Acutely aware that Praying for Rain's probing look at the root causes of youth violence would awaken post-Columbine feelings, Curious Theatre Company artistic director Chip Walton went ahead with plans to give Colorado native Robert Louis Vaughan's drama its world premiere in Denver. Though the play didn't scale the artistic heights to which it aspired, Walton's astute approach proved paramount. And the dynamic director masterfully ennobled the prickly observations that permeated last fall's Full Gallop, a smartly staged examination of the heyday of modern style and its precipitous decline.

Acutely aware that Praying for Rain's probing look at the root causes of youth violence would awaken post-Columbine feelings, Curious Theatre Company artistic director Chip Walton went ahead with plans to give Colorado native Robert Louis Vaughan's drama its world premiere in Denver. Though the play didn't scale the artistic heights to which it aspired, Walton's astute approach proved paramount. And the dynamic director masterfully ennobled the prickly observations that permeated last fall's Full Gallop, a smartly staged examination of the heyday of modern style and its precipitous decline.

Audiences at last October's Denver International Film Festival were tremendously moved by the work of Polish director Dorota Kedzierzawska, particularly by Nic (Nothing), an intense, visually fluent drama about children trying to cope with the thoughtless cruelty of their elders. The festival honored Kedzierzawska with a special tribute, and she captivated her listeners with behind-the-camera stories about making films in Poland and working with the extraordinary children who inhabit her world.
Audiences at last October's Denver International Film Festival were tremendously moved by the work of Polish director Dorota Kedzierzawska, particularly by Nic (Nothing), an intense, visually fluent drama about children trying to cope with the thoughtless cruelty of their elders. The festival honored Kedzierzawska with a special tribute, and she captivated her listeners with behind-the-camera stories about making films in Poland and working with the extraordinary children who inhabit her world.
In an age when musical blockbusters are marked by star-studded casts, syrupy story lines and truckloads of scenery, Kurt Weill's Street Scene seems destined to remain mothballed under layers of critical and scholarly acclaim. But on the strength of director Michael Ehrman's character-driven approach, a jazzy score and an exquisite set, the Central City Opera's production breathed vibrant life into Weill's 1947 Broadway show. And even though there aren't any Pepsodent-smile kick-line numbers in the eclectic score, the story's shifting tides of passion were given full expression by the comings and goings of a 35-member ensemble, evoking the allure and magic of old Broadway without using a simulated natural disaster or a slew of puppets.

In an age when musical blockbusters are marked by star-studded casts, syrupy story lines and truckloads of scenery, Kurt Weill's Street Scene seems destined to remain mothballed under layers of critical and scholarly acclaim. But on the strength of director Michael Ehrman's character-driven approach, a jazzy score and an exquisite set, the Central City Opera's production breathed vibrant life into Weill's 1947 Broadway show. And even though there aren't any Pepsodent-smile kick-line numbers in the eclectic score, the story's shifting tides of passion were given full expression by the comings and goings of a 35-member ensemble, evoking the allure and magic of old Broadway without using a simulated natural disaster or a slew of puppets.

Following a season in which he played a series of demanding leading roles, John Hutton took a backseat to his fellow Denver Center Theatre Company actors and, in the process, introduced audiences to his performing persona's seldom-seen byways. The lanky leading man rendered an authoritative portrait of a browbeaten bliss juggler in the world premiere of A Hotel on Marvin Gardens, and although The Winter's Tale provided him with precious few scenes in which to project Leontes's tragic depths, Hutton perfectly captured the "diseased mind" of a character often referred to by critics as an Othello who is his own Iago. In Side Man, he veered through the part of a trombone-playing heroin addict with cooler-than-hep fluidity. As Hutton himself has often done in the past, his multifaceted creations intrigued without casting a harsh glare on peripheral concerns.

Following a season in which he played a series of demanding leading roles, John Hutton took a backseat to his fellow Denver Center Theatre Company actors and, in the process, introduced audiences to his performing persona's seldom-seen byways. The lanky leading man rendered an authoritative portrait of a browbeaten bliss juggler in the world premiere of A Hotel on Marvin Gardens, and although The Winter's Tale provided him with precious few scenes in which to project Leontes's tragic depths, Hutton perfectly captured the "diseased mind" of a character often referred to by critics as an Othello who is his own Iago. In Side Man, he veered through the part of a trombone-playing heroin addict with cooler-than-hep fluidity. As Hutton himself has often done in the past, his multifaceted creations intrigued without casting a harsh glare on peripheral concerns.

For the past several seasons, Mercedes Perez has deftly portrayed supporting parts while maintaining each role's proper place in a play's grand scheme, showing her ability to be an artful team player in a business that increasingly

values novelty over craft. And this past year saw her unique talents showcased as never before. She lit up the stage as Anita in the Arvada Center's exuberant production of West Side Story and was a divine presence as a thrice-appearing choric figure that replaced the stodgy role of Father Time in the Denver Center's lavish Winter's Tale. Although she's since relocated to Aspen (where her husband is the new artistic director of Theatre-in-the-Park), Perez will, we hope, migrate periodically from the land of pointy-headed stars to play an even more supportive role in Denver's burgeoning professional scene.

For the past several seasons, Mercedes Perez has deftly portrayed supporting parts while maintaining each role's proper place in a play's grand scheme, showing her ability to be an artful team player in a business that increasingly

values novelty over craft. And this past year saw her unique talents showcased as never before. She lit up the stage as Anita in the Arvada Center's exuberant production of West Side Story and was a divine presence as a thrice-appearing choric figure that replaced the stodgy role of Father Time in the Denver Center's lavish Winter's Tale. Although she's since relocated to Aspen (where her husband is the new artistic director of Theatre-in-the-Park), Perez will, we hope, migrate periodically from the land of pointy-headed stars to play an even more supportive role in Denver's burgeoning professional scene.

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