From Traditional to Antidotes, Holiday Offerings Abound

DENVER — Longtime readers know that heartwarming holiday dramas and delightful seasonal comedies with uplifting messages are not my favorite thing. However, as a proponent of the arts and theater, in particular, I do appreciate that the gathering of family, which happens at this time of year, creates a nice opportunity to see a show. Holiday productions can be the financial lifeblood of many local theater companies, with the increased ticket sales and full houses at this time of year allowing for more risky and unconventional shows the rest of the year. While many companies stick with tried and true plays and musicals, some offer an antidote to the holiday hype with unconventional or alternative productions that either twist traditions or flat out flaunt the antithesis of the season.  A few may choose non-holiday musicals that can make for a special evening out for the whole family, and some just continue their string of productions without any nod to the time of year.

To help readers find just the right performance to see here is a summary of what is available, divided into the more traditional options, the anti-holiday choices, and other possibilities.  Hopefully, you can find the right performance for you.

Traditional Holiday Fare

The quintessential holiday production is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  As always, there are several options, led by the Denver Center’s 24th year presenting the musical adaptation of the story, running through Dec 24.  The talented Sam Gregory is taking over the role of Scrooge from veteran Philip Pleasants, who has been performed the role 357 times since 2005. Miner’s Alley Playhouse in Golden is presenting a new comic adaptation with only five actors performing all the roles, including the capable Jim Hunt as Scrooge, through Dec 23. There are two other adaptations, both telling the story from different perspectives, with Vintage Theater in Aurora producing Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol through Dec 23, and Phamaly delivering Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol through Dec 18 at the Courtyard Theatre on the Auraria Campus. Vintage’s show is an intriguing retelling that I found engaging when The Victorian did it years ago, and Phamaly’s take is certain to be thoughtful and unique.

The Arvada Center is bringing the world premiere musical I’ll Be Home for Christmas to the stage through Dec 23. This is the first new musical developed by the Arvada Center, with original music and lyrics by longtime musical director David Nehls. Set in Pueblo, Joaquin’s Christmas, an alternative from Su Teatro running through Dec 18, includes “a magical grandmother, a talking dog, evil influences, and a loving mom and dad” in a show for the whole family.  Another standard of the season is It’s a Wonderful Life, and there is no shortage of productions based on the classic film this year.  Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Johnstown is producing the musical version through Dec 31, and both the Lone Tree Arts Center (through Dec 18) and Spotlight Theater (through Dec 18, in repertory with a similar version of A Christmas Carol) offer the live radio play version that adds another layer to the story.

Both Littleton Town Hall Arts Center (through Dec 31) and the Midtown Arts Center in Fort Collins are presenting musical versions of A Christmas Story, with Ralphie’s dreams of a Red Ryder BB gun. Specifically for children is The Story of the Nutcracker, from the Miners Alley Children’s Theater, through Dec 23, adapted by Rory Pierce from the original book with a nod to the ballet. Another more classically traditional production is Amahl and the Night Visitors, provided this year by the Evergreen Chorale and Jefferson Orchestra, on Dec 9 at Central Presbyterian Church and on Dec 11 at Rockland Community Church. Though a bit further away, Bas Bleu in Fort Collins is offering an adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, through Dec 23. Up in Boulder at Chautauqua on Dec 10 and at the King Center, Auraria on Dec 11, Stories on Stage is presenting a “potpourri of Holiday cheer” titled Making Merry.

Antidotes to Holiday Excess

For the more cynical among us who get tired of the excessive amounts of smarmy good cheer and annoyingly earnest hope for a better future, have no fear – there are shows for you, too, starting with two that have become local alternative classics. The Avenue Theater is presenting the 8th incarnation of the biting sketch comedy Santa’s Big Red Sack, “the holiday show you shouldn’t take your kids to,” through Dec 24. And the Boulder Ensemble Theater Company (BETC) is teaming with the Denver Center to bring us The SantaLand Diaries, with Michael Bouchard as Crumpet the Elf in David Sedaris’ hilarious and biting comedy, also through Dec 24. At the Dairy Center in Boulder, BETC also offers the comic Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some), “a madcap romp,” through Dec 24. Also up north, through Dec 18, the Longmont Theatre Company is presenting Best Christmas Pageant Ever, featuring “the most inventively awful children in history.”

The holidays are a great time for improvisational comedy as well, with Revenge of the Misfit Toys at The Clocktower Cabaret on Dec 9, 16, 21, and An Improvised Christmas Carol, returning for the third year, at the Bakery Theater at 2132 Market, thru Dec 26.

Other Options

This is a good time of year for family outings to the theater or to impress a date, even for productions that are not specific to this time of year. Some good possibilities for this are Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, at Vintage Theater through Jan 15, and Porgy & Bess at the Aurora Fox, through thru Jan 1, both out east in Aurora, as well as An Act of God closer in at the Garner Galleria Theater. And if you want a stark contrast to the traditional seasonal fare, then shell out the big bucks and head down to the Buell Theatre for the Broadway touring production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, one week only from Dec 6-11. 

The post From Traditional to Antidotes, Holiday Offerings Abound appeared first on North Denver Tribune.

North Denver Tribune

Historic Lumber Baron Inn to Host Old-Fashioned Holiday Festival

HIGHLAND — One of the oldest mansions in Denver has new owners and a new attitude. The Lumber Baron Inn, known for its rich history and elegant Victorian architecture, is opening its doors to the community on Sunday, December 18th, from 1pm to 5pm, to bring community together in the spirit of kindness. While there is no admission required to enjoy the festivities, the Lumber Baron is collecting donations for Almost Home, an organization that helps Coloradans with emergency shelter.

For their inaugural year, The Lumber Baron Inn is pulling out all the stops, offering free Santa visits, a petting zoo, a backyard camp fire with marshmallows and s’mores, a station for composing letters to Santa, live holiday music, local artisan booths, and a cash-bar with special holiday libations for purchase, all tucked within a delightfully decorated venue. It just feels like Christmas.

When asked why she is not charging an admission for this event, Lumber Baron Owner and Baroness, Elaine Bryant, said “I cannot bear the idea that any child would be denied participation. I want everyone to be included. I don’t want anyone to be turned away because they cannot pay” And so it is. An event

to support the community in more ways than one was born. Instead of paying to attend this event, Elaine asks that attendees bring an unused item to support Almost Home, a local shelter than supports families in need of emergency shelter. The unused items that would be most helpful include: gift cards for grocery stores and gas stations, winter coats and outerwear.

Guests are asked to RSVP through the Facebook event page if they attend to join the fun:

The Lumber Baron Inn is a Victorian Bed & Breakfast and full service event venue offering five elegant guest suites, a grand ballroom, rose gardens and Scottish fare. Circa 1890, the old Victorian delivers charm, function, and enchantment to any special occasion. To find out more about our diverse offerings, please visit, find us on Facebook at, or call 303-477-8205

The post Historic Lumber Baron Inn to Host Old-Fashioned Holiday Festival appeared first on North Denver Tribune.

North Denver Tribune

2016 Art Restart Holiday Collection

DENVER — Halloween is over and now the holiday season ensues bringing a celebration of happiness to share with loved ones. Art Restart has the perfect holiday card collection to make family, friends, business associates, customers, and all those near-and-dear feel special. With an Art Restart card you can express holiday wishes with a purpose — helping women who are experiencing poverty.

“No time of year inspires the sentiments of love, caring and generosity quite like the holiday season,” said Teresa Densmore, Director of Art Restart. “This year, we’ve truly topped ourselves with the most unique assortment of greeting cards featuring original art, created by members of The Gathering Place. There’s a card for every person on your list. 

Art Restart is a social enterprise of The Gathering Place, Denver’s only daytime drop-in center for women, their children, and transgender individuals who are seeking programming and necessary services to help them become self-sufficient.  For nearly 30 years, it has been a place of hope where positive relationships and essential resources transform lives every day. 

Densmore says, “The Art Restart program provides opportunities for women who are experiencing poverty to transform their lives through art.  As Art Restart artists, they receive royalties when their art is chosen by companies and individuals, while the rest of the proceeds from each sale go back to The Gathering Place to assist with the furthering of programs and services.  You literally can do good without much effort.” 

Companies like Vectra Bank are using Art Restart cards as a demonstration of their commitment to corporate social responsibility.  “Not only do Art Restart cards meet communication needs for our business and individual customers, but it’s also an easy way to help others,” says Densmore.

Bruce Alexander, president and CEO of Vectra Bank says, “When The Gathering Place launched Art Restart as its social enterprise, we just knew Vectra had to be a part of this endeavor…   We’re so proud to have been Art Restart’s first client and thrilled to be able to share their story and our warm holiday wishes with our clients and prospects through their cards each year.”

The 2016 Holiday Collection features original art that portrays beautiful scenes of holiday and winter.  Most notable are Gold Trees by EHS, Mountain Cornucopia by JJJ, and Snow Storm by VEC.  “The initials of the artists are used here because of the need to respect the privacy of our members, many who are victims of domestic violence,” said Densmore.  “And there is no reason companies cannot get the jump on 2017 holidays by ordering cards from this collection now,” she added.

Art Restart was conceived to develop new revenue streams to support the vitally needed services The Gathering Place provides and is built on four principles. 1) Transformation: artists earn royalties on sales of their art securing an income that can help lead to self-sufficiency. 2) Expression: artists use our safe space for creative self-expression. 3) Affirmation: our women are truly artists and with every sale, and gain self-confidence which positively affects their lives. 4) Sustainability: to provide additional funding to The Gathering Place, ensuring it can continue to serve members in meaningful ways. 

“It is a creative way for businesses to demonstrate a commitment to being socially responsible and directly help women who are experiencing poverty,” says Densmore.  “Our catalog features 100 unique images created by more than 20 talented artists who earn money to help them put their lives back together and get on solid ground financially and emotionally. “

Through Art Restart, The Gathering Place licenses artists’ designs, reproduces and sells them for commercial usage. The benefits of this effort accrue to helping women who are experiencing poverty to get back to a place of feeling self-worth and economic stability.

Launched in 2014, Art Restart’s strategy is to provide corporations and individuals with a valuable product to keep in touch with customers, friends and family while also supporting a social cause.  Each card is customizable and co-branded with company logos and personalized messages. Through the sale of high-end, large quantity reproductions of the art created by local women and transgender individuals, large companies, small businesses, politicians, entrepreneurs, foundations, and organizations are purchasing cards for all types of occasions.  Holidays, birthdays, wedding packages, thank you notes, and more can be customized and co-branded with The Gathering Place, communicating a combined business and socially responsible message directly with key audiences.

“It sends a powerful message to an organization’s audience about who they are,” says Densmore. “If we know anything about consumers and commercial customers today, it is this:  when given a choice between virtually equal service and product options, almost 90 percent will choose the one that links to a social mission,” she continued.

To learn more about the 2016 Art Restart collection, contact [email protected] or call 303-996-9034.

About The Gathering Place

The Gathering Place (TGP) created Art Restart as a social enterprise to provide its members with opportunities to earn money and to build earned revenues.  For 30 years, TGP has offered essential resources and personal growth programs to women, children, and transgender individuals during the day.

The post 2016 Art Restart Holiday Collection appeared first on North Denver Tribune.

North Denver Tribune

Rejoicing Denver Holiday in Good Taste

If you desire to celebrate your Denver holiday in style, an interior company that offers unique accessories and decorations for the occasion can be found within the city. You might find it hard to grasp what the company can really do just by reading words, so you are bid welcome to browse on their official website to have a glimpse of what they can offer. It would give you an idea of what truly talented company people can do compared to a mediocre company.

The company is called Expressions of the Home. You can depend on it to take all the works necessary in decorating your home for Christmas with its excellent design and craftsmanship. It can create that elegant differentness in your home with decorative items that will suit your style preference and set your celebration apart from the rest.

Garlands are among the decorations that can many times be seen on a Denver holiday. If you want such lavish arrangements in your home, you can have the company create one for you according to your specifications. Both short and long needle pines can be used, adorned with Christmas decorations of your selection that include pine cones, sprigs, berries, twigs, ribbons, and other decorations associated with Christmas. Most designs are incorporated with Christmas lights, but you can have one without it if you choose.

Wreaths are also common during the holiday. You can choose from a variety of themes offered by Expressions of the Home or you can have one customized for you. There are various wreath sizes available, ranging from 24 inches to 60 inches. Just like garlands, they can also be lit to make your chosen style stand out more.

One-of-a-kind Christmas boxes that have been handcrafted by a team of expert designers would likewise be perfect for your Denver holiday. They are exclusively made by Expressions of the Home and are also its best-selling Christmas decorations.

To locate the best decor Denver Holiday in Colorado.

More Denver Articles