Fest Fetes Sondheim

[The following article appears in Daily Variety and in Variety magazine the week of September 9th.]

Colorado Springs -- The fourth annual Colorado Festival of World Theatre (CFWT) returns to the Pike's Peak region, September 20-30th, with a full slate of performances and workshops, including a tribute to Stephen Sondheim and the American premiere of the groundbreaking South African production, Truth in Translation.

Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim
Photo: Courtesy of Stephen Sondheim
Sondheim will be at the Broadmoor on September 22 to receive this year's Donald Seawell Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre Award ("The Donny") followed by a production of the newly-minted Beautiful Girls - A Sondheim Tribute, drawing on the Oscar and Tony award-winning composer-lyricist's extraordinary songbook for women.

Headlining the cast is Chita Rivera, who, along with Marin Mazzie and Jen Colella, is directed by Broadway vet Lonny Price. Longtime Sondheim collaborator, Paul Gemignani conducts a full orchestra.

Narrated by four-time Tony Award-winning thesp Zoe Caldwell, the review journeys through the stages and emotional complexities of a woman's life, incorporating a selection of hits from Follies, Into the Woods, A Little Night Music, Company, Evening Primrose, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Anyone Can Whistle, Merrily We Roll Along, and Saturday Night.

Future plans for the review are under consideration.

Michael Lessac and Hugh Masekela's acclaimed Truth tells the story of the transition from apartheid to black rule in South Africa, capturing the tone set by Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu that helped avoid a bloodbath while focusing on a group of interpreters for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In arranging for the show, the festival became its primary American producer and tour catalyst.

New this year at the CFWT is the "Festival Institute"—master classes and seminars presented by: Caldwell; Royal Shakespeare Company and Academy Award-nominated actress Janet Suzman; Tony Award-winner Peter Shaffer (Amadeus and Equus); Tony Award-winning director Joseph Hardy (Child's Play, 1970); three-time Tony Award-nominated actor Brian Murray; and Obie Award-winning actor, singer, writer, and composer Daniel Beaty.

The US debut of the Hungarian musical group Etnorom, who perform European gypsy music and dance, merged with contemporary world music, swing and elements of jazz, plus Beaty's newest cabaret show, The Broadway Songs I Love, and physical comic Avner the Eccentric's Exceptions to Gravity are also featured, completing the multi-generational targeted festival lineup.

The Colorado Festival of World Theatre runs September 20-30th at various venues in Colorado Springs. 719-227-0086.

Bob Bows


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