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Saints and Hysterics premieres at the Phoenix 
Saints and Hysterics premieres at the Phoenix Theatre.

Paragon Premiere

SAT, 5/29

The universal struggle that women face in trying to balance a career, family and friendship is highlighted in Saints and Hysterics, a new work by local playwright Tracy Shaffer Witherspoon and performed by the Paragon Theatre Company. The play opens tonight with a world-premiere presentation at Denver's Phoenix Theatre. "It's a simple story line about two friends, both in their thirties, who are coming into their own and coming to terms with the different decisions they made," says director Barbra Andrews, a Paragon ensemble member. "It's about making choices and realizing that you can't have it all."

Saints and Hysterics was one of four stories featured in Paragon's new-play-reading series last year. Starring Carolyn Valentine and Emily Paton Davies, it explores the female experience through the lives of the two friends, who are guided in their journeys by a mystical saint, portrayed here by Gina Wencel.

"It is such a pretty play to watch in that it has a very dreamlike quality," says Andrews. "It deals with serious issues, but it is also very lighthearted...and touches on a lot of universal themes that I think the audience will really be able to relate to."

The premiere begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Phoenix, 1124 Santa Fe Drive; Saints and Hysterics continues Thursday through Saturday nights through June 26. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $13 for students and seniors (Thursday performances are two-for-one). Call 303-300-2210 for tickets; visit for more on the company. -- Julie Dunn

Classic Combo
CSO lights up Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky
FRI, 5/28

Baby carriages catapulting down stone staircases, teetering senior citizens and trapped amputees all under fire -- no sympathetic image escaped Russian director Sergei Eisenstein in his quest to make emotionally affecting films. After all, Eisenstein was in the propaganda business -- and Sergei Prokofiev's score for his 1939 film Alexander Nevsky pulled out all the stops, too. The Colorado Symphony Orchestra will give the work a rousing rendition during its final engagement of the 2003-2004 season. And in a revolutionary twist, the classic prince-rallies-peasants-to-defend-nation flick will be shown on three big screens while the music plays on. The concerts, led by guest conductor Duain Wolfe, begin at 7:30 p.m. tonight and tomorrow, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets. Concert-goers can get a taste of the motherland for far less than the cost of a transatlantic flight: Tickets, $17.50 to $75, are available at 303-893-4100 or -- Caitlin Smith


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