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Local theater group brings show on the road

11 Minutes will perform rendition of “Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris”


When Janine Kehlenbach started her theater company, 11 Minutes, six years ago the goal was to connect people.

“The reason I always wanted to do theater was because I think we live in a time where we need connection,” Kehlenbach said. “And there’s nothing like bringing people together. You can watch a movie but it’s pretty passive. With theater, it’s more interactive.”

Her small theater company, which is based in Arvada, only does one show every one to two years due mainly to the cost of putting on a production. That, and Kehlenbach teaches Spanish full time at Standley Lake High School.

This year, Kehlenbach and her team of actors are taking on the musical revue of the songs of Jacques Brel’s songs, “Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.”

“Sometimes I think it was the craziest decision,” Kehlenbach said. “I don’t do musical theater. But, there is such a theatrical sense of play to this.”

In the show, Brel sings about the middle class: the nasty and the fun.

Sara Michael, music director of the show, said the music is hard to describe.

“Each song is its own story, each has its own life,” she said. “Its more than just a song.”

Michael said for her, there is a parallel with Jacques Brel being the Lenard Cohen of his time.

“It’s timeless and it’s relatable to everyone,” Michael said. “Each song has something that everyone can relate to if you pay attention close enough.”

But Kehlenbach, took the show a step further by creating a storyline that threads the songs together.

“I thought there’s more to this and more to Jacques Brel,” Kehlenbach said. “We created a troop of travelers and did character work on those people. I took out some songs and created a thread which allowed us to create a story line.”

The set for the traveling show is minimal and will feature live musicians.

Actor Patrick Brownson described the show as “a fun, lively, celebration of life and art and the joy in music.”

The show will open at the Louisville Center for the Arts Fridays and Saturdays in January starting on the 12th and the move to the Arvada Methodist Church for two Friday night shows in February. “Jaques Brel” will also be performed twice in Denver at the Syntax Physic Opera in February.


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