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Best Of 2013

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Best Of :: Arts & Entertainment

Best Season for a Theater Company
Curious Theatre Company

Curious had a rocking season last year, and this year the company did it again, mounting three of the season's must-see shows. Time Stands Still was an incisive examination of the way the media covers war — and the resulting indifference of the public — in the very human context of a relationship between a photographer and a writer who were both profoundly damaged by a stint in Iraq. Then there was Red, a two-man piece about the relationship between Mark Rothko and an apprentice-disciple that told us much about the narcissism of the great painter and what it takes to make art. The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, a play about race, wrestling and ambition, charged into your consciousness, jolted you to attention, picked you up in a front face-lock and set you down breathless. Then there was the mordant humor of Becky Shaw and the — sorry about this — forgettable Maple and Vine. Generally speaking, everything at this theater — sets, lights, costumes, acting — is top-notch. If you're looking for a present for a theater-loving special friend, you can't do better than a Curious season ticket.

1080 Acoma St., Denver, 80204
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303-623-0524
Best Abstract Trio

William Havu brought together three of the state's top abstract artists last spring. The main event was Amy Metier. Metier begins with an actual subject, and then, using her expressive brushwork, turns it into an abstract composition; though more representational than usual for her, these paintings were still very much a part of her classic style. Meanwhile, the floors at Havu were filled with small, simple sculptures based on organic shapes by Michael Clapper. One of Clapper's greatest strengths is the way he combines different materials. Finishing off the trio were Emilio Lobato's recent wall relief sculptures made of found materials.

Best Act of Selflessness

When beloved local songwriter Mike Marchant was diagnosed with lymphoma last year, the scene immediately rose up to support him. A part of Denver music for the past decade and a half, Marchant is known not only for his never-ending creative endeavors — in Widowers, Houses, Mike Marchant's Outer Space Party Unit and more — but also for his kind heart. Like many creative types, Marchant is uninsured, but the amount of support coming in from the numerous benefit concerts, comedy nights and variety shows that sprung up within weeks of his diagnosis has been nothing short of miraculous. It pays to be kind, and this selfless musician would surely do the same if he were in someone else's shoes.

Best Actor in a Comedy

The story behind The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity is told as a series of monologues by a Puerto Rican kid called Macedonio Guerra, or Mace. Mace was fascinated by professional wrestling as a kid and grew up to be a part of that world. But only as a literal fall guy — the opponent routinely demolished by such stars as Chad Deity, a man who knows how to put on a terrific show but can't really fight worth a lick. It takes a lot of charm to keep audiences engaged through these long, often expository monologues, and serious acting chops to bring across Mace's emotional life and the way he longs less for his own turn in the spotlight than for some kind of truth in the over-hyped, stereotype-ridden sport he loves. Lopez managed all of this in the Curious Theatre production and pulled off some cool wrestling moves in the process.

Best Actor in a Drama

James O'Hagan Murphy provided a complex portrait of a complex man in RFK. Robert Kennedy is remembered for his tragic assassination and venerated as the ideal president-who-should-have-been. But he possessed less pleasant characteristics, too: utter ruthlessness in pursuit of power; spurts of pettiness and jealousy; a profound loathing (entirely reciprocated) for Lyndon Baines Johnson. Kennedy tapped Martin Luther King's phone, and it took him some time to become an advocate for civil rights. But once he did, he fought for them passionately. In Murphy's authoritative performance in this Vintage Theatre production, all of the man's depths and ambiguities were made clear. And Kennedy's grief as he stood over the coffin of his murdered brother seared the soul.

Best Actor in a Musical

Erick Devine exuded kindness and humanity as Kris Kringle in the Arvada Center's Miracle on 34th Street. He has a big, rich baritone, and his portrayal brought so much warmth to the show that when he told little Susan he really was Santa Claus, you didn't doubt it for a moment.

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Best Season for a Theater Company: Curious Theatre Company

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