Unlike most actresses who play Olivia, Jadelynn Stahl has no time for the character's usual posing and passivity. Instead, her Olivia is a luscious, black-haired beauty with a melodious voice and a gift for farce who seizes life by the scruff of the neck and shakes it till she gets the love and happiness she craves.


When you've got either Baierlein or his wife, Sallie Diamond, on stage, you've got fine theater. Put them together as Bill and Betty, the hospitable couple in Greek Treats, and the result is an evening of pure pleasure. Entranced by their mythical off-stage friends, Jason and Medea, Bill and Betty rebel against their boring suburban life. Bill dreams of Dionsyian sex, Betty of an all-woman commune where she could unleash her creative impulses. Theirs is the kind of quietly skilled acting that doesn't advertise itself, but you can see the flame of passion shining through Bill and Betty's conventional exteriors.


John Sloan played the romantic, caustic, moody Berowne in Love's Labor's Lost with energy, wit, youthful exuberance and a genuine understanding of the language. His performance confirmed the expectation raised last year by his irrepressible Mairtin in A Skull in Connemara that this was an actor to watch.


As Collected Stories begins, a worshipful young writer comes to a famed and brilliant older author for advice. As the play progresses, the novice matures into a poised young comer, a surrogate daughter to and ultimate betrayer of her mentor. Heather Nicolson brought charm, vitality and intelligence to the role, along with an increasingly evident steely backbone.
Many a bold-faced name have given performances in Eve Ensler's original Off-Broadway hit, but it was Margot Kidder who brought it to life in Denver. She gave one of the wildest, most raucous and also most generous-spirited performances ever to grace an area stage, giving new meaning to the phrase "pulling out all the stops."


In her first appearance as Professor E.M. Ashford, Susan D'Autremont was appropriately chilly and forbidding. But she brought an almost radiant kindness to her second appearance, at the bedside of her protegé Vivian Bearing, finally calling on Shakespeare's "flights of angels" to see the dying woman to her rest.


For Wit, Terry Dodd coaxed nuance and passion from a play that -- though it reliably reduces audiences to tears -- has always struck us as thin and smug. Her production created a connection to a deep and ancient sea of inner sadness that even Emma Thompson and HBO couldn't accomplish. We found a grace and truth here that we hadn't previously sensed, and the result was genuinely moving.


I'd venture to guess that no one, but no one, would attend a production of Titus Andronicus except under duress, but this version is inviting and howlingly funny. Five actors played all of the roles, the set was a cunningly fitted-out van in the middle of an empty space, the death score was kept on a chalkboard, and songs and dances punctuated the murderous action. This was a clever, inventive and definitive production.


Hicks has been working with August Wilson's work for so long now that he almost seems to breathe these plays' silences, words and rhythms. For King Hedley II, he brought together a fine group of local and out-of-town actors, elicited generous, full-hearted performances from them and balanced the performances one against the other to create a layered, textured and absorbing world on stage.
The dancing in this show provided all the customary joys of synchronized kicking and tapping, along with loads of wittily unexpected moves. In "I've Got Rhythm," which served as the first-act finale, everything and anything became a musical instrument -- miners' helmets, pizza pans, a plunger and the dancers' bodies. The number built and built and built, and still you wanted it never to end. The original choreography is by the multi-award-winning Susan Stroman; local choreographer Tony Rintala re-created it with a group of talented dancers.


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