Friday, May 27, 2011

Gravity Defied Theatre company splits off from RMAA, adopts new name

Keith Rabin Jr. performs in the Gravity Defied production of "The Wild Party" last year. (Gabriel Christus / Aurora Sentinel).
The Gravity Defied Theatre Company has split from the Rocky Mountain Arts Association and adopted a new title.
Gravity Defied founder and artistic Director Keith Rabin announced yesterday the Ignite Theatre Company will operate under a new, independent organization called Lucent Performing Arts. The Lucent Performing Arts group will eventually include a  professional show choir called "Illumination."
The company will still operate out of the Aurora Fox and it will finish the rest of the planned Gravity Defied season, which includes a fundraising performance of "Edges of Love" at Hamburger Mary's in Denver, as well as productions of "Pippin" and "A Chorus Line" at the Aurora Fox. Rabin also announced selections for the Ignite Theatre Company's 2012 season. The company will perform its first nonmusical piece, "The Busy World Is Hushed" to be directed by Bernie Cardell, as well as a production of the Tony Award-winning musical "Spring Awakening."
Rabin will serve as the new executive artistic director for the Lucent Performing Arts group.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Uncle Jed's Barbershop" preview: Q&A with Leonard Barett Jr.

Leonard Barrett Jr. (Photo courtesy of Max Talent)

Leonard Barrett Jr. will help bring a dose of local talent to this weekend's performance of the musical "Uncle Jed's Barbershop" at the Aurora Fox theater. The veteran actor and singer has graced the stage in Aurora before as a regular company member at PHAMALY, and he's carved a niche locally with his regular slate of concerts and one-man shows. The Sentinel talked to Barrett about working with a Broadway crew for "Jed" and his own dual role in the staged concert reading.

"Uncle Jed's Barbershop" preview: Q&A with Ken Prymus

(Photo courtesy of Ken Prymus).

This weekend's staged reading of the musical "Uncle Jed's Barbershop"at the Aurora Fox will offer Ken Prymus a chance to revisit the Denver theater scene. The Broadway veteran made stops in Denver for touring production of "Cats," "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Cinderella" on larger stages; his title role in the musical penned by Kenneth Grimes, David Wohl and Susan Einhorn offers the chance to perform for smaller crowds in a more intimate setting. The musical, based on the award-winning children's book by Margaree King Mitchell, tells the story of Jed, the only barber in a small town in 1920s-era Arkansas. The Sentinel caught up with Prymus to talk about the role and how the musical has evolved in the past decade.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Further Afield Reviews: "Billy Elliot: The Musical"

Giuseppe Bausilio in "Billy Eliot" (Photo courtesy of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts)

“Billy Elliot”
Until June 5 at the Buell Theater
1101 13th St., Denver
For ticket information, log on to

Three and a half stars out of four

There’s no escaping the influence of the source material on “Billy Elliot: The Musical.”
Lee Hall’s 2005 musical tracks the course of his 2000 film closely. Even with the added lush score by Sir Elton John and the more in-depth choreography, the show’s heart remains the story of an aspiring 11-year-old ballet dancer, a budding artist beset by the challenges of society’s stereotypes.
For all the similarities, however, the basic plot seems to pack more of a punch on the stage.
This stage adaption succeeds where most other musicals drawn from films fail: It uses its source material as a springboard for a deeper artistic statement. Where shows like “9 to 5” and “Shrek” feel like lesser versions of the originals, the stage version of “Billy Elliot” has the sense of an evolution, a more refined take on the original concept.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Delayed start date for "Run for Your Wife" at the John Hand Theater

From left: Johanna Jaquith, Bernie Cardell and Bonnie Green in the Spotlight's production of "Run for Your Wife." (Photo courtesy of the Spotlight Theatre Company)
The Spotlight Theatre Company's revived run of the farce "Run for Your Wife" will start May 28, a week later than originally planned due to an injury.
The Spotlight’s production of “Run for Your Wife” at the John Hand Theatre will be the company’s fourth run of the farce, which tracks lead character John Smith and his struggles to juggle two simultaneous marriages. As Smith, a taxi driver, deals with the dual demands of two wives, he does his best to keep each bride in the dark. The lie becomes all the more difficult to maintain when Smith has to deal with two nosy detectives and a nosy neighbor. “Run For Your Wife” features the entire cast from the 2007 prdouction and runs from May 28 to July 2 at the John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place. Information: or 720-880-8727.

Aurora Fox to hold auditions for "Crumbs" in June

Scenes from a production of "Crumbs from the Table of Joy" at the Paul Robeson Theatre in New York.

The Aurora Fox theater will hold auditions for “Crumbs from the Table of Joy,” the third show of its 27th season, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 4.
The drama by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage focuses on a family’s geographical shift in 1950. The available roles are for two black women aged 15-19, one black woman aged 30 to 45, one black man aged 30 to 45 and one white woman aged 25 to 40. The show will include two roles for members of the Actors’ Equity union.
Actors’ Equity auditions will run from 1 to 2 p.m. on June 4; all other auditions will run from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Aurora's own Billy Elliot reviews 'Billy Elliot: The Musical'

Kenny Allen, center, poses with Kylend Hetherington, left, and Lex Ishimoto, right, on May 13 at the Buell Theatre in Denver. Hetherington and Ishimoto are two of the four actors who play the titular role in the touring production of "Billy Elliot: the Musical" at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts until June 5. (Photo by Adam Goldstein / The Aurora Sentinel).

Earlier this month, we ran a feature about Kenny Allen, the 10-year-old Aurora student from Rolling Hills Elementary School whose passion for dance mirrors the lead character from "Billy Elliot." Allen spends several hours a day in one of the two Miller's Dance Studio locations in any given week, honing his skills in ballet, jazz, hip-hop and other dance forms.
Last week, Kenny joined his mother, father and sister to take in a performance of the London musical that's currently running at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Before the show, the family got the chance to meet two of the four actors playing the titular role in the show and watch them rehearse.
We asked Kenny to give us his feedback about the show and its underlying message. Find his enthusiastic and straightforward review after the jump.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Image from Fire Arts Festival

(Photo by Heather L. Smith / Aurora Sentinel).
The drizzle and cold temperatures this weekend couldn't cool down the molten iron on display on East Colfax Avenue. Sentinel photographer Heather L. Smith hit the outdoor displays and evening iron pours during the inaugural Fire Arts Festival. Live video footage is coming; in the meantime, enjoy Heather's stunning photo.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fire Arts Festival Preview: "Tune Into Health" at DAVA

Susan Jenson, executive director of Downtown Aurora Visual Arts talks to gallery students last November.
Photo by Heather L. Smith / The Aurora Sentinel)

The Fire Arts Festival will hit the Aurora Arts District on East Colfax Avenue this weekend, complete with gallery openings, live iron pours to a half marathon. We'll be running regular previews about the many events that will be on tap in Aurora this weekend, including exhibitions, staged readings and outdoor fun.

Healthy living will be a recurring theme in a gallery exhibit by the city’s youngest artists that’s set to debut this weekend.
Students from the Downtown Aurora Visual Arts Gallery will premiere their “Tune Into Health” exhibit during the “Art On the Fax” walk planned from 5 to 8 p.m. on May 13. The exhibit will feature a variety of drawings, paintings and mixed media pieces with a common message: the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices.

Fire Arts Festival Preview: The Pocketbook Monologues at the Dayton St. Theatre

The Fire Arts Festival that's set to hit the Aurora Arts District on East Colfax Avenue this weekend will offer local art lovers gallery openings, live iron pours, a half marathon and a host of other activities. In the days leading up to the festival, we'll be running regular previews about the many events that will be on tap in Aurora this weekend. 

The Afterthought Theatre company will add a dramatic spark to this weekend’s Fire Arts Festival in Original Aurora.
To kick off an arts weekend that will feature new exhibitions, live iron pours and a half marathon, Aurora’s newest theater troupe will perform a staged reading of Sharon K. McGhee’s “The Pocketbook Monologues” at 8 p.m. Friday, May 13, at the Dayton Street Theatre, 1468 Dayton St. The reading will follow the Aurora Art District’s monthly art walk and open house, which will run at different galleries and shops on East Colfax Avenue from 5 to 8 p.m.

Sound Check: Photos from Of Montreal @ the Bluebird, 5/8/2011

Of Montreal plays a surreal set at the Bluebird Theatre in Denver on May 8. 
(Photo by Adam Goldstein / The Aurora Sentinel)

Georgia-based indie outfit Of Montreal brought their trademark brand of performance art and bright pop to the Bluebird Theatre on Sunday, offering a stage show that included dancers in luchador outfits, pig masks and jumpsuits bearing the stars and stripes. Painted Palms delivered a bright opening set seeped in electronic samples and straightforward 4/4 beats.
Find a few more images from the controlled musical chaos after the jump.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Auditions for "The Wiz" set for June at Dayton St.

The Afterthought Theatre Company will hold auditions for its first musical, "The Wiz," at 5 p.m. on June 6 at the Dayton St. Theatre, 1468 Dayton St.
The musical by Charlie Smalls and William Brown is based on "The Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum. The 30 to 35 available roles in the Afterthought production will include all ages and ethnicities, including children from 6 years old up. No roles are precast, according to the company.
Actors should prepare 16 to 32 bars of a musical piece, as well as a headshot, a resume and a list of any conflicts for June 27 to August 25.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Winners from the Colorado Film School spring show

Photo by Heather L. Smith / The Aurora Sentinel 

The Colorado Film School held its spring Student Show at the Paramount Theatre in Denver last night, and recognized the best films with awards. The mini-festival featured the best student films and trailers from the past semester, works selected by CFS faculty members.

In its academic programs through the Community College of Aurora and Regis University, CFS offers associate and bachelor’s degrees in writing/directing, writing/producing, cinematography/videography, post production and acting for the screen, as well as a one-year advanced immersion program. While the school is wholly owned by CCA, a current agreement with Regis University allows students to pursue bachelor of fine arts degrees after three years of enrollment through CCA.

Find a complete list of nominees and winners from the festival after the jump.

This weekend: Your first and last chance to see Gravity Defied's production of "The Last Five Years"

Photo by Heather L. Smith / The Aurora Sentinel

If you blink, you very well may miss the Gravity Defied Theatre company’s latest creative experiment.
This weekend, the troupe will tackle “The Last 5 Years,” Jason Robert Brown’s musical that tracks the birth and death of a romantic relationship over the course of five years. Audiences won’t have long to catch the show – the musical’s run is only one weekend.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Auditions for "Roshomon" set for May 16 at the Fox

The Aurora Fox theater will hold auditions for “Rashomon,” the first show of its 27th season, on Monday, May 16.
The drama by playwright by Fay and Michael Kanin is based on the stories by Ryunokuke Akutagawa, and filmmaker Akira Kurosawa used the basic plot as the foundation for his 1950 film. The available roles in the Fox’s production are for six men aged 20 to 60 or older, and three women aged 20 to 50. The show will include two roles for members of the Actors’ Equity union.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cinco de Mayo to hit the Fox a day early

Photo courtesy of the Colorado Folk Arts Council

AURORA | Cinco de Mayo is coming to the Aurora Fox theater a day early.
The Colorado Folk Arts Council’s Cinco celebration will hit the Fox stage at 1 p.m. on May 4, and will feature music, storytelling and dance routines from a diverse troupe of performers. The event represents a local tradition of sorts — along with its yearly celebration of the Cinco de Mayo holiday, the Colorado Folk Arts Council has offered a rotating schedule of performances on the Fox stage.