Theater shows to see in Colorado fall 2021

The curtain rises. (Or the laptop warms up, hitched to a nice-sized monitor.) The theatergoers gather, masked and in-person. (Or sit at home, feet on the coffee table and no protocols to keep track of.)

With a mix of in-person and virtual offerings, this fall’s theater season is going to look a little different — yet so much better than 2020’s. (At least at the time of this writing, since it still feels a little vulnerable.)

Here are some of the offerings headed into theaters or available online in the coming weeks.

(Note: These are the latest updates on shows with up-to-date theater protocols; all are subject to change. Please check each theater’s requirements.)

The Arvada Center

Musicals return to the regional mainstay’s main stage with the two-hander marriage romp “I Do! I Do!,” which follows Agnes and Michael through 50 years of wedded bliss and then some. Fave fact: Carol Burnett and Rock Hudson headlined a national tour of the show in 1973. “I’m so glad we had this time together,” indeed. (Sept. 10-Oct. 10)

The Center’s Black Box opens with A.R. Gurney’s comedy “Sylvia,” about love, marriage and a dog (not necessarily in that order). (Oct. 1- Nov. 7) arvadacenter.org

Before you go: Masks are required in all public spaces. If you don’t have a mask, one will be provided.

The Aurora Fox Arts Center

Ahead of “Hundred Days,” the Fox has been touting the creative team set to bring the musical to its intimate stage — and for good reason. Director Nick Sugar and musical director David Nehls tag-teamed the Fox’s exhilarating “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Sure, this autobiographical love tale by the neo-folk duo the Bengsons (Abigail and Shaun) and Sarah Gancher is a different beast, but Sugar and Nehls are sure to rock its intimacy, joy and fretful moments. (Sept. 16-Oct.  10)

Differently intimate, differently rocking, differently a duo, dueling pianists the Barton Brothers’ “Play Me a Memory: A Tribute to Billy Joel and Elton John” launches the Fox’s cabaret series. (Oct. 15-17) aurorafoxartscenter.org

Before you go: Unvaccinated patrons should remain masked while inside the building and throughout the performance. Masks are optional for vaccinated patrons once seated.

Buntport

This wiseacre band of creatives — emphasis on “wise” — stayed strong during the worst of 2020, putting talkative grasshoppers in their parking lot and later offering that same (safe) space to other troupes. This fall, Buntport will head into its belove black box with “Cabaret De Profundis: Or How To Sing While Ugly Crying,” based loosely on Artemisia II of Caria (go ahead, look it up). (Oct. 28- Nov. 13)

Before that, the company will host a few one-offs in the parking lot: The Great Debate (Sept. 14), “Narrators: Inside Out.” (Sept. 15), and “The Sausage and the Skewer (Sept. 25). In response to 2020’s challenges, Buntport has instituted a pay-whatever-you-can policy for this year’s shows. It also is making its theater available to other arts groups, prioritizing those who work for and with historically underrepresented communities free of charge.

Before you go: The outdoor events require … chairs. (And you thought we were going to say “masks.” Stay tuned for indoor protocols. buntport.com

The Catamounts

This ace Boulder-based company kept the theater coming during the tough times, most recently with summer’s “Land of Milk and Honey.” Now the outfit with the tagline “Theatre for the Adventurous Palette” will be adventuring to Aurora — and the People’s Building on East Colfax —  in early November with the regional premiere of “Eddie and Dave” by Amy Staats. The dudes of the title are rockers Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth. That might be lure enough for you to go, but there’s more: This gender-tweaking rumination on vexed friendship, awesome musicianship and the performative casts women in the male roles and guys in the female ones. (Nov. 6-21)

Before you go: Catamounts is following the Denver Center COVID-19 protocols. See below.

Cherry Creek Theatre

It can be so delish when an actor directs a scene-chomping play. News then that talented actor Tara Falk will helm “Steel Magnolias” is more than welcome. Watching Truvy, Ouiser, Clairee, Annelle and Shelby serve up tart and tender lines with slices of ham should prove delightful. (Oct. 1-24)

With “Jest a Second!,” playwright James Sherman returns to the Goldman family with a new revelation. In Beau Jest, Sarah drafted Bob, an unemployed actor, to play the perfect boyfriend for her picky parents. Not to be outdone, but hoping to come out, Sarah’s brother Joel wants to introduce his folks to his new love. When the new guy can’t make it, Bob plies his acting chops again. (Oct. 29-Nov. 21) cherrycreek.org

Before you go: Grab the required mask.

Curious Theatre Company

It’s been far too long since this vital theater’s doors were open. (And that’s a fact. Or is it merely a heartfelt opinion?) Curious returns to form, challenging audiences with spiky, timely work. It opens with “The Lifespan of a Fact,” about the vulnerability of facts to creative license and other forms of writerly willfulness and whim. (Sept 18-Oct. 16)

The company continues to deepen its relationship — onstage and behind the scenes — with actor and director Jada Suzanne Dixon. In November, she’ll direct as well as don the role of the Black mother of a biracial son who’s had some sort of run-in with police in the searing drama “American Son.” (Nov. 6-Dec. 11) curioustheatre.org

Before you go: Patrons must present either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the theater.

Denver Center for the Performing Arts

The behemoth emerges from its seeming coma in December with the Broadway tour of “The Lion King.” Meanwhile, those nimble wags of the Improvised Shakespeare Company take up residence at the Garner Galleria cabaret space ready to create a play before your very eyes. It’s a rather ingenious shtick: “A wife encourages her hubby’s treachery … . Yes, and … .” (Oct. 6-31) Denvercenter.org

Before you go: Patrons must be fully vaccinated. Children under the age of 12 must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance’s start time, or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within 6 hours of the performance’s start time. All audience members ages 2+ are required to wear a face covering except when actively eating or drinking in designated locations.

IDEA Stages and Control Group Productions

One of the most promising endeavors of the fall, “Sojourners Project: Busing” dives into the history of Denver Public School busing in a devised show that mixes documentary material with magical realism to tell the story of three generations of a Denver family in light of the integration efforts. (Yes, the civil-rights maverick Rachel B. Noel gets a shout-out.) In the spirit of taking the show to the people, “Busing” — the first in the planned Sojourner series — will take place in various outdoor venues, starting with the parking lot of the Aurora’s Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church. Just look for the big yellow bus. Info and tickets at sojourners.live.

Invictus Theatre of Denver

With “Three Guys in Drag Selling Their Stuff,” this Aurora-based theater company puts on a yard sale worth the price of the tchotchkes as Diva, Lillian, and Tink hawk their valuables. Not only do we get to know the trio, we also get a surprising sense of the neighborhood they live in. (Sept. 9-18) invictustheatreofdenver.com

Before you go: Grab the required mask.

Lakewood Cultural Center

The tried-and-true, Tony-winning musical “The Drowsy Chaperone” awakens the Lakewood arts hub with its story of a musical theater aficionado who calls forth his fave musical when he puts on the 1928 show’s original cast album. (Sept. 10-26)

While this is the only Performance Now Theatre show of the fall, Lakewood has a slew of musical guests signed up. lakewood.org

Before you go: Grab the required mask.

Littleton Town Hall Arts Center

It’s not unusual for lyricist Tom Jones to get play on local stages. But in September, not only will his “I Do! I Do!” be playing at Arvada, the charming “The Fantasticks” also will have a run at Town Hall, with actor Billie McBride directing. Now that’s fantastic. (Sept. 17-Oct. 17) townhallartscenter.org

Before you go: Grab the required mask.

Local Theater Company

The Boulder-based company shifted to audience-engaging virtual programming during the height (lows) of the pandemic. This summer, Local brought “Discount Ghost Stories” to the Boulder Bandshell. Dedicated to new-play development, the company is back on the case showcasing its Local Lab fare virtually. (Nov. 14-16) townhallartscentre.org

Miners Alley Playhouse

This Golden outfit recently began its run of “Before You Go,” Colorado Theatre Guild Hall-of-Famer John Ashton’s mighty fine drama with barbed laughs about a family reckoning with death and betrayals (don’t they all). (Through Sept. 19)

Artistic director Len Matheo, who’s been generous in featuring guest directors, takes over those duties for “The Crucible” Why, oh why, does Arthur Miller’s 1953 play remain so timely? (Oct. 8-Nov. 7)

Before you go: Miners Alley requires patrons to fill out an online contact tracing form and to wear masks in the theater throughout the performance. minersalley.com

Phamaly

After a successful run at Su Teatro, the company made up of people with disabilities’ music-driven production “Alice in Wonderland” moves online through Sept. 31. The show’s composer, the dynamic Wheelchair Sports Camp, will be featured at Phamaly’s in-person fundraising concert on  Sept. 29. phamaly.org

Stories on Stage

Three virtual shows launch the beloved staged reading series. First up: chiller “Don’t Open That Door!” featuring local talents Steven Cole Hughes, Anastasia Davidson and Lavour Addison (streaming live on Sept. 17), followed by something we could really use, “Harmony of the World” (Oct. 22). After that, it’s “What Goes Up, Must Come Down.” (Nov. 12) storiesonstage.org

Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center

It’s an anniversary so auspicious that Su Teatro decided to celebrate its 50th over the next two years, starting with a revival of “El Corrido del Barrio,” artistic director Anthony J. Garcia’s 1976 play about Denver’s Westside. (Oct. 14-31) suteatro.org

Before you go: Masks are required.

Theatre Or

Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye. The Supreme Court is now in session. Or at least honorable Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor, who take center stage in the Colorado premiere of “Sisters in Law,” by Jonathan Shapiro, based on Linda Hirshman’s book about the first and second women on the Supreme Court. (Sept. 24-Oct. 31)

In concert with the show, Theatre Or and the Tattered Cover Book Store have partnered to host the webinar series “Honoring Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” running through Oct. 20. theatreor.com and tatteredcover.com

Vintage Theatre

The Aurora theater heads to Transylvania by way of Mel Brooks. The singing, dancing, messing-with-electricity-and-cadavers gang’s all here for “Young Frankenstein.” (Sept. 13-Oct. 31) vintagetheatre.org

Before you go: All patrons age 12 or older must be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination before attending performances at Vintage Theatre.

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