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Capsule reviews of current shows

Retro Loud. The latest in a series of Loud shows that started ten years ago, Retro Loud is a compendium of songs based on the thinnest of plots. What keeps these evenings of oldies entertaining is the dual focus the cast brings to the material: Almost every number is a total spoof, utilizing cheap wigs, cheesy costumes, hamming, guys in drag. But you can also tell that the company members have picked numbers they really love, and their choreography and musicianship are strong. On "California Dreaming," for example, you're simultaneously howling with laughter at Annie Dwyer's antics as a fat-suited Mama Cass and appreciating the wistful words and lovely, nostalgic melody of the song. High points of the evening include T.J. Mullin as Elvis; Rory Pierce as Jim Morrison (here's a guy who can raise huge laughs mincing around in a skirt and later mesmerize the women with his arrogant, black-leather-pants-clad moves on "Light My Fire"); Alex Crawford, clad in gold lamé, singing Hammer's "Can't Touch This"; Dwyer's takes on Janis Joplin and Tina Turner and Johnette Toye, who's back after a two-year absence with a sizzling rendition of "These Boots Are Made for Walking." (Johnette: Don't let them walk you out of this place again.) The beginnings of these Heritage Square shows are usually raggedy and low-key, so the tightness and precision of the musical works can be startling. It's like watching a high-school talent show — except with amazingly talented high-schoolers. Presented by Heritage Square Music Hall through September 14, 18301 West Colfax Avenue, Golden, 303-279-7800, Reviewed August 28.

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