Colorado Arts Spotlight: Things to know and do around the state July 12 – 14

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Julian Ibarra, Savanna, Padilla, Katie Rodriguez and Stage Manager Wilhelm Peters rehearse for "Prima's Guide to Funerals."
Brooke Ashlee Photography
Julian Ibarra, Savanna, Padilla, Katie Rodriguez and Stage Manager Wilhelm Peters rehearse for “Prima’s Guide to Funerals.”

Colorado is gearing up for a weekend of diverse artistic and cultural events, including an immersive experience, a French cultural festival, classical and bluegrass concerts, new work by local visual artists, and numerous performances.

Arts and culture news of the week

World Premiere at Creede Repertory Theatre

The world premiere of "Prima's Guide to Funerals," a new comedy by Leonard Madrid, opens this weekend at Creede Repertory Theater. The play was commissioned as part of the theater's Headwaters New Play Program, which seeks to bring new and timely work to the stage.

Kate Berry, the theater's interim artistic director, said the play was written specifically for the Creede community in the San Luis Valley, an area with a large Hispanic population. 

"Leonard agreed to write a play, particularly a comedy that speaks to and about the Hispanic and Latinx community," said Berry. "It'll have a special significance for folks in… the San Luis Valley."

The play is described as “A comedy in one funeral” and is both funny and heartfelt. 

"It's more of a dramedy,” said Berry. She likens this play to another of Madrid’s works, “Cebollas!”, which had its premiere at the Denver Center Theater Company earlier this year.  “It's very funny and it also deals with grief and loss." Berry hopes audiences will agree with her assessment that it is "probably the funniest play about a funeral [they've] seen."

“Prima’s Guide to Funerals” runs through Sept. 14 at Creede Repertory Theater.

Courtesy of Candlelight Dinner Theater

Disney's “High School Musical” in Johnstown

In a bit of a departure from their usual fare, Candlelight Dinner Theater brings the Disney Channel’s smash hit, “High School Musical” to life on stage this summer. But the team behind it says this is more than a movie replica.

“It’s not quite the movie like copy-pasted to the stage,” director and choreographer Carrie Colton explained. She emphasized that the stage version improves on the original by “[keeping] what we love and what's nostalgic about the movie, but really fleshing out some of these characters a little bit more." 

The material makes for a challenging evening for the production’s young performers. “These dudes, they're singing in the rafters,” said Colton. She hopes the audience remembers that, unlike a film, “this has to be live, and people have to do it every night."

Associate Director Chaz Lederer shared that the beauty of the production is that it allows characters to consider, “‘Who am I? What am I going to be?’” He went on to note that the show imparts an important message that “as long as we stick together and are true to ourselves, we're going to be okay.”

Audience members lying in bunks with headphones on at Darkfield's immersive "Coma" exhibit.
Mihaela Bodlovic
Audience members in bunks at Darkfield's immersive "Coma" exhibit.


This immersive experience invites attendees to enter a world of complete darkness and experience a new reality through 360-degree audio, sensory effects and hyper-realistic sets. The three distinctive worlds of Darkfield — Séance, Flight, and Coma — promise an unsettling yet intriguing journey into the depths of perception. The production is part of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Off-Center series.

Darkfield at The Bird Lot on Larimer St. in Denver from July 11 to August 11.

“We Are The Sky” group show at the Ent Center

The gallery at the Ent Center unveils a new group exhibition featuring the work of more than 40 artists from the Pikes Peak region. The show, presented by GOCA (Galleries of Contemporary Art) was inspired by the late Colorado Springs artist, Starr Kempf and is free and open to the public. Gallery talks about the works will be held on July 20, Aug. 3, and Aug. 17. And two performances are also scheduled, “Butterfly Effect” on September 12 and “What Kinda Brown Are You” on September 19.

We Are The Sky” opens July 11 and is on view at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Gallery at the Ent Center for the Arts in Colorado Springs through October 5.

Friday, July 12

Boris and Alin Allakhverdyan at the Ent Center

Husband and wife musical duo Boris and Alin Allakhverdyan are joined by Sergei Vassiliev for Mendelssohn's Concert Piece for two clarinets and piano. Boris Allakhverdyan is currently the principal clarinetist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, after holding that role at the Metropolitan Opera. Alin Allakhverdyan is an acclaimed concert pianist who was featured on the soundtrack of Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans.”

The Allahverdyans and Vassiliev perform Friday at 7 p.m. at the Ent Center For The Arts at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

Damn Tall buildings, a three-piece bluegrass band, playing a live show.
Damn Tall buildings, a bluegrass band, playing a live show.

Damn Tall Buildings in Lone Tree

The bluegrass trio, known for their high energy and musical prowess, describe their sound as "finding beauty and glory in the mundane workaday struggle of everyday life.” Even on stage, the band’s show contains echoes of their early days busking as a crew of best friends playing bluegrass on the street.

Tunes on the Terrace: Damn Tall Buildings, 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Lone Tree Arts Center’s Terrace Theater Stage.

“The Bonfils Girl” at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House

The play chronicles the life of Helen Bonfils, the pioneering woman publisher of the Denver Post whose influence on the city is still visible today. Colorado playwright Mike Broemmel wrote the one-woman play. This revival production stars Karilyn Starks and is directed by Selena Naumoff and will have an encore production Aug. 17 at the Historic Elitch Theater, a venue Bonfils herself played during her time in the theater.

The Bonfils Girl” plays at the Studio Loft at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m.

Movies in the Park - “Surf's Up” in Windsor

Moviegoers are invited to bring a lawn chair and relax in Windsor’s Boardwalk Park while watching a movie with friends and family. This week it’s “Surf's Up” a PG-rated 2007 animated mockumentary. The films are free and start at dusk, which is at approximately 8:30 p.m. 

Surf’s Up” starts around 8:30 p.m. Friday in Boardwalk Park, Windsor.

Saturday, July 13

An alley packed full of people enjoying an event at Dairy Block in LoDo.
Courtesy of Dairy Block
People enjoying an event at Dairy Block in LoDo.

Dairy Block After Dark: Evening Bazaar

This night market is billed as “LoDo’s only activated alley.”  Curated by Denver event company Fireside at Five the inaugural night time market features a dozen local vendors, food and drink, and a vinyl pop-up by Wax Trax. 

Dairy Block After Dark: Evening Bazaar is Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m. at Dairy Block, LoDo.

A cappella at the Lone Tree Arts Center

The group Face Vocal Band, which has been performing for the past twenty years, is known for performing contemporary hits and original songs using only their voices. The group has competed on NBC's The Sing-Off and has opened for artists such as Jon Bon Jovi and Barenaked Ladies.

Face Vocal Band Summer Concert, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Lone Tree Arts Center.

Women's A Cappella Festival

The Grand Mesa a cappella chorus, a chapter of Sweet Adelines International, hosts the High Plains Harmony Festival Saturday. It’s a chance for women aged 12 and up to learn two- and four-part harmony songs, then perform them in a free public concert that afternoon.

Women's A Cappella Festival concert at 4:30 p.m. at the Redlands United Methodist Church in Grand Junction.

All Weekend

A bustling square full of people enjoying an event in Cherry Creek North.
Courtesy of Cherry Creek North
People enjoying an event in Cherry Creek North.

Bastille Day French Fest

This francophile celebration of culture, gastronomy and art takes over the Fillmore Plaza in Cherry Creek North from Friday to Sunday with authentic cuisine, a variety of French and local artisans selling their wares, and the opportunity to experience French art. The free event, which is hosted by the Rocky Mountain chapter of the French American Chamber of Commerce, will also feature live performances.

Bastille Day French Fest runs in the afternoon, Friday through Sunday, on Cherry Creek North’s Fillmore Plaza.

A Look Ahead

Ben Platt: The Honeybee Tour

Actor and singer Ben Platt comes to the Buell Theatre on Monday, July 15. The Tony, Grammy, and Emmy award-winning Platt is on tour following his third studio album and will share the stage with special guest Brandy Clark.

Ben Platt, Monday at 7:30 at the Buell Theater in Denver.

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.

Editor's Note: Some groups mentioned in the CO Arts Spotlight may be financial supporters of CPR News. Financial supporters have no editorial influence.