Two stages offer vastly different views

Musical offers good times, while drama takes dark look at family

Posted 4/10/19

Spring has sprung and new stage productions abound in the metro area. • New this week: “The World Goes ‘Round” at Littleton’s Town Hall Arts Center is a revue of songs by American team John …

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Two stages offer vastly different views

Musical offers good times, while drama takes dark look at family

Posted

Spring has sprung and new stage productions abound in the metro area.

• New this week: “The World Goes ‘Round” at Littleton’s Town Hall Arts Center is a revue of songs by American team John Kander and Fred Ebb, the duo that gave us “Cabaret” and “Chicago” and many other musicals. Presented through April 28, the collection presents 34 songs by the team, presented by five finely tuned singers: Maggie Lamb, Traci Kern, Lynzee Newton-Jones, Matt LaFontaine and Jeremy Rill, accompanied by a swingin’ six-piece band.

Nick Sugar is director/choreographer and Donna Kolpan Debreceni is music director on keyboard. The live music adds a great deal to the performance as singers come and go in various combinations. Some solo numbers are included, but most include several and choreography is smooth and simple. Songs such a “All That Jazz,” “Cabaret” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman” are familiar, but it’s fun to discover new numbers such as “Arthur in the Afternoon.”

The set is minimal and costumes are sparkly/shiny or simpler for the women. The keyboard, with director Debreceni, is at the bottom and other musicians are ranged up steps against the backdrop, several with more than one instrument. The sound is clear and fills the theatre.

The voices are fine and blend well, giving the audience a treat as they enjoy new material. Nick Sugar reproduced the original choreography by Susan Stroman. The title song was written for Liza Minelli to sing in the film, “New York, New York.”

• Cherry Creek Theatre opened “Other Desert Cities” by Jon Robin Baitz, which also runs through April 28 at Mizel Arts and Culture Center. Sheila Ivy Traister debuts as director.

The production is a much darker play than the Town Hall musical, as daughter Brooke (Lilia Vassileva) returns home to her parent’s Palm Springs home for Christmas, 2004, bearing the manuscript of a memoir she has written. New to Colorado, she’ll be a voice to watch.

Conservative ex-Hollywood parents Polly (Abby Apple Boes) and Lyman (Michael McNeill) are not happy to hear about the memoir and wonder if she can’t just wait until they are dead to publish … Her brother Trip, (Charles Lederer), is a calmer voice that ties events together- and Polly’s fresh-from-rehab sister Silda rounds out this cast. Silda is played by Pam Clifton.

A strong play about a family that has all sorts of issues, it was a finalist for the Pulitzer and probably illustrates a writer trying to come to terms with his own difficult world, director Traister speculates in her notes.

“There is no love greater than family and hence no wounds that cut deeper …” she wrote. Probably the whole production will jell a bit further as these actors work together. At which point, it will be even more poignant to watch.

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