The sometimes bloody sit-ins that took place at "whites only" lunch counters throughout the South inspired dramatist S.M. Shephard-Massat to write Waiting to Be Invited, a tale of four unlikely heroes who put the Supreme Court's anti-segregationist rulings into practice. Largely conversational in tone, yet naggingly urgent in feel, the Denver Center Theatre Company's world-premiere production demonstrated that the everyday actions of ordinary folk are just as crucial to the fight for social justice as the vaunted declarations of philosophers, clerics and statesmen. And even though the play didn't culminate in a gripping, over-the-lunch-counter confrontation, Shephard-Massat emphatically made the point that standing up for equal rights means being willing to risk physical harm for the sake of mere belief. As DCTC patrons discovered nightly, that's an idea worth standing up for and cheering about.
The sometimes bloody sit-ins that took place at "whites only" lunch counters throughout the South inspired dramatist S.M. Shephard-Massat to write Waiting to Be Invited, a tale of four unlikely heroes who put the Supreme Court's anti-segregationist rulings into practice. Largely conversational in tone, yet naggingly urgent in feel, the Denver Center Theatre Company's world-premiere production demonstrated that the everyday actions of ordinary folk are just as crucial to the fight for social justice as the vaunted declarations of philosophers, clerics and statesmen. And even though the play didn't culminate in a gripping, over-the-lunch-counter confrontation, Shephard-Massat emphatically made the point that standing up for equal rights means being willing to risk physical harm for the sake of mere belief. As DCTC patrons discovered nightly, that's an idea worth standing up for and cheering about.
From the moment she strode through the red-curtained archway of Diana Vreeland's Manhattan residence, Deborah Persoff exuded an ebullience that one typically senses only from established performers appearing in test-marketed star vehicles. Suffused with a regal pride that verged on but never became haughtiness, Persoff cut a commanding figure in Full Gallop while spouting the legendary Vogue editor's slew of pithy fashion statements. Despite the inherent weaknesses in Mark Hampton and Mary Louise Wilson's script, or perhaps because of them, Persoff and director Chip Walton complemented each other's strengths to offer up an engaging evening of style, whimsy and steely sophistication. And as Persoff moved about the stage with near-balletic flair, it became clear that her mother's belief that Diana lacked natural beauty was, on the whole, a monumentally superficial observation.

From the moment she strode through the red-curtained archway of Diana Vreeland's Manhattan residence, Deborah Persoff exuded an ebullience that one typically senses only from established performers appearing in test-marketed star vehicles. Suffused with a regal pride that verged on but never became haughtiness, Persoff cut a commanding figure in Full Gallop while spouting the legendary Vogue editor's slew of pithy fashion statements. Despite the inherent weaknesses in Mark Hampton and Mary Louise Wilson's script, or perhaps because of them, Persoff and director Chip Walton complemented each other's strengths to offer up an engaging evening of style, whimsy and steely sophistication. And as Persoff moved about the stage with near-balletic flair, it became clear that her mother's belief that Diana lacked natural beauty was, on the whole, a monumentally superficial observation.

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.

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