As the first-year anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdowns across the metro area nears, theaters continue to lead the way when it comes to connecting and entertaining audiences in innovative new ways. And the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., is calling upon several methods it has tried over the last 12 months to launch its virtual spring season.
The center’s season kicked off on March 1 and runs through May 15. It features four shows - one with limited opportunities for in-person experiencing - that provide a kind of sampler of the available story delivery systems.
“We’ve been creating virtual theater on an ad hoc basis and have done several radio plays this past fall and winter,” said Philip Sneed, president and CEO of the center. “We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to deliver something to audiences in person this season, so we developed this mini season of digital theater. We think this is a great representation of some of the approaches to digital programming.”
The season begins with “Buyer and Cellar,” a one-man play featuring Jake Mendes. The show — which was recorded in Mendes’ own home (with some touches from the center’s talented behinds the scenes team) - follows a shop clerk working in the private basement shopping mall of Barbra Streisand (which evidently is a real thing). The hilarious piece will be available for on-demand viewing through March 21.
The center’s second offering is, “Christine Con,” a live virtual show written by Jessica Austgen. Much like “The Family Tree” (the show Austgen wrote for the holiday season last year) the show uses video-calling technology to bring the story to life. It brings audiences to an Agatha Christie fan club convention that (surprise surprise) features a murder. Viewers will be able to even participate in the mystery as the clues and suspects reveal themselves. Performances are at 7 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, from March 19 through April 4.
At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 2, the center will present Our Favorite Things: A Musical Retrospective — a live event that will be streamed with a limited number of in-person seats available. The show will highlight some of the most popular numbers from 45 years’ worth of musical theater.
“We usually do a musical as part of the spring season, but it is difficult to make that work from people’s separate homes,” Sneed said. “So, we’re going to do this live one time with all four performers in the same place. It’s one of the small ways we’re coming back to the Main Stage.”
The final spring season offering is a radio play adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s immortal novel, “The Great Gatsby.” Zachary Andrews, who adapted “Dracula” to this format in October, is back adding original music and sound design to his list of duties.
“We believe that organizations that continue to put out whatever programming they can during all of this will come back stronger when things start reopening,” Sneed said. “We know we’re serving a very demonstrated need from our community. Barely a day goes by without hearing from patrons about how much they can’t wait until we come back.”
For information and tickets, visit www.arvadacenter.org.
Casa Bonita thanks you, NEXT
Lakewood’s Casa Bonita is one of the metro area’s signature spots, and its unique, pink architecture make it immediately recognizable. In other words, it’s the perfect subject for an art exhibit.
NEXT Gallery, 6851 W.Colfax Ave., Unit B, in Lakewood, is hosting the 4th Annual Casa Bonita Art Show, “Wish You Were Here,” through Sunday, March 7. The show is entirely focused on art that directly relates to the restaurant - a “collection of memories, inspirations or future visions of Casa Bonita,” according to provided information.
Visit https://nextartgallerydenver.com/ for information on the exhibit.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week - Linda and Me: Raised on Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt has received nearly every commendation a musician could ask for, and also has inspired countless performers, including GerRee Hinshaw. And now Hinshaw will be paying tribute to the legend with Linda and Me: Raised on Ronstadt.
The livestreamed event will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 5. Ronstadt’s memoir, “Simple Dreams,” serves as the guide for the show, which features musical direction from David Nehls and guitar accompaniment from Tony Silva. Streamed from Boulder’s Nomad Playhouse, the show will feature GerRee not only singing, but sharing memories and stories.
For tickets or information, call 303-494-0523 or visit www.storiesonstage.org.
Streaming style - ‘Dixie’s Happy Hour’
Off-Broadway favorite Dixie Longate - star of “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” - is back with “Dixie’s Happy Hour,” a new virtual show that will be available for streaming at 7 p.m. March 11, 12 and 13.
Longate is a “fast-talking, gum chewing, ginger-haired Alabama gal who has her audiences howling with laughter with her outrageously funny tales, heartfelt accounts, audience participation and a little bit of empowerment and homespun wisdom,” according to provided information. In this new show she’ll be sharing stories, mixing cocktails and much more.
Get yourself a ticket at www.denvercenter.org.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture apears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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