There are some 20th century plays that are simply synonymous with the theater. And right at the top of that list is Thornton Wilder’s immortal story of small-town life and love, “Our Town.”
When a show has such a strong reputation, it can be easy to think of it as rigid and traditional, with no production having anything worthwhile to add. But as any regular of the Arvada Center can attest, the company never does a production without giving it a unique spin.
“Our production, to me, feels like the product of pure artistic collaboration,” wrote Archer Rosenkrantz, who plays Joe Crowell and Wally Webb at the Center, in an email interview. “I feel lucky to work under leadership that values everyone’s voices in the room, and I think that our production is a reflection of that.”
As part of the 2023 Black Box Repertory Theater season, “Our Town” runs at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., through Saturday, May 20. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 1 p.m. on Wednesday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
The play, directed by Geoffrey Kent, is set in the fictional town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire from 1901 to 1913, and follows the lives of some of the residents as they grapple with major life events and attempt to get a handle on the fleeting nature of existence.
“Geoff’s vision for the show was that it isn’t just a show you see, you as the audience feel like a part of the story, and a part of the process, almost like being let in on a secret,” wrote Claylish Coldiron, who plays Emily Webb, in an email interview. “We perform in the round in a very intimate theatre, which we have utilized every corner of, so that when the show starts, the audience is being invited to join the world we create for the next two hours.”
One of the decisions that adds a more personal touch to the experience is to allow Rosenkrantz to portray Wally as autistic.
“As an autistic actor, I’m ecstatic that my director was on board with allowing Wally to be autistic as well for this production. Wally has special interests like most autistic kids, and he thrives when he’s able to engage with them,” they wrote. “Even though Emily and Wally don’t always see eye to eye, Wally loves Emily deeply. He looks up to her, and sometimes envies her ability to succeed in school where he often struggles.”
One of the many things that makes “Our Town” so timeless is how applicable it is to every person, whether on stage or in the audience.
“This script… brought to light how beautiful and spectacular life really is, and how precious, not in a way that is fragile but in a way that made us all want to hold it a little tighter and do a little more with whatever time and space we have,” Coldiron wrote.
Visit https://arvadacenter.org/events/our-town for information and tickets.
Take a ride on the ‘Carousel’ at Lakewood Cultural Center
The Lakewood Cultural Center and Performance Now Theatre Company are teaming up to co-present the classic musical “Carousel,” which runs from Friday, March 17 through Sunday, April 2 at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway. Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
A traditional favorite from the legendary duo of Rodgers and Hammerstein, the show features standards like “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Find detail and tickets at Lakewood.org/LCCPresents.
Wheat Ridge Theatre invokes ‘The Irish Curse’
Sometimes the best way to tackle touchy subjects is to do so with a funny and irreverent approach. That’s the method author Martin Casella uses in his black comedy, “The Irish Curse,” which is currently running at Wheat Ridge Theatre Company, 5455 W. 38th. Ave., Unit J. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, through Sunday, March 26.
Directed by Selena A. Naumoff, the show is “about a self-help group for men with a particular physical `shortcoming,’” according to provided information and dives into thorny questions of identity, masculinity, sex and the challenges men deal with on the daily.
Get tickets for the show at https://wheatridgetheatrecompany.ticketspice.com/the-irish-curse.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — MIKE at Lost Lake Lounge
If you’ve been paying attention to underground rap for the last couple years, you’ve probably come across the Google-proof musician MIKE. He specializes in the kind of insular, atmospheric rap that is made for headphones and evenings spent laying on your floor. He’s released numerous critically acclaimed albums and his latest, “Beware of the Monkey,” ranks as one of his best.
In support of the album, MIKE will be stopping at the Lost Lake Lounge, 3602 E. Colfax in Denver, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22. Lost Lake is the perfect venue for a rising star MIKE and openers 454 and Anysia Kym. Details and tickets can be found at https://lost-lake.com/.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.