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The Soul of Wit Seeks to Break Down the Walls Between Denver's Arts Scenes

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Fifth Wall Productions is having its second run of The Soul of Wit 3: Sex, Religion and Politics this Saturday, March 5, at 7 p.m. at the Crossroads Theater in Five Points. The variety show, produced and helmed by Thomas Gerlick, aims to bring together the worlds of theater, music and comedy. The production company began in 2015 with its first event in April 2015. Each event includes a few short plays, music and some sort of spoken-word performance, which could include comedy. At that first event, for example, Denver-based rapper Extra Kool performed a powerful, stripped-down show without the beats that usually accompany him.

For The Soul of Wit 3, which debuted on February 27, Gerlick wanted to bring on board a live, full band. The event has a theme that informs Gerlick's other productions throughout the year; for 2016, that theme is sex, religion and politics, which influenced his choosing punk for the genre of entertainment at the show. Knowing little about Denver's punk scene, Gerlick did some research and found references in a Westword article to the Nervous, the band selected to play the show. The event also included four short plays, a piano set from Melanie Monroe and a performance from Gerlick singing alongside guitarist Jaryd Smart. While very different from the usual theater or musical show, it reflects a shift in the Denver arts world that Gerlick, who admits he did not know much about the music scene before, would like to see happen.

“There's a theater community, a music community, a burlesque community and a comedy community,” says Gerlick. “There is some overlap, but generally those groups don't know what's going on in the other communities. I'm only just now looking into local music, but I've been involved in theater for twenty years. One of the ideas with this is to break down those barriers.”

Following The Soul of Wit, Gerlick will be involved in a production of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure in May, and he is in the beginning stages of planning a burlesque show with a live metal band, rather than pre-recorded music, as accompaniment. Roughly every month on First Friday, Gerlick hosts Art for Art at Spark Gallery, which includes an art show, an open mike and a spotlight on a single artist's work. In November, Gerlick will do a run of the musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and is looking to work with a band for that production as well.

But for now you can catch the the short plays Face, by Joshua Robinson, Mating Rituals, by Roberto Martinez, Baby Food, by David Lindsay-Abaire, and Sand Castles, by John Green, alongside the aforementioned musical acts this Saturday.

Any bands or other artists interested in being involved in the 2017 edition of The Soul of Wit, or any of Gerlick's productions, are invited to contact Gerlick at 720-771-8826 or via e-mail at 5thwallproduction@gmail.com.

The Soul of Wit, 7 p.m. Saturday, March 5, Crossroads Theater, 5th-wall-productions.ticketleap.com

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