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The Sisters Rosensweig

The Mizel Center for Arts and Culture inaugurates the rebirth of an adult theatre company at the Shwayder Theatre with Wendy Wasserstein's The Sisters Rosensweig, an endearing and comedic look at three middle aged Jewish sisters in various stages of assimilation. Wasserstein, who won the Pulitzer, Tony, New York Drama Critics Circle and Drama Desk awards in 1989 for her earlier play, The Heidi Chronicles, once again sets her complex characterizations and witty dialogue against a detailed historical backdrop.

Photo of the actresses
Erica Sarzin-Borrillo, Deborah Persoff
and Lori Hansen
The occasion for the gathering of the sisters is the birthday of the eldest, Sara, a bank director living in London. Deborah Persoff holds center stage as the witty, urbane and jaded first born—keeping everyone in her life, including her sisters, daughter and gentlemen callers at arms length. Lori Hansen as Pfeni, the youngest sister, dances through her own estrangement by wandering the globe as a travel writer. Then there is Erica Sarzin-Borrillo's outspoken Gorgeous, who sweeps her insecurities and disappointments under the cover of her seemingly traditional marriage and newfound radio talk show persona. Finally, topping off this bevy of talent, is C. Kelly Leo as Tess, Sara's petulant and willful progeny—a charming and precocious work-in-progress and mirror for each of the three sisters.

As with Chekhov's Three Sisters, the Rosensweig's travails achieve epic proportions from the sheer depth of their existential stakes, which are particularly highlighted by the men in their lives. C.J. Hosier's Geoffrey Duncan is sublime and delightful as Pfeni's on-again off-again bisexual lover and theatre impresario. He tells Sara, "Love is love…gender is just spare parts." Robert Reid's Mervyn Kant, a former "show biz furrier" and now the "world leader in synthetic animal covering" is winsome and steady in wooing the skittish Sara. Step Pearce is a wild card as Tess' Lithuanian boyfriend. And Joey Wishnia is suave and tart as Sara's old world suitor.

Director Steve Wilson gets the most out of this stellar cast, six of whom have won Denver Drama Critics Circle awards. The Mizel Center Theatre Company's production of The Sisters Rosensweig runs through November 4th. 303-316-6360.

 

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