From jingle slinger to jazz balladeer, Barry Manilow has proved to be mercilessly enduring. But seriously, how can you hate the guy? His songs have become part of America's musical wallpaper, subliminally comforting in their sappy, maudlin nostalgia. Maybe that's why, decades after his last Top 40 single, he's still packing arenas like the Pepsi Center, where he'll appear tonight as part of his One Night Live! One Last Time! tour. But don't take that name literally: Manilow shows no signs of stopping in the 21st century. His 2002 greatest-hits package, Ultimate Manilow, went double-platinum -- although Manilow Speaks, a 1998 spoken-word disc, reportedly hasn't hit bronze yet. His new release, Scores, is a collection of tunes from his successful stage musicals, Harmonyand Copacabana. And speaking of that disco-tinted oddity in Manilow's canon, a bizarre techno remix called, prophetically, "Copacabana 2005" has been burning up dance floors at divorcee support-group meetings everywhere since hitting the streets last month.
Combining stunning visuals from Australia's Northern Territory with the rich sounds of Aboriginal music, Ash Dargan's Territory multimedia show takes audiences deep into the mystery of one of the oldest cultures on earth.
"I wanted the show to bring the audience through thirteen sacred journeys into Dreamtime, which refers to a time when the earth was created, as told through Aboriginal stories," says Dargan. "I want audiences to feel a connection with the living things on this earth."
Dargan, Australia's premier didgeridoo player, also employs Native American flutes in his show. "The power of these instruments can't be described; you can only feel it," says Dargan. Incorporating music with images and natural sounds from the land, Dargan creates an honest story that honors his ancestors.
The show, which starts tonight at 7 p.m. in Fiske Planetarium, on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder, also features a display of the Southern Hemisphere's night sky over Australia. Tickets are $20; for more information, visit www.ashdargan.com. -- Richard Kellerhals
Noh Strings Attached
Puppets present an adult Christmas
In The Long Christmas Ride Home, Pulitzer winner Paula Vogel's tale of a Christmas Eve celebration that has spun out of control, three porcelain-faced Bunraku puppets take center stage.
The play, which opens tonight at the Acoma Center, incorporates traditional Japanese Noh staging, shadow puppetry and live percussion. Actors Mare Trevathan Philpott, Josh Robinson, Jason Henning, Karen Slack and Stephen Pearce pilot the production. "The magic in this story does not come from the plot line, but from the innovative telling of it," explains Philpott.
The Muppet Show, it's not. A contemporary take on dysfunctional family values, homosexuality and survival, Christmas uses mature-audience puppetry and prose to convey its message, with humor and vibrant visuals mixed in to lighten the journey. The show runs through December 18 at the Acoma Center, 1080 Acoma Street. Tickets are $20 to $26, with two-for-one discounts on Thursdays. Call 303-623-0524 or visit www.curioustheatre.org. -- Kity Ironton