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