Lowry’s Spotlight Theater, closing after 20 years, goes out with a laugh

Why don’t laugh as we lament the demise of a longtime theater company?

Lowry’s Spotlight Theater will close this season after 75 shows 20 decades, and more than 750 performances for a few 45,000 theater-goers. It really goes out on a high note with a enjoyable creation of this classic screwball humor “You Can’t Take It With You,&rdquo directed by Bernie Cardell.

The final show is the Spotlight offering: “feel-good&rdquo t even tax the nerves. Running through Sept. 29 at the John Hand Theater, the play creates a case for optimizing fun as you can.

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The George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart production won the Pulitzer Prize in 1936 and has dated as well as any goofy romp of the American theatre. The New York City-based impending merger of 2 households — the exceptionally eccentric Vanderhof-Sycamore-Carmichael crew as well as also the Kirby clan —  never gets older. Well, it gets dated (with talk about former Russian royalty now waitressing at Childs, for example ) but it gets outdated.

Alice Sycamore (Carolyn Lohr) is going to introduce her household of artistic free-thinkers into the repressed and very wealthy household of her fiancé Tony Kirby (Brandon Paliver). Distinguishing themselves amid the chaos are Dan Connell as sage grandpa Martin Vanderhof; Katie Mangett as Martin’s kid, Penny Sycamore, a dedicated but dreadful painter and playwright; Charlie Wingerter as Penny’s husband, Paul, that tinkers with fireworks at the cellar; Gracen Porreca, sifting via bodily shtick as household helper Donald; Luke Rahmsdorff-Terry as Ed Carmichael, the chime-playing son-in-law; Kelly Alayne Dwyer as granddaughter Essie, the horrible warrior who dreams of being a ballerina; Eddie Schumacher as fireworks aficionado Mr. DePinna; Mari Geasair as Russian ballet teacher Kolenkhov, and Kerry Beebe as drunken, singing actress Gay Wellington. And much more.

The zany antics live on while Spotlight calls it quits. Cardell, Spotlight’s artistic director, plans to concentrate on his after-hours energies on Vintage Theatre, where he retains the same title.  At exactly the exact same time the Spotlight board went through changes which made this feel like the time to discontinue.

“Interestingly , no component of this decision was financial,” Cardell stated through email.  ”Helen Hand (manager of Colorado Free University, which houses the John Hand Theatre) has worked very hard to maintain our rents reduced, and our audiences have increased by 40% over the previous four decades. ”

This ’s.

Cardell gets the final sentence: “I understand a whole great deal of people are unhappy that we are closing, and we are too, of course, but I understand that live theater in Lowry will still be going strong with other companies coming into the John Hand Theatre,” like Germinal, which will begin presenting there in January.

RIP Spotlight — and lengthy live theater that is regional.


*** (three stars)

From George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. Directed by Bernie Cardell. With Katie Mangett, Kelly Alayne Dwyer, Meghan Ralph, Charlie Wingerter, Eddie Schumacher, Luke Rahmsdorff-Terry, Gracen Porreca, Dan Connell, Carolyn Lohr, Brandon Palmer, Mari Geasair, John W.B. Greene, Molly Turner, Jan Cleveland. During Sept. 29 at the John Hand Theater, 7653 E. 1st Place, Denver. Tickets at 720-530-4596.