Summer mountain theatre preview: Head for the hills!

by John Moore | Jun 02, 2018

Xanadu Ryahn Evers and Deylan Dean in Little Theatre of the Rockies' 'Xanadu,' opening June 7 in Greeley. Photo courtesy of Marco Robinson.

In summertime, Colorado theatregoers heed the call to 'climb every mountain' in search of wide variety of stage offerings

By John Moore
Senior Arts Journalist

Coloradans love to climb their 14ers in the summer. And local theatregoers love to climb every mountain in search of a wide expanse of theatrical possibilities.

Summer is when many of Colorado's famed seasonal repertory companies open from Grand Lake to Dillon to Creede and beyond. Combined they will present a dizzying array of offerings throughout the state ranging from the Colorado homegrown premiere of the madcap Broadway musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder in Grand Lake to Lake Dillon Theatre Company's The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, the searing story of a brash New Jersey detective determined to solve the disappearance of a 14-year-old gay teen. That will star frequent DCPA Theatre Company actor Jeffrey Roark.

For those preferring to stay closer to home, scroll down for our complete list of summer theatregoing options covering every company in the state. (To add or correct, email jmoore@dcpa.org.)

Summer Mountain or Repertory Theatre in Colorado:

BRECKENRIDGE BACKSTAGE THEATRE

  • Scott-McLeanFeatured play: Monty Python's Spamalot
  • What’s it all about? Spamalot is coming to taunt Breckenridge. The Tony Award-winning best musical of 2005 was lovingly "ripped off" from the beloved source film, with its full allotment of dancing divas and knights, flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and one legless knight intact. Ish.
  • Directed by: Robert Michael Sanders
  • Keep an eye on: Scott McLean as Arthur. He’s been one of the area’s most reliable song-and-dance men for 20 years, most actively at the Town Hall Arts Center, where he recently appeared in Sisters of Swing and Peter and the Starcatcher. He’s got dramatic chops, too, as he displayed in the Edge Theatre’s Casa Valentina. Spamalot offers McLean the chance to show off his deadpan comic skills as the self-anointed knight who is never, ever in on the joke.  
June 8-July 21: Our Teacher's A Troll (for children)
June 15-July 21: Monty Python's Spamalot
July 26-Aug. 12: Lend Me A Tenor
Aug. 24-Sept. 2: Annie
At 121 S. Ridge St.,  970-453-0199 or backstagetheatre.org

COLORADO SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL

  • rodney_lizcanoFeatured play: Richard III
  • What’s it all about? The Bard’s most murderous, malicious and mesmerizing king is being presented indoors for the first time by the nation’s second-oldest Shakespeare festival. Richard, Edward IV’s deformed and embittered younger brother, will do anything to take the crown for himself — but once he has the throne, everything falls apart. Four centuries later, the masterful conclusion of Shakespeare’s Henriad history cycle still speaks volumes about lies, honor and the dark side of ambition. READ MORE
  • Directed by: Wendy Franz
  • Keep an eye on: Rodney Lizcano in the title role. He’s a graduate of the Denver Center’s National Theatre Conservatory and just appeared in the DCPA Theatre Company’s world premiere of American Mariachi. He’s best-known in Boulder for his broad comedic Shakespeare roles but now he's getting his first chance to slink into a major, villainous lead.

June 8-Aug. 12: Love's Labour's Lost (outdoors)
June 22-Aug. 11: Richard III (Indoor stage)
July 6-Aug. 11: Cyrano de Bergerac (outdoors)
July 20-Aug. 12: You Can't Take It With You (indoors)
Aug. 5: Edward III (indoors)
At the Mary Rippon Amphitheatre and University Mainstage, CU-Boulder campus, 303-492-0554 or coloradoshakes.org

CREEDE REPERTORY THEATRE

  • Emily_van_FleetFeatured play: 9 to 5
  • What’s it all about? This enduring fan favorite is a musical stage adaptation of the hit comedy film about workplace revenge back in the Rolodex era. When three unlikely women conspire to take control of their company, they learn there's nothing they can't do — even in a man's world.
  • Directed by: Amanda Berg Wilson
  • Keep an eye on: Emily Van Fleet as Doralee — Dolly Parton’s film part. Van Fleet is a 2017 True West Award winner who has been on the roll (of roles) of a lifetime following the DCPA’s The Wild Party at the Stanley Marketplace and most recently in the two (!) female leading roles in the Arvada Center’s Sunday in the Park with George. Long before she stormed Denver, she was a favorite in Creede, located 250 miles south of Denver in the San Juan Mountains.

Through Aug. 9: Barefoot in the Park
June 8-Aug. 26: The Wizard of Oz
June 23-Sept. 8: Boomtown (improv comedy)
June 29-Aug. 25: 9 to 5
July 12-14: The KID Show (for children)
July 27-Sept. 15: Miss Holmes
Aug. 17-Sept. 14: Guadalupe in the Guest Room
At 124 Main St., Creede, 81130, 719-658-2540 or creederep.org

LITTLE THEATRE OF THE ROCKIES, GREELEY

  • Xanadu Ryahn Evers Featured play: Xanadu
  • What’s it all about? Based on the 1980 film starring Olivia Newton-John, this frothy 2007 Broadway adaptation about an artist and his encounter with muses is not your mamma's Xanadu. It pays homage to the original story and music, but with welcome reworking of the source film's evident problems. We're talking roller skates, short shorts and mythological mayhem. It's kind of like The Wedding Singer on roller skates.
  • Directed by: Shelly Gaza
  • Keep an eye on: Ryahn Evers as Kira. She’s a student of musical theatre at the University of Northern Colorado, also home of Colorado’s oldest theatre company. If she looks to you like she could be a princess, you are not alone. She's even paid to be one — as an actor for Wands and Wishes Occasions, a highly sucessful company that provides quality fairy-tale characters for children’s parties. “She is really dynamite,” says her director.

June 7-July 20: Xanadu
June 14-21: Lobby Hero
June 21-July 19: Angel Street
June 28-July 1: I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti
On the University of Northern Colorado campus, 970-351-4849 or littletheatrerockies.com

LAKE DILLON THEATRE COMPANY

  • Jefrey RoarkFeatured play: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey
  • What’s it all about? Flamboyant, optimistic 14-year-old Leonard Pelkey goes missing in a small Jersey town. As detective Chuck DeSantis investigates the clues left behind, James Lecesne’s one-actor play asks us how to live, who to love, and what gets left behind when one person is lost. The affecting and entertaining play is a testament to the beauty of a world where difference is celebrated rather than denigrated. Recommended for adults and students 14 and older.
  • Directed by: Christy Montour-Larson
  • Keep an eye on: Jeffrey Roark. He’s a graduate of the Denver Center’s National Theatre Conservatory who most recently appeared in the DCPA Theatre’s A Christmas Carol as Jacob Marley. Other credits have included Sweeney Todd, All the Way and To Kill a Mockingbird

June 18-June 24: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey
June 15-July 15: Rock of Age
July 13-29: Topdog/Underdog
Aug. 3-Sept 2: The Underpants
Aug. 17-Sept. 2: Mr. Joy
At the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, 460 Blue River Pkwy, Silverthorne, 970-513-9386 or lakedillontheatre.org

ROCKY MOUNTAIN REPERTORY THEATRE, GRAND LAKE

  • Russell Mernaugh 200Featured play: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
  • What’s it all about? This was the most-nominated musical of the 2014 Broadway season, and Rocky Mountain rep is the first Colorado company to stage its own version of it. When the low-born Monty Navarro finds out he’s eighth in line for an earldom in the lofty D’Ysquith family, he sets down a ghoulish path to speed up the process. Can he knock off his unsuspecting relatives without being caught and become the second Earl of Highhurst? And what's love got to do with it?
  • Directed by: Michael Querio
  • Keep an eye on: Russell Mernagh made a name for himself in several Denver-area musicals, including Damn Yankees at the Town Hall Arts Center, before heading to Chicago (Goodman and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre) and then New York. But he’s continued to be a regular member of Grand Lake’s popular summer rep company, having played Chad in All Shook Up and Enjolras in Les Miserables, among others.  Now he's playing Monty Navarro, a man who is writing his memoirs on the eve of his possible (madcap) execution. Special shout-out, too, to Josh Kellman, who is playing all nine members of the D’Ysquith family in what Querio promises "will be a tour-de-force comedic performance." This is Kellman's seventh season with Rocky Mountain Rep. (Here's our expanded story from last year's 50th anniversary season.)

June 8-Aug. 24: Annie
June 15-Aug. 23: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
June 29-Aug. 25: The Full Monty
Aug. 31-Sept. 29: Pump Boys and Dinettes
At 800 Grand Ave, Grand Lake, 970-627-3421 or rockymountainrep.com

SOUTHERN COLORADO REPERTORY THEATRE

  • Jacquie Jo Billings EvitaFeatured play: Evita
  • What’s it all about? This Evita will take a new approach to the story of Argentina's rags-to-riches first lady, setting Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s beloved musical inside a tango bar in the heart of Buenos Aires on the night of Eva Peron’s death. Driven by ambition and blessed with charisma, Eva was destined to leave a lasting and unique 20th century political legacy. This season marks the debut of young Eli Carpenter (who assisted with the directing of many DCPA Theatre Company shows) as Artistic Director.
  • Directed by: Jimmy Bruenger
  • Keep an eye on: Jacquie Jo Billings as Evita. The 2014 True West Award winner for The Fantasticks at Miners Alley Playhouse is joining her sister, Jamie Billings (director of God of Garnage), at Trinidad’s venerable summer theatre. Jacquie Jo was nominated for a Henry Award for playing Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors at Miners Alley, and later played the troubled daughter in Town Hall’s Next to Normal. The Billings sisters will perform together in Fly By Night. (Photos by Cody Schuyler.)

June 15-Aug. 19: Fly by Night
July 8-Aug. 17: Evita
July 20-Aug. 18: God of Carnage
At the Famous Performing Arts Center, 131 W Main St., Trinidad, 719-846-4765 or scrtheatre.com

THEATRE ASPEN

  • Kimberly Doreen Burns Featured play: Ragtime
  • What’s it all about? One of the greatest American musicals of all time follows a Harlem musician, a WASP matriarch and a Jewish immigrant father in 1904 New York, while weaving in historic figures such as Harry Houdini, Booker T. Washington and Henry Ford. Based on E.L. Doctorow's novel, Ragtime is a sweeping and volatile tale of love in an intolerant time. It reminds us that everyone’s voice is vital in defining our American experience. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
  • Directed by: Mark Martino
  • Keep an eye on: Kimberly Doreen Burns, who will play Mother. Theatre Aspen always brings a stunning roster of New York-trained actors for the summer, and this year is no exception. Burns has taken on everything from Dot/Marie (Sunday in the Park with George) to Guenevere (Camelot) to Sarah Brown (Guys and Dolls) to Eliza Doolittle (My Fair Lady) to Nellie Forbush (South Pacific).  In Aspen, She also will play Mrs. Gibbs in Our Town under the direction of Hunter Foster, star of Broadway's Urinetown.

June 27-July 3: Ragtime
July 14-Aug. 8: Godspell
July 20-28: Our Town
At The Hurst Theatre, 470 Rio Grande Place, 844-706-7387 or theatreaspen.org

THINGAMAJIG THEATRE COMPANY, PAGOSA SPRINGS

  • Hannah Zilber Little ShopFeatured play: Little Shop of Horrors
  • What’s it all about? Classic, campy rock musical about a down-and-out skid-row floral assistant named Seymour who becomes an overnight sensation after he discovers an exotic plant with a mysterious craving for fresh human blood. Soon "Audrey II" grows into an ill-tempered, foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivore who offers Seymour fame and fortune in exchange for feeding its growing appetite. Thingamajig has rented its puppets for this show from Denver puppet master Cory Gilstrap, “and they are magnificent,” Artistic Director Tim Moore says. “The licensor strongly encourages you to rent theirs, but we really wanted to support local artists — and Cory’s stuff is awesome.”
  • Directed by: Ali Whitman
  • Keep an eye on: Hannah Zilber as Audrey. The Chesapeake (Va.) native is, in Moore’s words,  “a true pin-up girl born in the wrong era — and as sweet as Southern performers have a reputation for being. We went to Graceland together and people stopped her for pictures the whole tour.”

June 15-Aug. 31: Legally Blonde The Musical
June 22-Aug. 29: West Side Story
July 6-Aug. 30: Thoroughly Modern Millie
July 7-Aug. 25: Pinkalicious the Musical
July 13-Aug. 29: Little Shop of Horrors
At the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, 2313 Eagle Drive, 81147, 970-731-7469 or pagosacenter.org

John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center’s Senior Arts Journalist.


More (non-rep) statewide summer theatre options:

Equus Bas Bleu Photo William CottonBAS BLEU THEATRE, FORT COLLINS
Through July 1: Equus
401 Pine St., 970-498-8949 or basbleu.org

COLORADO SPRINGS FINE ARTS CENTER AT COLORADO COLLEGE
Through June 17: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
June 29-July 21: Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind
Aug. 30-Sept. 2: Pie
30 W. Dale St., 719-634-5581 or csfineartscenter.org

FUNKY LITTLE THEATER COMPANY, COLORADO SPRINGS
June 15-30: Always a Bridesmaid
July 13-Aug. 4: Third annual Spectrum LGBTQIA Festival
367 Pecan St., 719-425-9509 or funkylittletheater.org

IRON SPRINGS CHATEAU, MANITOU SPRINGS
Through Aug. 11: A Precious Bit of the West...or...She Was Simply a Delight!
June 15-Oct. 13: Disturbance at the Delta, Or...Here Fishy, Fishy, Fishy
444 Ruxton Ave., 719-685-5104 or ironspringschateau.com

JESTERS DINNER THEATRE, LONGMONT
Through July 8: Annie
July 13-Sept. 30: The Producers
224 Main St., 303-682-9980 or jesterstheatre.com

MILLIBO ART THEATRE, COLORADO SPRINGS
June 16-July 29: Summer Sundae-Fundays! (Theatre and ice cream)
1626 S. Tejon St., 719-465-6321, www.themat.org 

MIDTOWN ARTS CENTER, FORT COLLINS
June 1-Aug. 25: Grease
3750 S. Mason St, (970) 225-2555 or midtownartscenter.com 

OPENSTAGE & COMPANY, FORT COLLINS
Through June 30: The Comedy of Errors
The Park at Columbine Health Systems, 947 Worthington Circle, 970-484-5237 or www.openstagetheatre.org 

SPRINGS ENSEMBLE THEATRE, COLORADO SPRINGS
July 19-Aug. 5: Tigers Be Still 
1903 E. Cache La Poudre St., 719-357-3080 or springsensembletheatre.org

THEATREWORKS, COLORADO SPRINGS
July 26-Aug. 26: Macbeth
Aug. 2-25: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)
At Rock Ledge Ranch, 719-255-3232 or theatreworkscs.org

THUNDER RIVER THEATRE COMPANY, CARBONDALE
June 14-30: Bat Boy: The Musical
At 67 Promenade, Carbondale, 970-963-8200 or thunderrivertheatre.com


Summer theatre options in the Denver metro area:

ADAMS MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE
Through Aug. 25: Murder at the Tiki Bar
2406 Federal Blvd., Denver, 80211, 303-455-1848 or adamsmysteryplayhouse.com

AND TOTO TOO
44th and Tennyson streets, 720-583-3975 or andtototoo.org
June 15: The Play Crawl on Tennyson Street

BDT STAGE, BOULDER
Through Sept. 8: The Little Mermaid
5501 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com

BENCHMARK THEATRE, LAKEWOOD
June 22-July 21: The Arsonists
1560 Teller St., benchmarktheatre.com

THE BiTSY STAGE
Through June 17: A Hymn to the Goddess: An Egyptian Tale
1137 S. Huron St., 720-328-5294 www.bitsystage.com

THE CATAMOUNTS, BOULDER
Through June 17: "Rausch," an outdoor adventure
Starts at Wild Woods Brewery, 5460 Conestoga Ct., 303-440-7826 or thecatamounts.org

COAL CREEK THEATRE OF LOUISVILLE
Aug. 23-25: An Evening of Colorado Grown One Acts
Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant Ave., cctlouisville.org

CURIOUS THEATRE 
Through June 16: Your Best One
June 25: Denver Stories, featuring Steve Farber
June 14-July 1: Ars Nova’s Underground Railroad Game
1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524 or curioustheatre.org  

HUMAN ERROR. Photo by Adams VisCom.DCPA THEATRE COMPANY
Through June 24: Human Error, Garner Galleria Theatre READ MORE (Photo at right of Marissa McGowan and Kimberly Gilbert by AdamsVisCom.)

Aug. 24-Sept. 30: Vietgone, Ricketson Theatre READ MORE
Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

DCPA BROADWAY
Through June 10: School of Rock, Buell Theatre READ MORE
June 13-July 7: The Book of Mormon, The Ellie Caulkins Opera House
July 12-Aug. 5: Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man, Garner Galleria Theatre
July 25-Aug 5: Les Misérables, Buell Theatre
Aug. 8-19: On Your Feet!, Buell Theatre
Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

DCPA OFF-CENTER
Through July 1: Remote Denver, Starts at Lincoln Park, 13th Avenue and Mariposa Street WATCH THE VIDEO
July 11-Aug. 22: Mixed Taste: Tag team lectures (Wednesdays), at Seawell Ballroom, 14th and Curtis streets
303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

DENVER CHILDREN'S THEATRE
June 25-29: West Side Story (performers grades 6-12)
Elaine Wolf Theatre at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., 303-316-6360 www.maccjcc.org

EQUINOX THEATRE COMPANY
Through June 16: Little Shop of Horrors
At the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., 720-984-0781 or equinoxtheatredenver.com 

EVERGREEN PLAYERS
July 13-Aug. 5: 9 to 5
Aug. 24-25: Epic Summer (improv comedy)
At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 303-674-4934 or evergreenplayers.org

FIREHOUSE THEATER COMPANY
Through June 9: Superior Donuts
John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. 1st Place, 303-562-3232 or firehousetheatercompany.com  

INSPIRE CREATIVE
July 20-Aug. 5: Sister Act
At the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker, 303-805-6800 or Inspirecreative.org

LONGMONT THEATRE COMPANY
513 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-5200 or longmonttheatre.org
July 21-Aug. 13: The Tempest

LOWRY’S SPOTLIGHT THEATRE
June 23-July 22: The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged
John Hand Theatre, 7653 E. First Place, 720-880-8727 or thisisspotlight.com

Seam Michael Cummings in District Merchants at Miners Alley Playhouse. Sarah Roshan Photography.MINERS ALLEY PLAYHOUSE
1224 Washington St., Golden, 303-935-3044 or minersalley.com
Through June 24: District Merchants READ MORE (Photo by Sarah Roshan)
July 13-Aug. 19: Lend Me a Tenor

PHAMALY THEATRE COMPANY
July 12-Aug. 5: Into The Woods, at The Space Theatre
Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-575-0005 or 303-893-4100; denvercenter.org or phamaly.org 

THE SOURCE THEATRE COMPANY
Through June 9: The Life & Times of Ol' Alfred
At the Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, 720-238-1323 or thesourcedenver.org

STAGEDOOR THEATRE, CONIFER
27357 Conifer Road, 303-886-2819, 800-838-3006 or stagedoortheatre.org
July 13-29: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

SU TEATRO
June 14-July 1: Anthem to Aztlan
721 Santa Fe Drive, 303-296-0219 or suteatro.org 

THEATRE COMPANY OF LAFAYETTE
July TBA: A Midsummer Night’s Scream: A new-play festival inspired by the Edvard Munch painting
Mary Miller Theater, 300 E. Simpson, 720-209-2154 or tclstage.org 

TOWN HALL ARTS CENTER, LITTLETON
Through June 18: Ain’t Misbehavin’
2450 W. Main St., 303-794-2787 or townhallsrtscenter.com 

VINTAGE THEATRE, AURORA
Through July 8: Agnes of God
June 22-Aug. 5: The Bridges of Madison County
Aug. 3-Sept. 9: The Sunshine Boys
1468 Dayton St., 303-839-1361 or vintagetheatre.com

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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.

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