by Tracy Shaffer
As the leaves turn in the high country, Denverites turn out in style. Theatres open their season, ball fields close up shop and a flurry of arty events fills the calendar.
There's a not-to-be-missed show at the Denver Center Theatre as four actors glide through more than fifty characters as fluidly as a flip-book. The 39 Steps is a Hitchcock spoof extraordinaire led by DCTC staple, Sam Gregory as our Everyman caught in a high-stakes international crime caper. Mr. Gregory is always good, but watching him in this film noir frolic opens up the throttle of his comic talent, while Victoria Mack makes an impressive Denver debut as the vixen, victim and vamp. It is by far, the boffo ballet of Rob Nagle and Larry Paulsen that brings this roller-coaster to its vaudevillian knees. My jaw was on my chest in simultaneous awe and laughter. Director, Art Manke, takes the play out of the script's British music hall setting and brilliantly lands it smack in the middle of a black & white movie reel: fast and suspenseful, like Cary Grant running from a crop duster. The result is perfection. Also at the Center, the Caridad Svich adaptation of Isabele Allende's gripping novel, "The House of Spirits", starring the amazing Franca Sofia Barchiesi in the role of Clara, and Thursday's opening of Bram Stoker's "Dracula". Three medium adapted for stage… spooky.
Ballet Nouveau Colorado opened it's 2010-11 doors with the hot "Live Jazz" show last weekend and if that's an indication of what's inside, it's worth your drive. Next up for BNC is Chasing the Sublime, a shared experience in art. Pursuit of the horizon links dance and the visual artist as spacial relations seductively merge.
For the retinal palette, and those who fete accordingly, the upcoming Salon du Musee is the art soiree de l' annee. A benefit for the Denver Art Museum, the Salon is the culmination of a year's work of founder and curator Natalie Rekstad-Lynn. This is the first museum-wide collaboration to form one exhibition as DAM department curators selected offerings from their milieu allowing attendees a unique opportunity to purchase vetted works to add to their collections. Working in concert, this event challenges the art lover to experience more of the museum's permanent collections outside the comfort zone of the big daddy exhibits like King Tut. I've seen some of the work included and it is spectacular. And speaking of…I'll be auctioning the VIP of VIP trips; Walla Walla's Waters Winery via owner, Buck Blessing's private jet. Buckle up for that one.
Now if you're inclined to mixed palettes, you should plan on heading to Paragon Theatre Ensemble's upcoming world premiere production of (w)Hole, a play about an artist by Tracy Shaffer (c' est moi!). Yes this is a shameless plug, but one with a Telluride connection. (w)Hole was developed and read in the 2nd Annual Telluride Playwrights Festival and further contemplated this past July. Personally, I cannot wait to see how far it's grown, all 3-D and everything.
More soon, but for now… I'm OUT on the town.