Fall Arts Preview
This season's must-see lineup of music, film, theater, dance, and fine art in the Mile-High City.
If they aren't careful, New Yorkers Steven Sapp and Mildred Ruiz might forget they don't live in Denver. For the past few years, this artistic duo has altered Denver's theatrical landscape by writing and premiering the War Anthology and the Denver Project here in the Mile-High City.
This fall, the couple brings its acclaimed New York ensemble, Universes, to perform Slanguage at the University of Denver. A passionate series of vignettes about slang, Slanguage combines poetry, beat poet references, and rap to create a provocative look at language, racial tensions, and American culture.
Sapp and Ruiz are already talking about premiering their next play, Ameriville, in Denver during the 2009-2010 season—which would be just one more way for locals to revel in their raw and emotional work. Oct. 2, Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 303-871-6200, www.du.edu/newmancenter
Speech & Debate
Last year, this spunky, offbeat musical comedy widely impressed New York City: Critics raved and audiences lined up for an extended, sold-out run. Now, this little-musical-that-could hopes to do the same in Denver. Speech & Debate tells the story of three eccentric high school students who expose a male teacher's sexual misbehavior. But watch closely. Beneath the narrative are intimate stories about individual students. While uncovering the truth about their teacher, Howie confronts his homosexuality, Solomon becomes a hound-dog reporter, and Diwata writes and records a sidesplitting musical using her Casio keyboard. Both poignant and entertaining, the play's depiction of a teenager's transition to adulthood feels just as uncomfortable as you remember it. Nov. 1-Dec. 13, Curious Theatre Company, 1080 Acoma St., 303-623-0524, www.curioustheatre.org
The Pearl Fishers
For more than 30 years, British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes has created flowing, exotic dresses, layering colorful, mismatched silk, polyester, and chiffon. Her designs—expensive and one-of-a-kind—have graced the statuesque figures of both Princess Diana and Elizabeth Taylor. But since 2001, Rhodes has expanded her reach into the world of opera. Her brilliant use of gold, turquoise, and orange set the stage for Egypt-based Aida. And this February, when her blue saris and pink floral garlands decorate the stage of Opera Colorado's The Pearl Fishers, a tale of friendship and love set in Sri Lanka, she not only introduces high fashion into Colorado opera, but also blows tropical warmth into the Denver winter. Feb. 14-22, Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 303-778-1500, www.operacolorado.org
This Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of Princeton, a college grad who ends up living on New York's Avenue Q because it's the only neighborhood in his price range. He meets his neighbors, all of whom seem to have their own compelling story. Brian is an out-of-work comedian. Kate is a cute teaching assistant. And Rod is an investment banker with a secret. This mature parody of Sesame Street, which illustrates the dilemma of big dreams and tiny budgets, is recommended for adults and kids ages 13 and up. Sept. 9-21, Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 303-893-4100, www.denvercenter.org
Inana The tale of an Iraqi museum director trying to protect a valuable statue on the eve of war, this world premiere takes a close look at the often unfortunate relationship between war and art. Jan. 23-Feb. 28, The Ricketson Theatre, 1101 13th St., 303-893-4100, www.denvercenter.org
Dusty and the Big Bad World When the fictional producers of Dusty and the Big Bad World decide to do a program about a family with two dads, they overestimate the tolerance of government. Written by Cusi Cram, the play holds a magnifying glass up to children's television. Jan. 23-Feb. 28, The Space Theatre, 1101 13th St., 303-893-4100, www.denvercenter.org