Christi Esterle is a Colorado native, geek, and a theater fan ever since she saw her older cousin performing in a high school production of "Oklahoma!" She lives with her husband, two sons, two cats, countless books and one temperamental iPod.
9 to 5: The Musical takes place in 1979-a fact the Fine Arts Center hammers home with an abundance of geometric, high-contrast design, bell-bottoms, and loud shirts-but the story it tells feels oddly contemporary: hostile work environments, wage inequality, sexual harassment. About the only thing different is that the regular eight-hour shift described by the title is a distant, wistful memory.BWW Review: GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST at Theatreworks May 2, 2016
I admit it, melodrama is something of a guilty pleasure of mine. I don't mean 'melodrama' in the way you're thinking, with audiences booing and hissing the mustache-twirling villain as he ties some dewy blonde to the railroad tracks. I mean stories where everything-the characters, the situations, the emotions-are larger than life. It's one of the reasons I enjoy musicals so much; after all, what could be more melodramatic than singing out your feelings at the top of your lungs?BWW Review: PETER AND THE STARCATCHER at FAC April 10, 2016
Is there any staple of children's literature more existentially tragic than Peter Pan? Beneath the tale of the eternal boy who flies with faeries and battles with pirates lies a story about the bittersweet inevitability of growing old, and of a child destined to be forever left behind by a world that moves on without him. This underlying sadness is a key part of the fascination J.M. Barrie's work holds over the generations, and one which holds true in Rick Elice's play Peter and the Starcatcher.BWW Review: John Douglas Thompson as SATCHMO AT THE WALDORF February 22, 2016
Bringing to life an iconic personality like Louis Armstrong is always something of a tightrope walk: the mannerisms must be there, yet the performance must not descend into caricature. It is a balancing act that John Douglas Thompson is remarkably adept at, and he is aided by Satchmo at the Waldorf's central conceit, which about the man behind Armstong's familiar public persona: a man who smoked weed, slept around, and got in deep with gangsters, a man who didn't talk much about the racial issues of his lifetime but who definitely had opinions about social injustice and the struggles of a black man trying to survive in a white man's world.BWW Review: DRIVING MISS DAISY'S Quiet Revolution at FAC February 7, 2016
Mary Poppins is a very technologically intensive show, and like a lot of such works, it's easy to forget that there is more to it than the theatrical bells and whistles. So it's nice to see a production like the one currently playing at the PACE Center which, if it's occasionally a letdown on the visual front (the facade of the Banks family house lacks some of the bourgeois charm of the film, and the projected backdrops are a mixed bag), fully delivers on the heart of the story.BWW Review: FAC's BUYER & CELLAR and the Allure of Celebrity January 17, 2016
The opening night performance of Fine Arts Center's Buyer & Cellar comes at the conclusion of a week that saw several public figures pass from this life, including iconic performers David Bowie and Alan Rickman. For the past several days, social media has been filled with people expressing sorrow and fond memories for people that, in the most part, they had never actually met. Such is the power of celebrity, to create the illusion of connection and intimacy with a remote star.BWW Review: FAC's Dream of a WHITE CHRISTMAS December 14, 2015
Christmas is tailor-made for nostalgia--all those ornaments passed down through the years, all those familiar songs and television specials--and it doesn't get more nostalgic than White Christmas, a show that calls up memories not only of the timeless Irving Berlin song and the 1954 film built around it but of old-fashioned musicals in general, down to the 'let's put on a show in the old barn' angle. The production now playing at the Fine Arts Center embraces that nostalgia from the first sing-along of the title standard, and the holiday crowd was quite content to be carried along with the sentiment.BWW Review: Theatreworks' BORN YESTERDAY December 7, 2015
Born Yesterday, first performed in 1946, is a story that focuses on political corruption, corporate interests twisting the democratic process for their own ends, agenda-driven journalists, and a call to shed one's apathy and take control of a government that, ideally, exists to serve us all. The more things change.BWW Review: Theatreworks' Haunting New Adaptation of GHOSTS October 26, 2015
Murray Ross' adaptation of Ghosts distills Henrik Ibsen's three-act play into a brisk, intermission-free 100 minutes. A concession to shorter attention spans? Perhaps, but Ross' primary focus here is maintaining an uninterrupted pace as the events of the play hurtle towards their inevitable tragedy, brought about by a past long-concealed but ultimately inescapable.BWW Review: Into the Twists and Turns of SET's LONESOME HOLLOW October 23, 2015
If you've ever walked a Chartres labyrinth, you know they can be deceptive. Your path skirts the center, but you've barely started; it looks like you're on the way out when you're really heading further in. Which makes a labyrinth a fitting metaphor for both the play Lonesome Hollow and its eponymous town: twisting, deceptive, and with monsters lurking around the corner.Bww Review: FAC's WAIT UNTIL DARK an Engrossing Thriller October 18, 2015
Vampires, slasher killers, and paranormal activity are all well and good, but for my money nothing beats the chills of a good suspense story. Uncertainty and the fear of the unknown are immensely engrossing narrative devices, compelling you to follow along even as you dread what might come next. So Wait Until Dark is, for me, the ideal Halloween experience: a tense, unsettling thriller rooted in relatable fears and all-too-human monsters.BWW Review: FAC's ELEPHANT AND PIGGIE Good, Silly Fun October 16, 2015
It is my not-very-humble opinion that Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie series ranks among the best early reader books available. The pachyderm-and-porcine duo gallivant through a series of adventures in the same spirit Dr. Seuss first embraced when he started writing about felines and their headgear: all readers, regardless of age or ability level, deserve to be entertained. Elephant and Piggie's 'We Are in a Play!', the Fine Arts Center's current second stage production, takes that commitment to entertainment and runs with it in sixty minutes of lighthearted silliness, parties, dancing, unexpected drama, and good times with best friends.BWW Review: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN with Inspire Creative September 28, 2015
It's hard not to smile at Singin' in the Rain; it's one of those shows where even the characters seem to be enjoying themselves. The joyous, energetic dance numbers, the witty one-liners, a delightfully nasty villainess, and the sparkling Hollywood glamour all make for a very good time.BWW Review: Brutal Sophistication with Theatreworks' PRIVATE LIVES September 13, 2015
Written just over forty years ago, Jane Chambers' A Late Snow shouldn't be controversial anymore. Yet here it is, 2015, and the church I drive past on the way to the store has a sign out front declaring, 'DON'T GIVE IN TO THE HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA,' so it's safe to say that SET's latest production will raise eyebrows in some circles of Colorado Springs.