Listen closely on the corner of 27th and Welton in Five Points: With a little imagination and the right kind of crazy, you might hear the ghostly improvisation of jazz legends such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. During the first half of the twentieth century, the Rossonian Hotel attracted talent from around the country and snubbed Jim Crow by allowing black entertainers to sleep between its smoky walls. Those were the glory days of Five Points, when Ike was president, cigarettes couldn't kill you, women wore high heels to the market and a tank of gas didn't cost more than your car.
Tonight starting at 7:30 p.m. at Crossroads Theater, 2590 Washington Street, Live At the Rossonian takes you back to these innocent bygone days minus the cigarette smoke. "It's set up in the style of an old-time '50s variety show," says director Sheryl Renee. Local actors, vocalists and comedians impersonate icons such as Ella Fitzgerald, Pearl Bailey, Billie Holiday, Redd Foxx, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Josephine Baker and Tony Bennett, while a comedian/host keeps the show rolling with jokes and live, politically incorrect commercials from back in the day. "Ultimately, we want to honor the entertainers who paved the way for us while giving a nod to the talent that's based here in Denver today," says Renee.
Tickets are $24.95, or $19.95 per person for a group of ten or more; the show runs through July 30. For more information, call 303-296-5559 or go to www.denvercrossroads.com.
May 25-July 30, 7:30 p.m., 2008