Best Suggestion for the Cricket on the Hill Space 2008 | Reopen Cricket on the Hill | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
When the music community was hit by the news that Cricket on the Hill would be closing, shock waves spread through the scene. For countless locals, the Cricket will be remembered as the place they got their start, earned their keep, made their name or found the family they never had. The storied bar in Capitol Hill has been a part of so many lives here for so long that losing it is almost like CBGB closing in New York.
Sean Tarrant's gifts are many: He's tall, lithe and athletic; he has a good voice and a magnetic presence; his work is informed by a discriminating intelligence. And when he's on stage, it's hard to watch anyone else. As Paroles in All's Well That Ends Well, Tarrant showed that even a laughingstock can have some humanity, and perhaps even moments of likability.
When the young Marlon Brando undertook the role of Marc Antony, he appeared on screen oiled and muscular, a glorious young god. Richard Thieriot, on the other hand, sauntered on in shorts, looking like any yuppie Boulderite out for a run. But after a while, you realized what he was up to — and it was an entirely refreshing and original interpretation. He muted the poetry and passion of the great speeches and gave "Friends, Romans, countrymen" just enough juice to accomplish his ends — and as a result, you heard the great rhetorical set piece as if for the first time.
Jacob is the intensely effeminate butler — or, as he prefers, maid — of the gay couple at the center of the frothy, splashy La Cage Aux Folles. The role is a guaranteed laugh-getter, and Milton Craig Nealy played it to the hilt, with infectious style, humor and enjoyment.
A man and a woman have just woken up, and they don't know who they are. A young woman enters, and she tells them cruel things — that they're suspected of murder, that they're not, that they're actually married, but unhappily so. She identifies herself as their lawyer, then later as their daughter. Laura Norman took this baffling role and played it with feeling, hinting at an unknowable but fascinating subtext, and as a result, she held the audience spellbound.
Is there anything Kathleen M. Brady can't do? We've seen her in classical and modern plays, in comedy and tragedy. This year we found out that she can sing, and sing she did in A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, rich-toned and full-throated. Brady played the role of the shrew Domina (the name speaks for itself) with such humor and vitality that you couldn't imagine why the male characters weren't falling all over her instead of the mushy little ingenue.
Uncle Peck is a monster who's sexually abused his niece for years. Yet in an understated performance, Paul Borrillo managed to make him ordinary and likable, even vulnerable. In one charming scene, Uncle Peck was teaching a small boy how to fish — "reel and jerk...reel and rest" — and Borrillo's portrayal was so strong that it took a few moments for the nauseating realization to dawn that this man was reeling in the boy along with the fish.
We recently heard a local tastemaker heap effusive praise on Michael Trundle: "He's the first one in this town who played Shitdisco." While that may not mean much to non-Shitdisco fans, Trundle and his longtime Denver 3 associate Tyler Jacobson have indeed been turning the masses on to the hottest music with their playlists and frequent listening parties at Lipgloss, the ridiculously successful, long-running weekly club night. The nationally renowned night isn't just a hit with club-goers; it's also become the destination of choice for such luminaries as Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke from the Smiths, as well as a number of touring acts who've been spotted stopping by La Rumba after their own Friday-night shows.
Abstract-expressionist giant Clyfford Still was an anti-social egomaniac. When he died, his estate retained more than 90 percent of his lifelong output. This created an opportunity for Denver to build a museum specifically to house it all. The Still Museum won't open until 2010, so its director, Dean Sobel, put together a stunning preview, Clyfford Still Unveiled, at the Denver Art Museum. A surprising aspect of this exhibit is the way the artist's early representational work indicates that the figure — not the landscape, as widely thought — is the basis for his later classic abstracts. The gorgeous show, which stays open through June, handily makes the case that Still was one of the best.
The play was an old chestnut, but thanks to impeccable casting and insightful direction, Paragon Theatre Company breathed new life into Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? You couldn't help admiring Martha Harmon Pardee's vitality and sheer, pull-out-the-stops courage as Martha; she came across as funny, smart, wrenchingly vulnerable and, in her own way, honest. Sam Gregory's George at first seemed the weaker of the two antagonists — but it didn't take long for the audience to figure out that George was a deadly opponent. These two had been fighting forever; it's what they did instead of sex. Add Ed Cord as Nick, blankly pleasant at first but slowly revealing his soulless ambition, and Barbra Andrews's secretly spiteful Honey, and you had a mind-bending combination of slow simmer and all-out combustion.

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