April theatre openings: Don't pass on 'Passing Strange'

by John Moore | Apr 06, 2018
Stew, right, the subject and star of the 2008 Broadway musical 'Passing Strange.' Photo by David Lee.

Stew, right, was the subject and star of the 2008 Broadway musical 'Passing Strange.' Its first local production will open this month at the Aurora Fox. Photo by David Lee.


Ten intriguing titles for April offer groundbreaking musicals and a wealth of challenging contemporary works 

By John Moore
Senior Arts Journalist

Things will be busier than ever at the Denver Center this month, with a wide range of offerings from Disney's Aladdin to The Who's Tommy to Native Gardens to the final weeks of First Date, This is Modern Art and a sold-out Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill. Here we take our monthly look at everything else Colorado theatregoers will have available to them this month:  

NUMBER 1Trent Armand KendallPassing Strange. This groundbreaking musical went head-to-head with In The Heights for the 2008 Best Musical Tony Award. It opens as a concert with a rousing funk band led by a showman named Stew who takes us back to the tumultuous 1970s where we retrace young Stew’s epic journey from the suburban comforts of Los Angeles to Amsterdam and Berlin in search of “something more real than real." But this is no nostalgia trip. It’s a difficult and meaningful odyssey about cultural identity and family that culminates as young Stew comes face-to-face with present-day Stew — and to terms with the unalterable cost his youthful narcissism has exacted on those he left behind. This is catchy and cathartic performance art unlike anything Broadway has seen before. And the Aurora Fox is the first local theatre company to dare to let anyone in Colorado see it. Directed by Nick Sugar, starring Broadway's Trent Armand Kendall (Into the Woods) and featuring Sheryl McCallum (DCPA's The Wild Party). April 13-May 13 at 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org

NUMBER 2Sunday in the Park with George. The Arvada Center presents the regional premiere of Stephen Sondheim's Broadway revival inspired by the painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat. This gorgeous musical merges past and present into poignant truths about life, love and the creation of art. George is frustrated as he searches for his artistic path only to find the answer to his future is in the past. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and nominated for 10 Tony Awards. The cast is led by Cole Burden and Emily Van Fleet (as both Seurat’s mistress and model) along with an all-star ensemble that includes local favorites Billie McBride, Boni McIntyre, Jeffrey Roark, Heather Lacy, Robert Michael Sanders, Joe Callahan, Abby Apple Boes, Paul Dwyer, Piper Arpan, Jeremy Rill, Michael Bouchard, Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, Drew Horwitz, Shannan Steele and Susannah McLeod. April 17-May 6 at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

NUMBER 3Honorable DisorderHonorable Disorder. The new Emancipation Theater Company's inaugural production tells the story of DeShawn Foster, a native of Denver’s Five Points neighborhood and a veteran of  Operation Iraqi Freedom. Following the loss of his commanding officer and father figure, DeShawn struggles to hold on to  his “Soldier’s Creed.” Honorable Disorder addresses the issues of a typical American family in present-day Denver as seen through the eyes of a young black man and his perceived value by those who care most for him. Written and directed by iconic local performance artist Jeff Campbell and featuring Theo Wilson, Erica Brown, Chet Sis, Corey Rhoads and Devon James. Through April 29 at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, 119 Park Avenue West, EmancipationTheater.com

NUMBER 4The 2018 Local Lab. Local Theater Company will welcome three playwrights to Boulder for its seventh annual new-play festival: Clockwork by Emily Zemba, a comedy about a congresswoman up for re-election scrambling to fish her campaign out of the toilet; Ladybits by Rehana Lew Mirza, about an aspiring comedian who finds solace within a group of other female comedians feeling marginalized in an industry dominated by men; and Paper Cut by Andrew Rosendorf, a raw exploration of the physical and emotional toll of war on a soldier returning home as an amputee. "We are committed to bringing stories to the stage that challenge the world we live in today," said Artistic Director Pesha Rudnick. "I can’t think of a more exciting time to engage our community in some of our nation’s most pressing issues through the lens of art." April 20-22 at The Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or localtheatercompany.org

NUMBER 5 Fences. The Lone Tree Arts Center is calling its production of perhaps August Wilson's most popular play its greatest assemblage of talent to date, led by Esau Pritchett. The sixth play in Wilson's decade-by decade "Century Cycle" is the story of a family led by a garbage collector whose rise through the Negro baseball leagues hit a racial ceiling. But now, in 1957, his son sees the world through very different eyes. Fences won the Tony Award for Best Play and was recently made into an Oscar-winning film. Through April 21 at 10075 Commons St. in Lone Tree, 720-509-1000 or lonetreeartscenter.org

NUMBER 6Romeo and Juliet. Phamaly Theatre Company, which creates performance opportunities for actors with disabilities, brings to life Shakespeare's timeless love story that explores the passion, beauty, poetry, and tragedy of putting aside differences to pursue love above all else. This is a workshop production with minimal staging. Starring Jacob Elledge and Elizabeth Bernhardt, and directed by 2017 True West Awards Theatre Person of the Year Regan Linton. All performances will include open captioning. April 14-22 at the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-575-0005 or thedairy.org

NUMBER 7Dirt, A Terra Nova Expedition. This new play by Laura Pritchett opens with a young scientist in an underground bunker who has recently lost her love after he sacrificed himself to preserve remaining resources for the others. As she waits for the roots to regenerate, she keeps her sanity by daydreaming the science, culture, history and myth of soil. During her journey, she discovers that perhaps humanity has found its humility. April 7-May 6 at the Bas Bleu Theatre, 401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org

NUMBER 8Going to a Place Where You Already Are. Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's new play by Bekah Brunstetter, a staff writer for NBC’s This Is Us, centers around an elderly couple facing a sudden end-of-life crisis. In this nuanced comedy, two generations wrestle with love and a life well lived as they wonder what might come next. Brunstetter says she wrote the play "to really confront what I believe — or rather, what I can't seem to stop believing." Directed by Rebecca Remaly Weitz. April 12 through May 6 at Boulder's Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., 303-440-7826 or boulderensembletheatre.org

Baker: 'It’s hard to listen when the message is a brick'

NUMBER 9Glengarry Glen Ross. OK, so we've said this before, but this time we mean it: The Edge Theatre Company is going on hiatus after farewell stagings of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, followed next month by Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. Glengarry, which won Mamet a Pulitzer in 1984, shows parts of two days in the lives of four desperate and potty-mouthed Chicago real-estate agents who are prepared to engage in any number of unethical, illegal acts to sell undesirable real estate to unwitting buyers. The cast includes Josh Hartwell, Warren Sherrill, Bill Hahn, Kevin Holwerda Hommes, Jihad Milhem, Max Cabot and Tony Ryan. The director is Missy Moore. Fair warning: The Alec Baldwin character in the film does not exist in the play. To see him, you have to come to a special Denver Actors Fund screening of the film (with a live appearance from The Edge cast) on Monday, April 23 at Alamo Drafthouse. The play runs April 13-May 5 at 1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

NUMBER 10Bullets Over Broadway. John Ashton directs the regional premiere of this musical stage adaptation of Woody Allen's 1994 screenplay about a  straight-arrow 1920s playwright who finds a producer to mount his show on Broadway. Only ... he's a mobster. The cast includes Mary McGroary, Damon Guerrasio, TJ Hogle, Maggie Tisdale, Michael O’Shea, John Gleason, Colby Dunn, Adrianne Hampton and Bernie Cardell. April 13-May 27 at 1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

NOTE: At the start of each month, the DCPA NewsCenter offers an updated list of upcoming theatre openings, spotlighting work being presented on stages statewide. Companies are encouraged to submit listings and production photos at least two weeks in advance to the DCPA NewsCenter at jmoore@dcpa.org.


Aladdin Photo by Deen van Meer
Disney's 'Aladdin' flies into Denver on April 7. Photo by Deen van Meer.


THIS MONTH'S THEATRE OPENINGS IN COLORADO:

April 5-21: Lone Tree Arts Center's August Wilson's Fences
10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000 or lonetreeartscenter.org

A Picasso. Logan Ernstthal and Susie RoelofszApril 5-29: Cherry Creek Theatre Company's A Picasso
At the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., Denver, 303-800-6578 or cherrycreektheatre.org
(Pictured at right: Logan Ernstthal and Susie Roelofsz)

April 5-15: Theatrix USA's Stand Still & Look Stupid
At the Beacons/Parkside Mansion, 1859 York St., theatrixusa.org

April 6-29: Emancipation Theatre's Honorable Disorder
At Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, 119 Park Avenue West, EmancipationTheater.com

April 6-May 6: Town Hall Arts Center's Sisters of Swing
2450 W. Main St., Littleton, 303-794-2787 or town hall’s home page

April 6-28: Equinox Theatre Company’s Reefer Madness: The Musical
At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinox’s home page

April 6-21: StageDoor Theatre's Fame
27357 Conifer Road, Conifer, 303-886-2819, 800-838-3006 or stagedoortheatre.org
(No performances April 13-15)

April 7-28: National touring production of Disney’s Aladdin, Buell Theatre
Stage Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

April 7-May 6: Bas Bleu's Dirt! A Terra Nova Expedition
401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org

April 12-May 6: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company's Going to a Place Where You Already Are
Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7826 or boulderensembletheatre.org

April 12-21: 5th Wall Productions' Venus in Fur
The Bakery 2132 Market St.,720-771-8826 or ticketleap.com
No performances April 13-14

April 13-May 6: DCPA Theatre Company's Native Gardens
Space Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

April 13-May 5: The Edge Theatre Company’s Glengarry Glen Ross
1560 Teller St., Lakewood, 303-232-0363 or theedgetheater.com

April 13-May 13: Aurora Fox's Passing Strange
9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 303-739-1970 or aurorafox.org

April 13-22: Germinal Stage Denver's The Creditors
At the John Hand Theater Ballroom on the Colorado Free University Campus at Lowry, 7653 E. 1st Place, 303-455-7108 or germinalstage.com

April 13-July 8: Jester’s Dinner Theatre’s Annie
224 Main St., Longmont, 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

April 13-May 27: Vintage Theatre's Bullets Over Broadway
1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

April 14-22: Phamaly Theatre Company’s Romeo and Juliet
At the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-575-0005 or thedairy.org

April 17-May 6: Arvada Center's Sunday in the Park with George
6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

LaManchaPromoApril 19-May 5: And Toto too Theatre Company’s The Way Station and The South Star
At The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa St., 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org

April 26-May 13, 2018: TheatreWorks' Amadeus
At the Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., Colorado Springs, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

April 26-June 17: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's Man of La Mancha (pictured right)
4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

April 27-May 27: DCPA Theatre Company's The Who's Tommy
Stage Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

April 27-May 20: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College’s Fully Committed
30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

 

More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

CONTINUING CURRENT PRODUCTIONS:


Lawrence Hecht Michael EnsmingerThrough April 14: Curious Theatre's The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism & Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures
1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org READ MORE

Through April 15: Off-Center's This Is Modern Art
Jones Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

Through April 15: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's Kiss Me Kate
4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747 or coloradocandlelight.com

Through April 22: DCPA Cabaret’s First Date
Garner Galleria Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

Through April 22: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College’s Fun Home
30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org READ MORE

Through April 23: DCPA Cabaret's Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Garner Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org READ MORE

Lili Shuger as AnneFrankThrough April 28: Lowry's Spotlight Theatre's The Diary of Anne Frank
John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com
(Photo at right of Lili Shuger by Meghan Ralph)

Through April 28: OpenStage's And Then There Were None
Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, 970-484-5237 or openstagetheatre.org

Through April 28: Miners Alley Children's Theatre’s Little Red Riding Hood
1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 Or minersalley.com

Through April 29: Miners Alley Playhouse's The 39 Steps
1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com

Through May 3: Arvada Center's All My Sons
Studio Theatre, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

Through May 4: Arvada Center's The Electric Baby
6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

Through May 4: Denver Children's Theatre's Sleeping Beauty
Public performances 1 p.m. Sundays
Elaine Wolf Theatre at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., 303-316-6360 www.maccjcc.org

Through May 6: Arvada Center's Sense and Sensibility
Studio Theatre, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

Through May 13: Vintage Theatre's The Audience
1468 Dayton St., Aurora, 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

Through May 20: BDT Stage's Always … Patsy Cline
5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

Through May 25: Arvada Center Children's Theatre's Seussical
6901 Wadsworth Blvd., 720-898-7200 or arvadacenter.org

Through May 26: Midtown Arts Center's Ragtime
3750 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, (970) 225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com

Through Aug. 11: Iron Springs Chateau’s A Precious Bit of the West, or: She Was Simply a Delight!
444 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs, 719-685-5104 or ironspringschateau.com

ONGOING, MONTHLY or ONE-TIME PROGRAMMING:

ADAMS MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE
  • Ongoing productions

  • AVENUE THEATER


  • Weekends: Comedy Sportz

  • BAS BLEU THEATRE
    • Sunday, April 15: The Homeless Choir Speaks, a film by Susan Polis Schutz
    At 401 Pine St., Fort Collins, 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org


    BUG THEATRE
    • Thursday, March 19: The Emerging Filmmakers Project, showcasing Denver's indie film scene on the third Thursday of every month.
    • Monday, April 30: Freak Train: Open-mic variety show hosted by GerRee Hinshaw on the final Monday of every month

    3654 Navajo St., 303-477-9984 or bugtheatre.info


    BOULDER PHILHARMONIC

    • Monday, April 23: Bernstein at 100: Leonard Bernstein Tribute Concert 

    The Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra presents Leonard Bernstein's iconic West Side Story, in collaboration with Central City Opera and choirs.
    At Levin Hall at the Boulder JCC, 6007 Oreg Ave., Boulder TICKETS

    • Sunday, April 29: Bernstein at 100: West Side Story in Concert

    The Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra presents Leonard Bernstein's iconic West Side Story, in collaboration with Central City Opera and choirs.
    At the Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons St., just west of Interstate 25 and Lincoln Avenue, 720-509-1000 or lonetreeartscenter.org


    BUNTPORT THEATER

    717 Lipan St., 720-946-1388 or buntport.com


    Glengarry 2DENVER ACTORS FUND

    • Monday, April 23: Screening of the film Glengarry Glen Ross with live entertainment from The Edge Theatre's upcoming production of the profane David Mamet classic about the cutthroat world of real estate. Entertainment 6:30 p.m.; film at 7. Choose your preferred seating

    At Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake, 4255 W. Colfax Ave., drafthouse.com


    EVERGREEN CHORALE

    • Friday, April 20: Swing Into Spring: Big band sound of William and the Romantics
    At the Evergreen Lake House, 303-674-4002 or evergreenchorale.org


    LOCAL THEATER COMPANY

  • April 20-22: Local Theater Company's Local Lab new-play festival.

    At the Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-379-4470 or tickets.thedairy.org


  • MILLIBO ART THEATRE
    • April 12-19: Women’s Theatre Festival
    1626 S. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, 719-465-6321 or themat.org


    PARKER ARTS
    • April 6-7, 2018: Parker Arts’ Wiley and the Hairy Man
    • April 13, 2018: Parker Arts’ Henry and Mudge
    At the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker, 303.805.6800 or www.ParkerArts.org


    PLATTE VALLEY PLAYERS AND BRIGHTON MUSIC ORCHESTRA
    • Saturday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m.: Guys and Dolls in Concert
    At The Armory Performing Arts Center, 300 Strong St., Brighton, 303-227-3053 or plattevalleyplayers.org
    • Sunday, April 22 at 4 p.m.: Guys and Dolls in Concert
    At First Presbyterian Church of Brighton, 510 S. 27th Ave., Brighton, 303-227-3053 or plattevalleyplayers.org

     


    THE SOURCE THEATRE COMPANY
    • Every third Monday: Monday! Monday! Monday! Cabaret
    • April 17-28: 4th EVER WordFest
    At Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 720-238-1323 or thesourcedenver.org


    STORIES ON STAGE

    • Saturday, April 14: Course Correction. Stories on Stage has renowned actors bring stories to life by combining literature with theater. This month: Cajardo Lindsey,  Emma Messenger and Sam Gregory perform stories about self-help.
    1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive,  303-494-0523 or storiesonstage.org

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    ABOUT THE EDITOR
    John Moore
    John Moore
    Award-winning arts journalist John Moore has recently taken a groundbreaking new position as the DCPA’s Senior Arts Journalist. With The Denver Post, he was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the US by American Theatre Magazine. He is the founder of the Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that raises money for local artists in medical need. John is a native of Arvada and attended Regis Jesuit High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow him on Twitter @moorejohn.

    DCPA is the nation’s largest not-for-profit theatre organization dedicated to creating unforgettable shared experiences through beloved Broadway musicals, world-class plays, educational programs and inspired events. We think of theatre as a spark of life — a special occasion that’s exciting, powerful and fun. Join us today and we promise an experience you won't soon forget.