Friday, April 28, 2023

 GERTRUDE AND OPHELIA IN HELL

                            &

ONE LAST THING BEFORE I FORGET

 

AND TOTO TOO THEATRE COMPANY: APRIL 20-30

 

                 Susan Lyles and Kate Poling

 

     Fresh from The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, And Toto too Theatre Company’s production of “Gertrude and Ophelia in Hell” is currently on view at The Roaming Gnome Theatre in Aurora.   

     In Rebecca Gorman O’Neill’s play about the two women from Elsinore, Susan Lyles is luminous as the ghost of Hamlet’s mother, Queen Gertrude, as she attempts to connive her entitled way out of Purgatory while upstaging Hamlet’s old flame, Ophelia (a charming and pouty Kate Poling.) Ophelia blames the tree branch for her downfall, and Gertrude is claiming not guilty for multiple sins, including adultery. Award-winning Billie McBride directs.

    Accompanying this play, is another one-act by Rebecca Gorman O’Neill, entitled “One Last Thing Before I Forget.”  This is a fascinating look at two discarnate entities who have died and are clinging to their memories of life on earth. It seems that as long as you have one more story that people remember about you, you can still haunt the old homestead.

     Gorman’s writing is excellent, and Kate Poling and Cyndi Parr as Harriet and Violet respectively, perfectly cast by director Melissa McCarl.

     With set and sound design by Darren Smith, Lights by Alexis Bond and Music by Sparkle and the Burn, you can’t go wrong getting tickets for these two one-acts that are part of And Toto too’s 18th season of plays written by women playwrights.

     Hurry to get tickets. This is the final weekend!

 Roaming Gnome Theatre is located at 2520 Galena Street in Aurora, 

For tickets call 720-583-3975

 

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

 La Cage Aux Folles

Town Hall Arts Center: April 7 – 30

 

L-R: George Zamarippa and John White


With music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and book by Harvey Fierstein, “La Cage Aux Folles” won six Tony Awards including Best Musical in 1984.

      It’s a gloriously tune-filled musical about Georges and Albin, a gay couple who own a drag night club in St. Tropez.      

     When their son comes home to tell 

them that he’s marrying a young woman, their world momentarily turns upside down.  Then when they come to terms with Jean Michel’s choice, they discover their future daughter in law’s father is a homophobic politician…and guess who’s coming to dinner?

     The current production is so much fun, I must admit it’s better than the one I saw on Broadway.

     John White is Outstanding in the role of Albin! George Zamarripa is the best Georges I’ve seen to date! Both men sparkle and shine. Their voices complement each other beautifully.

     The scenic design by Michael R. Duran is just about perfect. So are Sammy Gleason's glitzy, glamorous costumes for ZaZa and Les Cagelles!

     Tracy Nicole Taylor is a Jacqueline for the books!!! Awesome!

     Caleb Wenger is a genuine charmer as Jean Michel.

     The music direction by Phil Forman is amazing.

     Director/Choreographer Nathan Halvorson knocked it out of the park.

     This timeless musical about the importance of being who you are, has taken wings down at Town Hall Arts Center in Littleton.

 

Fly to get tickets!

 

 

 

For tickets call 303-794-2787 or go online at townhallartscenter.org 

Monday, April 17, 2023

 PART TWO OF 

THE INHERITANCE

VINTAGE THEATRE: APR 7 – MAY 14

 

 

                   L-R: Dakota Chase Hill and Andy Anderson

THIS PRODUCTION WILL HAUNT YOU LONG AFTER THE FINAL CURTAIN. 

RUN TO GET TICKETS.

 

 

Matthew Lopez’s “The Inheritance,” is a sprawling two-part opus that uses E.M. Forster’s “Howard’s End” as blueprint. Having won the Olivier for Best Play in London, “The Inheritance” also garnered a 2020 Tony for Best Play on Broadway. 

     Forster’s words, “just connect” lead us into a far more visceral interconnectivity activation in Part Two.         

     Having become familiar with the characters in Part One, we as audience are now given their back-stories. 

     Our perception of the words and actions of Toby Darling become somewhat softened once we learn about his early life.

   The introduction of Young Henry and Young Walter, played with animated exuberance by Joe Barnard and Reese Blanton respectively, shed light on their more mature selves.

     The argument about politics involving Henry Wilcox’s (Andy Anderson) wealthy elitism and right-wing views as opposed to the more liberal points of view of the ensemble, rivets.

     As Toby Darling, Bobby Bennett continues a performance one can only refer to as a tour de force.

     Likewise, Andy Anderson as Henry Wilcox and Dakota Chase Hill as Eric Glass deliver stunning performances. 

     As Margaret Avery, the caretaker of Walter’s home, Deborah Persoff is luminous and utterly natural in a heart-opening scene near final curtain. 

     Persoff’s heartfelt aria recounting her reconnection with her son, and subsequent assisting of others in need, is both poignant and bittersweet. 

    One would be remiss not to mention the work of director Bernie Cardell. 

     Cardell’s quick-paced, layered direction illuminates Lopez’s writing in what one can only refer to as sheer magic. His transitions are as seamless as those in a Beethoven symphony.

 

               Not to Be Missed!

 

    Part One and Part Two of the play may be seen one after the other on some days or else one at a time. Each runs about three hours, and like two-part plays such as “Angels in America” and “The Kentucky Cycle,” each play is ticketed separately.

 

 

 

 

(Leave the kids home.)

303-856-7830 or online at www.vintagetheatre.org

Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010

 

 

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

 THE INHERITANCE:

 PART ONE           

VINTAGE THEATRE: APRIL 7 – MAY 14

 

                         L-R: Dakota Chase Hill, Bobby Bennett and Kyle Lawrence


THE INHERITANCE IS AN OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION THAT MUST BE SEEN! 

RUN TO GET TICKETS! 

 

Matthew Lopez’s “The Inheritance,” is a sprawling two-part opus that uses E.M. Forster’s “Howard’s End” as blueprint. Having won the Olivier for Best Play in London, “The Inheritance” also garnered a 2020 Tony for Best Play on Broadway. 

     Forster’s admonition to “just connect” is key to LGBTQ’s intergenerational reflection on its tragic past and subsequent evolution with its attendant social crises. 

By “connecting,” generations well past the AIDS epidemic begin to become aware of how much their present status and their problems regarding equal rights have been made accessible due to the suffering of those who have gone before.

 The show, which looks at classism, healing, and the need to belong, includes adult situations, male nudity and gay sexual relations along with mature language. 

     Director Bernie Cardell has cast the show with an eye to diverse looks in race and body types. His quick pacing pulses with urgency and makes the evening fly.

     As Toby Darling, a sarcastic, narcissistic, and successful playwright, whose work is on the verge of going to Broadway, Bobby Bennett gives a brilliantly nuanced performance.

      Dakota Chase Hill is superb in the role of Eric Glass, Toby’s na├»ve lover. 

     Kyle Lawrence is fine as Adam McDowel, a down on his luck sex worker, who’s taken under the wing of Bennett’s Toby Darling. 

     Matthew Murry is Morgan ,a stand-in for E.M. Forster, who provides the voice of reason in the play.

     Todd Black is an indelibly engaging Walter Pool - a frail, endearing neighbor who befriends Eric, making him aware of the secrets of his past. Pool reveals his empathic response to a collective  traumatic past in a poignant and  magnificent monologue.

     Andy Anderson is a splendid Henry Wilcox, Walter’s nearly always away-on-business partner. 

      The rest of the vibrant ensemble functions as a sort of “Greek chorus.”

 

Part One and Part Two of the play may be seen one after the other on some days or else one at a time. Each runs about three hours, and like two-part plays such as “Angels in America” and “The Kentucky Cycle,” each play is ticketed separately.

 

You owe it to yourself to see this brilliant work!


(Leave the kids home.)

303-856-7830 or online at www.vintagetheatre.org

Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010

 

 

 

Monday, April 3, 2023

  

 

ALICE CLEANS UP WONDERLAND

TOWN HALL ARTS 

CHILDREN’S THEATRE

 

                                          Brian Murray as W. R.
                 (photo credit: Maggie Tisdale)
 

With “ALICE CLEANS UP WONDERLAND,” Pamela Clifton proves that theatre can not only be entertaining, but also educational.

      Clifton wrote this marvelous piece for grade school and middle school children in our community in order to foster environmental awareness and social change. 

    The school children in attendance at the play’s first performance at Town Hall Arts in Littleton were totally engaged with rapt attention and lots of giggles. To be truthful, the piece enchanted those adults present as well.

     Together with the superbly gifted Martha Yordy, who created the whimsical musical tracks, Clifton weaves a tale based upon your memories of “Alice In Wonderland.”

     Alice (Lynzee Jones) is first seen not only as an apathetic and narcissistic brat, but also an antagonistic one as far as caring about the environment goes. She would prefer that the gorgeous trees be chopped down so the world could have 'more shops and a wider boulevard.'

     She’s also non-plussed by graffiti and clueless about composting. 

     W.R., the white rabbit, is played with gleeful disdain by Brian Murray. He’s a negligent and greedy toy factory CEO who only wants more and more money and who allows spillage of dangerous chemicals into the water and thus, the land of the small community. Alice learns more about his greed when she visits his factory.

     Realizing that her apathy is to blame, Alice joins the people who are protesting. She creates posters and signs saying things like: “Wake Up! Look around!” and “People don’t care about the air!”

     Clark Brittain is of special note in the roles of Door and Worm. Brittain brings a wealth of wit and double entendre to his characters. In the role of Door, he's the victim of spray paint graffiti. Then as Worm, he gets to be a sort of “natural” hero, chomping up the compost! Brittain charms in both roles!

     First seen as skateboarding girls with boom box, and later as flowers in the box, Cecelia Kim and Maggie Tisdale double up as hilarious singing partners Dee and Dum and Rose and Daisy, illustrating the damage being done by W. R. and his factory on the flora and fauna of the land.     

     Both women fill these characters with warmth and humor. Later in the show, these two create a thing of beauty and Art out of items - string and sticks- discovered in the trash. Slamming trash can lids together, they perform a mini version of your rhythmic and percussive memories of shows like STOMP! In such a way, they incite demonstrations against industrial waste and pollution. 

    Kristianne Seaton is the concerned face - and voice - of the Tree.

     The costumes are vibrant and inventive. For Brian Murray’s White Rabbit we get a mafia-flavored rascal with long white ears extending well beyond his colorful fedora, and a cotton tail protruding from his back pocket.

     Brittain’s costumes for the characters of Worm – a trash bag is used as a bib while he’s in the tan sleeping bag outfit - and a pop-tart looking Door ( he’s the filling!) are just perfect.

     The canvas backdrops for the various scenes work wonderfully well.

      There is also an eye-popping gizmo simulating industrial machines at the factory, that you’ll have to see to believe.

By the end of the show, children have seen and felt the need to “reduce, reuse and recycle,” as well as stand against smog-filled air, chemically poisoned water, and trash-littered landscapes.

 

Please be aware. There will be bubbles!!!

 

Local Educators: This show comes highly recommended from this critic’s desk as educational theatre for grade schoolers and middle schoolers alike!


Contact Town Hall Arts Center( 2450 W. Main St. Littleton, CO  80120)

303-794-2787 or go online at townhallartscenter.org