Denver holiday shows 2021: “A Christmas Carol” to “A John Waters Christmas” and everything in between
Holiday stage shows tend to fall into two broad categories — naughty and nice — but as in real life, there’s quite a bit in between, especially as holiday events start to go immersive and interactive.
Here are 10 ways to experience the holidays on stage this year that aren’t your typical “Nutcracker.” Note: Most indoor, seated performances require patrons to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID test within 48 to 72 hours of showtime, while people over the age of 2 are generally required to wear masks when not eating or drinking.
“A Christmas Carol”
You may remember it as a cartoon or TV special, but this exuberant version of the Charles Dickens classic from Denver Center for the Performing Arts spares no expense in its musical staging, following “money-hoarding curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption.” Suitable for kids 6 and up. Various performances through Dec. 26 at the Wolf Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 1400 Curtis St. Tickets: $30-$110. denvercenter.org
Vintage Theatre Productions
This Aurora-based company’s holiday lineup includes the regional premiere of “Who’s Holiday?” (Dec. 1-31) and “The Twelve Dates of Christmas” (Dec. 3-26). The former is a Dr. Seuss-inspired, adults-only creation from writer Matthew Lombardo, while the latter explores the holiday-dating gauntlet with predictably absurd results. Both are, incidentally, one-woman shows. Various times and dates at Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St. in Aurora. Tickets: $20-$34. vintagetheatre.org
Opening Thursday, Dec. 2, “Joaquin’s Christmas” has evolved from a puppet performance to a live-action drama that explores “the Colorado Chicano community’s holiday traditions and struggles,” as told by writer and director Anthony J. Garcia. The play, with original music, is set in Pueblo in the 1950s against the background of a steelworkers strike. Shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 2-19, at Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive. Tickets: $20 for adults, $17 for students and seniors. suteatro.org
“Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum”
While it’s mostly a dance show, this local classic celebrating 30 years contains a strong, multicultural narrative about the shared beliefs of hope. It’s also got some ripping choreography, costumes and staging, renewed regularly with young dancers and following the template set by Denver dance maven Cleo Parker Robinson. Various shows Dec. 11-19 at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre, 119 Park Avenue West. Tickets: $45 for adults and $35 for seniors and youth. cleoparkerdance.org
John Waters, and drag queens!
Naughty holiday shows, such as “Santa’s Big Red Sack” at the Aurora People’s Building (Dec. 9-24, santasbigredsack.com), are nothing new. But this year’s crop is a gift, including legendary director John Waters (“Hairspray,” “Pink Flamingoes”) and his “A John Waters Christmas,” which is as brilliantly filthy as anything the man has created (Dec. 4 at the Soiled Dove Underground via eventbrite.com).
There’s also the joyous, hilarious “The Return of The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show, LIVE!” featuring “RuPaul’s Drag Race” vets BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon (Dec. 14 at the Paramount Theatre, paramountdenver.com). Also on tap: “A Drag Queen Christmas” at the Fillmore Auditorium, on Friday, Nov. 26 (livenation.com).
Factory Five Five’s “Winter Tales”
The Factory Five Five fashion and arts collective at Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace, along with Tattered Cover Kids, is presenting its first holiday kids show with “Winter Tales.” Billed as an interactive theater experience, it includes a diverse look at the traditions, stories and music of different cultures, inspired by a quartet of children’s books. In addition to the four short plays, the books will be on sale at the nearby Tattered Cover Kids store, with a reading on Dec. 8. Various times Dec. 3-19 at the Stanley Marketplace, 10255 E. 25th Ave., Unit 5 in Aurora. Tickets: $8-$12. factoryfivefive.com/winter-tales
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