According to Boulder dancer Ellie Sciarra, women tap dancers deserve an opportunity to strut their stuff under the bright lights of center stage. "The tap world is very male-dominated," she says. "While we all know who Gene Kelly and Gregory Hines were, women tap dancers were traditionally just props for the men. They were kept back in the chorus."
Sciarra came up with idea of celebrating female tap dancers in 1997. After collecting oral histories from eleven artists, she created and choreographed Taps Are Talking: Women in Tap, a dance/theater performance that will be staged at the Lakewood Cultural Center.
"What I am trying to do is tell the story of women tappers and the challenges that women face in practicing this art," says Sciarra. "This show crosses gender lines, and I think there is something healing in it."
Taps Are Talking was first performed in Boulder in 1999, but it has changed since then. This installation will include a multimedia dimension and feature nine dancers ranging in age from eleven to eighty.
"I think that the show is growing up; it's maturing," says Sciarra. "We've taken everything to a deeper level. I've added two younger dancers to the cast, and I think that they round the story out a little more because they are the future of tap."
While creating Taps Are Talking has been a personal journey for Sciarra, she has big aspirations for the production. "My dream is to take this show to Broadway, because these stories deserve to be told," she says.
"People smile when they watch tap dancing; it's hard not to," she adds. "It's a very inspiring show. Whatever it is that you like to do, go do it."
Taps Are Talking will be performed tonight and tomorrow night at 8 p.m., and Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $23.50 and can be purchased by calling 303-987-7845 or by visiting www.lakewood.org. The center is at 470 South Allison Parkway. -- Julie Dunn
Kids Create Their Own Show
When twelve high school drama students raise the bar and try to present something other than the usual song and dance for their big spring production, you've just got to shout encouragement. So say hey to Every Once in a While, an original play with music, from the kids at Foothills Academy in Wheat Ridge, where Buntport Theater member Even Weissman is one of three artists in residence. The story revolves around familiar film characters who are set loose in the real world and are trying to find their way back to where they belong. Shows will be performed at 7 p.m. nightly through April 10 at Buntport, 717 Lipan Street; for information and tickets, $5, call 720-946-1388. -- Susan Froyd
Martino Gets Jazzy
Pat Martino isn't just one of the best jazz guitarists on earth; he's also one of the smartest. Sadly, he suffered a brain aneurysm in 1980, and the resulting bout of extreme memory loss temporarily erased his ability to play. But now there's a happy ending: Martino's back. After essentially relearning everything he knew before the 1980 episode, he's better than ever, with a surplus of creative energy and a Grammy nomination under his belt. He's called his newest Blue Note CD, a John Coltrane tribute, Think Tank. Give a listen, and stretch your own mind. Martino performs with a quintet tonight at 8 p.m. at Mount Vernon Country Club in Golden; tickets are $16 for the concert only or $39.95 for a dinner-concert package. Call 303-525-0616. -- Susan Froyd
Single White Male
Boy Gets Girl is the stalk of the town
In the hasty world of modern matchmaking, more and more lonely hearts are turning to Internet singles ads, speed dating and blind dates in hopes that Cupid will strike. "But how do you know who those people in the ads really are?" asks Theater Group stage director Nicholas Sugar. Boy Gets Girl, a play presented by the Theatre Group, will explore the darker side of the dating game in a limited run, tonight through May 15, at the Phoenix Theatre, 1124 Santa Fe Drive.
Written by Rebecca Gilman, whose works include Spinning Into Butter and Glory, and locally directed by Sugar, Boy Gets Girl is about a New York journalist who goes looking for love but is left with a stalker and a restraining order instead. "She ends up with a very psychotic man who just can't take no for an answer," says Sugar. "It's an interesting drama, with very funny, serious and completely twisted moments."
Described by Time as "the finest, most disturbing American play in years," Boy Gets Girl is a psychological chiller that examines the relationship between love and obsession. "It's not going to leave you easily," cautions Sugar. "People will leave the theater definitely thinking about this piece."
Tickets are $20; call 303-777-3292 or visit www.theatregroup.org for show times. -- Kity Ironton
National Theatre Conservatory bids students adieu
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Before jetting to auditions in New York, eight soon-to-be graduates of the National Theatre Conservatory will grace a Denver stage one last time as students in NTC Rep 2004. "This is a wonderfully diverse and unique group," says Denver Center for the Performing Arts director of education Daniel Renner. "It's always an emotional time, because this is their graduation; they're entering into the professional ranks. But they are well-trained, and we are very proud of them."
The culmination of NTC's three-year master's acting program, Rep 2004 will feature performances of Neil Simon's The Good Doctor and Peter Shaffer's Equus.
"It's interesting to see how much my classmates and I have learned and how far we've come," says graduating NTC student Allison Watrous. "It is the end of an incredible journey."
Opening tonight with Equus at 6:30 p.m., Rep 2004 will run through April 24, with varying show times, in the Denver Center's new Tramway Theatre, 1101 13th Street. Tickets are $14 and can be purchased at www.denvercenter.org or by calling 303-893-4100. -- Julie Dunn