The central character in Theresa Rebeck’s satirical comedy of wordplay, Seminar, is Leonard, an above-it-all literary figure so revered from beneath his cloud nine that he can’t be brought down for anyone or anything. Four hopeful writers, each of whom has paid $5,000 for the opportunity, sit at his feet for a private instruction session and what turns out to be an unforgiving barrage of biting words and put-on shoulder-shrugging that sets off waves of interpersonal dynamics within the group.
Alan Rickman and Jeff Goldblum played Leonard on Broadway; when the play opens tonight at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder in a production staged by the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, it’ll be veteran Denver actor John Ashton handling the prickly role. And director Stephen Weitz says the whole stellar cast is just the beginning of what will make this a comedy to see this fall.
It also has a broad appeal not just for the literary-minded, but for creative people in general. “Seminar has a real heart about what it means to be an artist and for the act of creating art and all the terror and vulnerability that comes with that, which it treats in a meaningful and funny way,” notes Weitz. “The characters are all real people going through real journeys, and that’s where the comedy and the heartbreak come from.”
BETC opens its season with Seminar tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Dairy, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder, and runs through October 20; for tickets, $15 to $25, visit betc.org or call the Dairy at 303-444-7328.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m.; Wed., Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Sept. 26. Continues through Oct. 20, 2013