At a private event for subscribers last night, the Lone Tree Arts Center (LTAC) announced its third season. With everything from Rodgers and Hammerstein to the Beatles to Celtic rock, the 2013-14 season for LTAC is jam-packed. Full of variety for all types, one common thread unites the programming. “The most important thing we want to deliver to our patrons is high quality, professional performances that they may not be able to enjoy anywhere else in the region.” says Executive Director Lisa Rigsby Peterson. “The upcoming season offers metro Denver area audiences the chance to see a huge variety of works that highlight outstanding performers in an outstanding, intimate, and acoustically wonderful venue.”
The first national tour of Catch Me If You Can, the musical that tells the story of legendary con man Frank Abagnale, Jr. cruises into Denver this week. Sharing the same name as the movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, the musical version equally embraces nostalgia for 1960’s America and the musical theatricality of Broadway. Stephen Anthony plays Frank Jr., the infamous charlatan pursued by federal agent Carl Hanratty over the course of the musical. Continue reading
Noises Off is a show that defines a genre: the backstage farce. More specifically, it’s an onstage, then backstage, then onstage farce. The inventive plot follows a company from their final dress rehearsal of the farce ‘Nothing On,’ to a performance of their fast-paced comedy early in its run, and then a performance on tour late in the run. The backstage drama is even more riveting than the onstage drama, but seeing the performance from multiple angles provides nearly endless opportunities for comedy.
In Jekyll & Hyde, the conflict within the central character is mirrored in the two women vying for his affection. Jekyll’s fiancee Emma, who is all sweetness and purity, stands in contrast to tough-spirited Lucy, with both women hoping to capture the best of the man they adore. In the current national tour, Emma is played by Teal Wicks, who made a name for herself as Elphaba in Wicked, in LA, San Francisco, and on Broadway.
The Denver Center announced The Bobby G Awards today – an awards program aimed at encouraging and rewarding outstanding achievements in the production of high school musical theatre. Named for the late Robert Garner, “The BobbyG Awards” will provide an opportunity for excellence in musical theatre at the high school level to be celebrated by the professional community. Continue reading
The special bond between a child and an animal has been the basis for many powerful stories. War Horse takes several variations on the boy-bonds-with-horse plot line. The currently touring production has made headlines for its gorgeous, innovative puppetry designed by Handspring Puppet Company in South Africa. But in addition to the breathtakingly realistic depictions of the horses, this story is unique because of it takes place during a time of war. Patrick Osteen, an ensemble member who rotates through roles as a puppeteer for two of the horses, as well as other roles, is most struck by the powerful messages about war told in the piece.
Next to Normal has made one of the biggest Broadway splashes in the last decade. What makes it so unique? With complex, multi-faceted characters and a powerful score, it tells an incredibly poignant story about a family struggling through rock bottom in a way that is incredibly cathartic and artistically satisfying. Ignite’s production marks the Denver premiere, starring Margie Lamb, whose was highly praised for playing this same role in the Colorado premiere at Midtown Arts Center.
The stage version of the familiar movie White Christmas is a great blend of tradition, familiarity, and production value. The story follows Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, soldiers-turned-entertainers who become smitten with the Hayes sisters, and follow them to quaint Pinetree, Vermont for Christmas. As luck would have it, their old general is managing the very inn where the sisters are performing, and the two pairs of performers band together to try to save the inn, save Christmas, and save their relationships in one fell swoop. This recent stage version tells the story efficiently and well, making steady progress through several opportunities for gorgeous costume and scene design.
J.R. Priestley’s When We Are Married is a comedy that follows three very different couples as they deal with the same shocking news: they may not actually be married. In a world where respectability and class are paramount, this table-turning twist pays off over three acts as each couple grapples with new-found freedom from matrimony. As new information is revealed, it’s unclear which is least acceptable to to each couple — their public or private status change.
The Three Musketeers is best known in its original form, a novel by Alexandre Dumas set in the 17th century. The story of d’Artagnan as he journeys to Paris in hope of becoming a Musketeer Guard has proved so compelling that it has become worthy of several movie, musical, television, and comic adaptations. Elements of the story are timeless – d’Artagnan’s drive to fulfill his purpose in life and fit in with a group, the pursuit of love (well, if you forgive the fact that all but one of the women each Musketeer pursues is married to someone else), and the noble job of defending one’s country.
In the Heights was a Broadway sensation when it debuted in 2008, and it won four Tony Awards shortly afterward. It’s fresh story that focuses on a Dominican teenager (Nina) who returns to Washington Heights after her first year away at college, and how various members of the the first- and second-generation immigrant community grapple with multiple definitions of home. The score, by Lin-Manuel Miranda, incorporates rap, hip-hop and pop, and some pats of the show are in Spanish (or Spanglish) — which all combines to make for an incredibly novel, current, moving musical theater experience.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was turned into a Broadway musical in 2005, based on the popular 1988 film, based on the 1964 film. The story revolves around Lawrence Jameson, an established, charming conman, and his obnoxiously energetic protege, Freddy Benson. Lawrence and Freddy team to make their way into several hearts and wallets of women vacationing on the French riviera. Their schemes are interrupted by the charmingly naive Christine Colgate, whose reputation as “The American Soap Queen” has preceded her. Musicalized shenanigans ensue when the Soap Queen’s infectious charm rubs off on the dirtiest, rottenest con men in town.
After being the hottest ticket on Broadway for the last 14 months, The Book of Mormon is the hottest ticket in Denver right now, and will soon embark on a national tour that is sure to make headlines across the nation. Written and conceived by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (best known for the animated series South Park) along with Robert Lopez (known for Avenue Q), this irreverent, satirical story focuses on an unlikely pair of Mormon missionaries as they struggle to bring new members to the church on their unexpected mission assignment to Uganda. As you might expect, the show is R-rated and has a high shock value. But what has contributed to its record-breaking run is that it also has all of the elements of a fantastic Broadway show — well-choreographed production numbers, rousing and inspiring songs, and a central conflict that speaks to us all.