Oh my goodness and gosh and golly too, there is wonderful, old-fashioned fun happening under the glass canopy of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Complex!
First, think “snow” at Colorado Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, playing at the Ellie through December 24. Set in Victorian times, the women are in gowns, the men wear long capes and top hats as outerwear and children who get a tad too rambunctious get hauled away by the ear, the little dickens’. The sets are grand and detailed and the dancing is lovely and innocent (except for the guys who get a little handsy with the women during those big lifts, I must say!).
The snow’s still flying next door (hmmm, it’s only snowing inside – what’s up with that?) at The Buell Theatre with Irving Berlin’s White Christmas playing through December 24. Did you know that song-writer extraordinaire, Irving Berlin, wrote about visions of white Christmases, just like the ones he used to know, while sitting poolside at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel? Well, I did, cuz I’ve been there and heard the tale. “White Christmas” is fun and wholesome and brings the best of your favorite Hollywood musicals from back in the day to the stage. I’m so glad to see this 1950’s era show return with Broadway-ilk performers and Broadway-worthy locals including the wonderful Mike Hartman (who plays bah-humbugged General Waverly), Randy Moore and Jordan Leigh, all familiar faces from the Denver Center. Special mention to Tom Galantich, a Broadway veteran who plays Bob Wallace, who had a voice like rich, silken caramel!
The sets are huge, the dance numbers showy, the plot silly (including the requisite big misunderstanding that takes forever to resolve), romance and glorious costumes. The last scene, in the cheeriest shade of red, will wow you. As with all old-fashioned movie musical plot-lines, everything gets tied up in a big, shiny bow. Yea!
Just a stone’s throw down the Galleria (I don’t mean that literally so don’t try it!) it’s turn-of-the-century mayhem in “When We Are Married,” playing through December 16 at the Stage Theatre. Corseted dresses, men in bowler hats smoking cigars and lots or Port-sipping. Pip-pip and all that rot!
The fine folks in “When We Are Married,” are all about propriety and purpose. Three couples who were all married on the same day and have stayed friends, gather on their 25th wedding anniversary for an evening of dining, reminiscing and declarations of the utility of marriage. But what’s that? They aren’t really married? There was a slight snafu 25 years ago? Oh my, oh my, oh my! What does this mean? They have been living in sin and fornicating illegally for more than two decades! (Gasp!) What will the community think? What will the servants think? What do they think? Is this the “out” they’ve been wishing for from their boring, oppressive, wimpy, philandering spouses? They don’t really mention children but that would be the scandal to end all scandals!
Performed in three acts with two brief intermissions, the play takes a while to get started. The first act, while amusing, sets the stage (on the stage) with very detailed sets, strong characters and beautiful costumes. (A tip of the top hat to The Denver Center Theatre Company’s costume and crafts departments who make costumes to last with beautiful detailing including sumptuous linings and trims the audience might never notice or even see.)
Things really get going and get funny in the last two acts although the whole thing could have really been tightened up – sorry J.B. Priestley, I know you were a prolific playwright and all, but it’s true. I was expecting knee-slapping, rocking back and forth in my seat British comedy here but didn’t quite get it. Yes, it’s funny and terribly clever and enjoyable and inevitably gets you thinking “what if” about your sweetheart. It’s not “Faulty Towers” but “When We Are Married” is fun.
Filling the other two spots under the arch of the DCPA’s galleria are the Colorado Symphony Orchestra at Boettcher Concert Hall and Dixie’s Tupperware Party at the Garner Galleria Theatre. The CSO is offering a plethora of holiday-themed concerts, including A Colorado Christmas, Pink Martini for the Holidays and Too Hot To Handel. That’s wholesome fun for the whole family and for a lovely dress-up evening out.
Dixie, can’t really be called proper but there is a touch of old-fashioned, southern hospitality, sweet and tart as a sour cherry pie for which there is a wonderful Tupperware storage and carrying device, I might add.
Downtown Denver is aglow and wonderfully sparkly this season. Stroll around before or after theater but make sure you take in all that the DCPA has to offer.
It’s all jolly good!
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