Colorado Arts Spotlight: Things to know and do around the state Feb. 23 – 25

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Isaiah J. Downing, Courtesy of FAC Theater Company
The Fine Arts Theatre Company’s 2024 production of “Water by the Spoonful.”

Vintage Theater in Aurora now has a permanent home! The building in Aurora Cultural Arts District was first established in 2008 as Shadow Theatre Company, when Jeffrey Nickelson converted a former auto repair shop into a performance space. 

Vintage Theater took over in 2012 and renamed the main stage in honor of Nickelson. But it ran into financial difficulties in the following years. In 2014 the company reached a deal with the City of Aurora, in which the city bought the building and leased it back at a nominal fee. Vintage has now repurchased the property with the help of the city.

“That is huge for us, and it's huge for us to be able to have a space that's our forever home, our place,” said Executive Director Margaret Norwood.

Norwood said this provides the stability to allow the company to make changes to the building. One of those changes is renovating the Nicholson Auditorium to increase the seating angle for better visibility, but Norwood says the theatre decided to wait until it owned the building again to start the work.

All three performance spaces at the Vintage Theatre are active now, with "The Legend of Georgia McBride," on the main stage, "Fun Home," in the black box theater, and opening on March 4th  in the cabaret space, Deborah Persoff starring as the former first lady in "Eleanor."

RDGPhotography, Courtesy of Vintage Theater
Matthew Austin Combs as Casey and Stuart Sanks (aka Shirley Delta Blow) as Miss Tracy Mills in the "The Legend of Georgia McBride," currently running at Vintage Theater in Aurora.

The Fine Arts Center Theatre Company in Colorado Springs is presenting “Water by the Spoonful” by Quiara Alegría Hudes. The Pulitzer Prize-winning play follows characters of different ethnicities, set in both the online chat room world and the real world, and explores themes of redemption, family, forgiveness, community and courage. 

”The strength of the close-knit tribes within the play don't rely on geography, genetics, or the moral dilemmas that they face or problems they have with each other,” said  Director Elise Santora. “But it's interesting to watch them search for redemption and doing it through community.”

“Water by the Spoonful” continues at the Fine Arts Center Theatre Company through March 3.

Central City Opera House, front view of the building during daytime with white whispy clouds on a blue sky
Courtesy Amanda Tipton
The Central City Opera House.

Alison Moritz has just been tapped as the new artistic director for Central City Opera. Moritz holds a M.M. from Eastman School of Music. Her first association with Central City Opera began just under a decade ago as assistant director for a production of Tosca. She has also served on the directing staff at Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Minnesota Opera, Atlanta Opera, and Wolf Trap Opera. 

After a year of labor disputes and other leadership challenges, Moritz said the CCO team is optimistic about this new chapter for the fifth-oldest opera company in the United States, which was founded by philanthropists and arts patrons Julie Penrose and Anne Evans in 1932.

“Our entire industry has had so many shakeups and transitions in the last year, a few years really, and I think so many of them are really exciting. And I don't know, my attitude is onward and upward. I'm really looking forward to this coming season,” said Moritz.

The 2024 Central City Opera Summer Festival runs from June 29 - Aug. 4.

Courtesy of the Lost Theatre Troupe and Geek Parties of the Grand Valley
The full cast of "The Importance of Being Earnest," presented by the Lost Theatre Troupe and Geek Parties of the Grand Valley.

Friday, Feb. 23

Lunar New Year celebrations continue with Kim Pham's Dragon Painting Class at the Far East Center. Dragons are highly revered symbols of good fortune and prosperity in many Asian cultures, believed to bring positive energy and luck for the coming year. In this class, Pham will guide attendees through the process of creating dragon paintings while sharing insights into the rich symbolism and history surrounding these mythical creatures during Lunar New Year festivities. The class includes light snacks, drinks, and art materials.

Dragon Painting Class with Artist Kim Pham Friday, Feb. 23rd, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the Far East Center in Denver.

The Lost Theatre Troupe and Geek Parties of the Grand Valley team up for a dinner theater presentation of Oscar Wilde's classic romantic comedy, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Jack and Algy, two British bachelors, both pretend to be the fictional Earnest to win the hearts of their beloveds, causing chaos when their deception is revealed.  

The Importance of Being Earnest plays at the Courtyard by Marriott in Grand Junction, Friday, Feb. 23 and Saturday, Feb. 24. Dinner is at 6 p.m. The show starts at 7 p.m. 

Saturday, Feb. 24

The town of Windsor’s Department of Parks, Recreation & Culture hosts a free, family-friendly event called "Magical Forest" on Saturday. Families will transform living Christmas trees into various imaginative creations, like forts, kingdoms and castles, to large nests. The town will provide all the necessary resources, including tools and trees for families to play with nature.

Magical Forest, Saturday, Feb. 24 from 9 a.m. to noon at Chimney Park Ballfields in Windsor.

Sunday, Feb. 25

Vocalists Mary Louise Lee and Robert Johnson headline an afternoon with the Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra small band, performing classic songs from the historic album “Ella & Louis,” featuring compositions by Irving Berlin, the Gershwins, and others.

“Ella & Louis: Jazz Music's Perfect Partnership” with Mary Louise Lee and Robert Johnson and the CJRO small band, Sunday, Feb. 25 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Lakewood Cultural Center.

Experienced instructor Steve Johnson teaches a three-day Winter Ecology Workshop at YMCA of the Rockies, starting on Sunday. The course covers physical geography, winter weather patterns, and slope and aspect variability. Participants will also conduct a snowpack study, build a winter snow shelter, study plant and animal adaptations to the winter environment and discuss patterns of climate change.

Nature Workshop: Winter Ecology, runs from Feb. 25  to 27. Participants should be prepared to walk or snowshoe up to one mile at elevations of 9,500'.

All Weekend

The Colorado Environmental Film Festival marks its 18th year by moving to a new location — the Green Center at Colorado School of Mines, located at 924 16th Street in Golden. The festival will feature 66 films, including 15 world premieres, chosen to educate, connect and inspire, as well as a free Community Night, Eco-Expo, and a Meet the Filmmakers Party. 

The Colorado Environmental Film Festival, Feb. 22 to 25 at the Green Center at Colorado School of Mines.

Community-Minded Dance, CMDance, in Denver hosts three nationally recognized dance events each year to support its youth programs. This weekend is its annual event, Diversion Weekend, featuring live swing and blues music by Erica Brown and Taryn Newborne & the Real Deal. This year, the event is expanding to include music and culture talks, and a Vintage Vinyl late-night dance party with DJ Juan V. 

CMDance Diversion Weekend, Feb. 23 to 25 at Denver’s Turnverein Dance Center.

Other arts and culture events around Colorado

How we pick our events: CO Arts Spotlight highlights events around the state to give readers a sense of the breadth of Colorado’s arts and cultural happenings, it is not — and can not possibly be — a comprehensive list of all weekly events. Entries are not endorsements or reviews. Each week’s list is published on Thursday and is not updated. Some groups that appear on the list may also be financial sponsors of CPR but have no input into our editorial choices.

Some groups mentioned in the Spotlight may be financial supporters of CPR News. Financial supporters have no editorial influence.

Editor's Note: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated how many years the Colorado Environmental Film Festival has been in operation.