BWW Reviews: Ignite Theatre Raises their Bar in the Mesmerizing and Inspired Musical, 35MM - A True Work of Art!
Ignite Theatre presents the regional premiere of 35MM: A Musical Exhibition (by Ryan Scott Oliver, Inspired by photographs by Matthew Murphy) playing at the Aurora Fox Theatre now until May 4th. Representing a collision of artistic disciplines as disparate as musical theater, photography, and pop/rock music, 35MM pushes the limits of self-expression to create an art form utterly its own. A collection of "snapshot stories" are woven together as each of Oliver's original songs is performed-with gusto and musical virtuosity-while the audience is immersed in stunning projections of the photography that inspired it. 35MM brings the connection between pleasures visual and aural into razor-sharp focus, creating a singular, multi-sensory emotional journey.
While I anticipated an enjoyable evening of great voices with this talented cast, I was not ready for just how superb this show was going to be. "Everything Comes Into Focus" could not be more true with every aspect and action strategically thought-out making for one of the best shows that I have witnessed with the talents of Ignite Theatre. From the singing, to the staging, and the multimedia effects, every song was a performance work of art and captivated me from beginning to end! This show very much reminds me of one of my favorite musicals Songs for a New World and because of this superb show, I cannot wait to buy the CD to listen to over and over again! Highlight numbers include Crazytown, On Monday, Caralee, The Party Goes With You, Make Me Happy, The Seraph, Leave Luanne, Mama Let Me In, Twisted Teeth, Hemming & Hawing, Cut You a Piece, The Ballad of Sara Berry.
The talented cast includes Lindsey Falduto, Olivia James, Shahara Ray, Alejandro Roldan Evan Sauvage and Zach Stailey. I have to salute each of them for not just singing this collage of pretty musical numbers, but taking the time to understand each song and the photograph represented to make each note so memorable. Now let's break it down a little further -
I adored Lindsey's flirty and fun performance in On Monday and Make Me Happy with Alejandro. Olivia was haunting and soulful with The Party Goes with You and kinky in Twisted Teeth with Alejandro. Shahara brought the drama out in this production from the start in Stop Time, her intense non-verbal showing in Leave Luanne sung passionately by Evan, and showed a bit of insanity in Hemming & Hawing with Zach. Alejandro brought his dynamic style to Crazytown and so many other songs. Zach was simply delightful as the male nanny in Caralee and just lovely in The Seraph. Evan showed his talents with Luanne and brought a tear to everyones eye with Cut You a Piece. The entire ensemble came together to bring us the unforgettable, Mama Let Me In and playful and twisted, The Ballad of Sara Berry.
High praises go to the technical and multimedia crew that made this light and visual extravaganza possible. This diverse crew is comprised of music direction by Jason Tyler Vaughn with accompaniment by Heather Holt Hall; sound and media integration by Tom Quinn; multimedia conceptualized by Keith Rabin Jr; multimedia creation by Rob Rehburg; additional photography by Olga Lopez; lighting by Stevie Calderola; and set design and construction by Mike Uhlenkamp. I truly appreciated having the band onstage with the mosaic of video screens above them offering not just the photographs from Matthew Murphy, but also picture and videos inspired by the songs that further enhanced (and never distracted) each musical number.
I am proud to say that this is the finest direction that Keith Rabin Jr. has demonstrated in a show...to date. He carefully thought out the perfect blend of singers, every tactical staging and movement and ultimately the big illustrious picture of this show to give the audience an evening they will never forget. Job very well done!
This is one work of performance art that you have to experience! Ignite Theatre's sensational masterpiece, 35MM: A Musical Exhibition is captivating audiences now until May 4th at the Aurora Fox Arts Center. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. For tickets or more information, contact Ignite Theatre by calling 720-362-2697 or online at www.ignitetheatre.com. The Aurora Fox Arts Center is located at 9900 East Colfax Avenue.
Ryan Scott Oliver is a musical theatre composer and lyricist. He is a 2011 Lucille Lortel Award Nominee and the recipient of both the 2009 Jonathan Larson Grant and the 2008 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater.
Matthew Murphy (Photography) is a New York City-based photographer specializing in theater and dance. His work appears regularly in the Arts and Leisure section of The New York Times. Murphy is a published writer and former member of American Ballet Theatre.
The ensemble of 35MM
The ensemble of 35MM
From This Author Michael Mulhern