City amphitheater hosts play

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Performers donned brightly colored costumes, and music filled the air as about 800 adults and children watched members of Ballet Arts Theater perform the musical play “Peter and the Wolf.”

The free event was performed Sept. 20 at the CityCenter Englewood Amphitheater, with classes from Englewood public and parochial schools in attendance.

Joey Wishnia was the director and narrator, and played the role of the grandfather in the performance.

“We have done the play before but this is the first time we have done it outside,” Wishnia said before the performance began. “We have great weather for the play today. Also, it is great to see all the schoolchildren here. I think it is good we are outside because I think the students are more relaxed when they are outside like this.”

Children were gathering early and, to help keep them entertained, choreographer Paul Fiorino selected a half-dozen students from the audience to do an impromptu performance before the play began.

There were seven members of the cast, representing the bird, duck, wolf, hunters, Peter and grandfather. Each performer wore a costume depicting his or her specific role. Also as part of the play, each character is represented musically by one instrument. When each character was introduced at the Englewood performance, each performer carried his or her instrument along and did a short dance around the stage.

During the performance, the characters danced to the music as Wishnia narrated the story of how the wolf goes after the bird, catches the duck and then Peter caught the wolf, recovered the duck and everyone went away happy.

This is the second year the Theater in the Park performance has come to Englewood’s amphitheater. The event was sponsored in part by Betty’s Toys. Betty’s Toys sponsored the event for years in Denver but, while the store is no longer open, the owners — Sam and Betty Emmanuel — continue to be sponsors for the event that now is being performed in Englewood.

The grassy area in the center of the amphitheater was occupied by students. Parents like Marissa Callahan either sat on the steps circling the amphitheater.

Callahan home-schools her daughters, Dawn, 8, and Brittany, 6, and brought them to the performance.

“A friend told me about today’s event so I brought the girls to see it because I felt it would be a good experience for them,” the Englewood resident said. “You can see by the smiles on their faces how much they are enjoying the play. But I want this to be educational, so we’ll pick up some lunch and talk about the play when we get home.”