Playbill: Three Plays and Performances in Denver for October 15-21

Categories: Playbill, Theater

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James O'Hagan Murphy returns in RFK - A Portrait of Robert Kennedy at the Town Hall Arts Center.
Take a wild ride with the dysfunctional family from hell, revisit the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy and begin following a three-part serial sitcom at Denver theaters this week. Read on for the details.

See also: Vox Phamalia: Pity Pity Bang Bang at the Avenue Theater


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Review: Ambition Facing West Explores the Notion of a Nation

Categories: Theater

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Michael Ensminger
John Hauser as Young Stipan and Casey Andree as Father Luka in Ambition Facing West.
My friend Geoffrey Stern, who taught international relations at the London School of Economics, used to try and tease out of his students a definition of the word "nation." Was a nation simply its physical boundaries? A group of people living under a specific government, or with a common language or religion? For every argument his students put forth, he'd find a contradiction. Finally, he'd explain that the nation was an idea, a concept agreed on by its inhabitants. "The nation is a notion," he'd say, grinning.

Central Europe has become a particularly baffling notion, with borders there having shifted so frequently during the twentieth century. It is, says one of the characters in Anthony Clarvoe's Ambition Facing West, an Alice in Wonderland place "where the people stay put and the countries move around." This play, now being given its regional premiere in Boulder, is ostensibly about immigration, since it deals with three generations of an immigrant family -- their lives, identities and ambitions in the mythical trek west for safety, opportunity and freedom, however defined. But Clarvoe goes deeper than that.

See also: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Makes the Scene Bolder

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The Lida Project Takes Aim With Happiness Is a Warm Gun

Categories: Theater

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Courtesy of the LIDA Project. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
The LIDA Project's Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep took on another controversial topic.
In the debate over gun safety, regulation and ownership, people keep firing off their partisan politics without giving the conversation a whole lot of thought. The LIDA Project wants to change that, says Tommy Sheridan, director of the troupe's latest production, Happiness in Warm Gun, a six-part series of abstract plays examining issues of mental health, domestic violence and gun ownership. Instead of asking patrons to come to the theater, though, Sheridan is asking people to sponsor salon-style shows in living rooms throughout the Denver metro area.

The shows will run Friday, October 10 through December 13, when the series will culminate in a performance of all six plays at work|space at The Laundry. In advance of the two-month run, Westword spoke with Sheridan about the plays, the salon style performances and gun issues.

See also: Shana Cordon Is Dancing With Demons This Weekend

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Review: Love Is Better Late Than Never in The Last Romance

Categories: Theater

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The first thing you see is the Manhattan skyline -- but it's viewed from across the river, in Hoboken, New Jersey: a symbol, perhaps, of thwarted aspirations. An elderly man, Ralph Bellini, is sitting on a bench in a dog park. Carol Reynolds, an elderly woman, enters; she's giving her Chihuahua some exercise. Ralph is a working stiff who once dreamed of being an opera singer and in fact came very close to realizing his ambition. An audition for the Met impressed the judges, but -- as Ralph later learned -- his family never told him about the callback he received. Carol is a onetime executive secretary who, somewhat improbably, lives in luxury in a Manhattan apartment building. Of course, Ralph doesn't know any of this when he sets out to tease, cajole, impress and charm her.

See also: Anarchy Rules in Lord of the Flies

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Shana Cordon Is Dancing With Demons This Weekend

Categories: Theater

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Credit: John Barbour and Kevin Charles Patterson
Shana Cordon will perform her solo play, Dancing With Demons, this weekend.
"Once upon a time," "heroes," "villains" and "happily ever after" aren't good enough for Shana Cordon, the Boulder-based solo performer and writer of Dancing With Demons: A Fractured Fairytale, a play about a writer held hostage, a demon gone wild and a narrative structure that vanishes. Cordon, who has been touring the piece throughout North America, is bringing it back home to Boulder for two nights this weekend; in advance of that run, Westword spoke with Cordon about her creative process, fairy tales and the fine line between stereotypes and archetypes.

See also: Emily K. Harrison and Erin Rollman on Peggy Jo and the Desolate Nothing

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Review: Anarchy Rules in Lord of the Flies

Categories: Theater

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Jennifer M. Koskinen
Allen Dorsey, Matthew Gumley and Jack DiFalco in Lord of the Flies.
William Golding's Lord of the Flies is an anguished meditation on the nature of evil. Golding, who fought in the Royal Navy during World War II, was acutely aware of the horrors of which humankind was capable when he wrote this novel, first published in 1954 -- a time when the English still considered their country the locus of all that was stable, good and civilized in the world, and also a time when the world was hyper-aware of the threat of nuclear war. He did not believe that the Germans had a particular propensity for savagery, but rather that this propensity existed in every human breast. So he created a scenario in which a group of British schoolboys -- roughly half of them literal choirboys -- are stranded on an unnamed island and forced to create their own society. Freed from the influence of the world they've left, they rapidly devolve into violent anarchy.

See also: It's Smooth Sailing With The Unsinkable Molly Brown


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Playbill: Three new plays in Denver and Boulder for October 9-12

Categories: Playbill, Theater

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Night of the Living Dead rises from the dead for a sixth year at the Bug Theatre.
A family on the move, another troubled clan scrutinized by television cameras and an uprising of the undead will all take local audiences for a wild ride this weekend. Keep reading to learn more.

See also: Taking Aim: Happiness is a Warm Gun


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Playbill: Three Plays to See in Denver for October 2-5

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Kathleen Brady joins Cherry Creek Theatre Company for Over the River and Through the Woods.
An opera star for the ages, funny family dynamics and Shakespeare -- as well as stage innovations, from unusual venues to free admission -- are all part of this weekend's theater openings. Keep reading to learn more.

See also: Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play


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Review: It's Smooth Sailing With The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Categories: Theater

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Jennifer M. Koskinen
Beth Malone as Molly Brown.
The Unsinkable Molly Brown is one of the Denver Center Theatre Company's most ambitious productions in its thirty-year history: The company has spared neither pains nor expense in having Meredith Willson's 1960 musical reworked and remounted -- and the results are impressive.

See also: The Unsinkable Margaret Brown Was a Crusader Before She Became a Musical Heroine

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Three Plays and Performances in Denver for September 25-28

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Terry Shapiro
Artists of Colorado Ballet perform in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
This week, Shakespeare goes to the ballet and the classic tales of Edgar Allen Poe go for a hike in Boulder, while Aurora's Vintage Theatre brings back a poignant musical about married life. Continue reading for all the details.

See also: Running Amok: The Denver Center Theatre Company presents Lord of the Flies


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