Who,” “Gertrude McFuzz,” and “Horton Hatches the Egg.”  It reminds us all to be our true selves regardless of what ‘thinks’ others may think of us.

     Run to see this show!   You won’t believe “HOW LUCKY YOU ARE!”

 

 

For tickets call 303-987-7845 or go online at www.performancenow.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, July 20, 2023

 OTELLO

CENTRAL CITY OPERA

(playing in repertoire with Gounod’s "Romeo and Juliette" and Cole Porter’s "Kiss Me, Kate" through August 6)

 

 


 

     If you’re a purist regarding Shakespeare’s play, be aware that "Othello, The Moor of Venice," is the Moor of Rome in this production of Rossini’s opera. 

     Rossini’s librettist, Francesco Berio de Salsa based this version on an adaptation by French playwright Jean Francois Ducis. In following Ducis’ lead with his libretto, de Salsa takes numerous liberties with Shakespeare’s characters as well as the text. The handkerchief is replaced with a misdelivered and unaddressed letter.  Iago is made far less prominent, and Rodrigo much more central to the plot. What does remain in place is the patriarchal bigotry of Desdemona’s father, Elmiro, and society in general.  And finally, the “green-eyed monster, jealousy,” annihilates faithful feminine goodness and innocence by means of treachery and deceit.    

      Premiering in Naples in 1816, Rossini created the piece as a vehicle for tenor voices for the three prominent male characters.

    An excellent opera, Rossini’s "Otello" came seven decades prior to Verdi’s masterful "Otello," and was overshadowed not only by Verdi, but by Rossini’s own huge successes with “Cenerentola” and “The Barber of Seville.”

     Cast well by director Ashraf Sewailam, this season’s production is given a profoundly deliberate pacing.

     Mezzo-soprano Ceciiia Violetta Lopez sings Desdemona’s famous third Act aria “Salce” or “Willow Song” magnificently. 

     Hilary Ginther delivers an Emilia with a soprano that soars.

     Whether receiving the highest accolades of the Doge for his conquests abroad at opening or committing the final violent act(s) of the opera, Kenneth Tarver is most memorable as the noble Othello with the tragic flaw of jealousy.

     Bernard Holcomb’s Iago is very well sung.

     As Rodrigo, Christopher Bozeka received massive applause for his superb rendition of some of the more difficult musical passages.

     Federico de Michelis delivers the basso of Desdemona’s father, Elmiro, with power. One might have wished however, that he be wigged to give us the illusion of advanced age.

     Conductor John Baril and Chorus Master Brandon Eldredge conspire to bring the choral and orchestral elements together with  true artistry.

     The lighting is fine, but oh how one misses the artistic expertise and genius of the last two decades of David Martin Jacques’ exquisite luminescence magic.

     Go and support Central City Opera. It’s the fifth oldest opera company in the country. 

 

 

     After reading today of the change that has just now taken place regarding the management of CCO , one is hopeful that a new president/artistic director of the caliber of John Moriarty and Pelham (Pat) Pearce can be found to return this venerable company to its Glory Days.    

       Thanks to the late John Moriarty’s influence Colorado has been blessed by being introduced to great American operas: “The Ballad of Baby Doe,” “Susannah,” and “Gabriel’s Daughter” among them. Hopefully our growing appetite for the wonders of American opera will be reflected in future seasons. 

     How lucky we were to have been blessed with Maestro Moriarty’s genius in the world of opera. He is forever in our hearts. We miss him greatly.

      Pat Pearce’s legacy was immense!  Over the last two decades his leadership garnered critical acclaim internationally for productions of such operas as Benjamin Britten’s “Gloriana,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “Billy Budd.” Pearce introduced Colorado operagoers to almost all of Benjamin Britten’s catalog! His  awareness of the need to introduce more people to great opera has, in this reviewer’s interesting point of view, been incalculable in its vision and scope. His inclusion of Jake Hegge’s operas such as "Dead Man Walking," "Three Decembers" and "Two Remain" added greatly to the treasure trove of new works here in Colorado.  

     Hopefully some of the other faithful employees who left during 'the interim' will return as well. Gail Bransteitter was highly professional in the marketing and publicity arenas. And at the risk of being redundant, David Martin Jacques will hopefully return as company lighting designer.

 

For tickets call 303-292-6700 or go online at centralcityopera.org