Back to: News
January 2, 2014
Follow News

Best of Weld County area theater in 2013

The end of the year is a time to look back and remember the best experiences over the past year.

As with many other areas of our lives, there were some truly outstanding performances by the folks who pour their hearts out on Weld area stages to entertain us night after night.

Here are my choices for the best of 2013:

Set Design

Peter Mueller’s set for the Stampede Troupe’s “Arsenic and Old Lace” and J. David Blatt’s design for the University of Northern Colorado’s “On Golden Pond” were both nicely decorated and realistic sets, while Blatt’s work for UNC’s “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” and Brian Hapcic’s “Medea” at UNC were highly stylized. All four represented excellent artistic work, and I can’t pick a favorite among the four.

Costume Design

UNC’s Anne Toewe has owned this category for the past five years. This year her designs for “Escanaba in da Moonlight” and “Private Lives,” along with Hapcic’s work on “Medea,” were among the best. The edge goes to Toewe for “Private Lives.”

Sound Design

Neal Johnson is a mainstay at the console of Candlelight Dinner Playhouse. His designs for “She Loves Me” and “Guys and Dolls” both contributed to high-quality productions, topped only by Hapcic’s design for “Medea,” featuring both high-quality reinforcement and eerie underscoring.

Lighting Design

I hate to sound like a stuck record, but Hapcic’s design for “Medea” was stunning. Katie Gruenhagen added two good designs to the mix, for both “Escanaba in da Moonlight” and “The Fantasticks” at UNC. My top choice is “The Fantasticks.”

Best Actor (Play)

There are three actors representing five roles I considered in this category. Noel Johnston for his roles in “Arsenic and Old Lace” and “Escanaba in da Moonlight”, along with Luke Corliss for “Arsenic” were all entertaining. David San Miguel probably displayed the widest range of abilities and styles with his many roles on the UNC stage this year, with his characters in “As You Like It” and “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” being the best. The nod here goes to San Miguel for “Picasso.”

Best Actress (Play)

I could find only three nominees here, with perennial favorite Shelly Gaza (“On Golden Pond”) being joined by her castmate Nancy Roy and Tetrianna Silas from “Medea.” My top choice is Silas, who didn’t quite carry the show on her own but took us on a wild emotional ride.

Best Actor (Musical)

While there were lots of good performances this year, there were three great ones: David Ambroson in Candlelight’s “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” Joshua Taliaferro in UNC’s “Oklahoma” and Scotty Shaffer in Candlelight’s “She Loves Me.”

My choice is Taliaferro because a good production of “Oklahoma” is not possible without an excellent Curly.

Best Actress (Musical)

There were six performances worthy of special mention, including four from Candlelight: Beth Beyer in “Guys and Dolls,” Alisha Winter in “The Sound of Music,” Mary McGroary in “Molly Brown” and Lindsey Coleman in “She Loves Me.” In addition, two UNC performances are included among the best, Anna Bucci in “Little Shop of Horrors” and Adriane Wilson in “Oklahoma.” My top pick is McGroary in a performance where the actress must do it all, and McGroary carried the whole show.

Best Choreographer

Michelle Sergeeff’s work on “Molly Brown” was fun and lively, as was John Leonard and Christy O’Connell Black’s for “Oklahoma.” But the best of the year was Joshua Buscher’s choreography for UNC’s “Legally Blonde.”

Best Director (Play)

This is always a tough category for me. Peter Mueller’s direction of Stampede Troupe’s “Arsenic and Old Lace” resulted in one of the troupe’s best efforts in years. At UNC, Shelly Gaza (“As You Like It”), Mary Schuttler (“Medea”), Tom McNally (“On Golden Pond”) and Ken Womble (“Picasso at the Lapin Agile”) all resulted in powerful, moving productions. But the most creative of all was Matthew Herrick for UNC’s “The Caucasian Chalk Circle.”

Best Director (Musical)

Brian Burron (“Molly Brown”), John Leonard (“Little Shop”), Matthew Herrick (“The Fantasticks”), and Brian Clay Luedloff (Stampede Troupe’s “South Pacific”) all gave us excellent productions of relatively safe shows, but first-time nominee Don Berlin of Candlelight’s “She Loves Me” rose a step above the rest. Berlin presented a previously unseen work that was both fun and charming.

Best Play

UNC’s “On Golden Pond” was an excellent production of a poignant story. UNC’s production of the Greek play “Medea” was also good, although certainly not theatre with mass appeal. However, my favorite play of the year was “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” a brilliant production with no weak parts.

Best Musical

The musical offerings this year were safe, standard fare, with lots of entertainment but nothing groundbreaking. Candlelight’s “The Sound of Music” was everything you hope for from this show, and “She loves Me” was a fun production of a somewhat weaker script. My top pick of the year is UNC’s “Little Shop of Horrors,” a lighthearted, fun and entertaining evening of theatre.

There were many outstanding productions in Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins that I did not include in these choices.

The schedule of upcoming shows by area theater troupes have many promising productions, and we are never short of outstanding talent in this area.

My hope for the coming year is that those promises are fulfilled, and that many packed houses help fill the coffers of the deserving performance groups in the area.

Bryan VanDriel lives in Greeley and has been active in the arts for over 35 years. He can be reached at bvandriel@aol.com.


Explore Related Articles

Trending in: News

My Windsor Now Updated Jan 1, 2014 08:37PM Published Feb 11, 2014 12:11PM Copyright 2014 My Windsor Now. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.