So much of the holidays are about comfort and familiarity, which is one of the many reasons why people love hearing the same stories every year. But just because you might know the story doesn’t mean there are no new ways to have fun with it.
“For a lot of families going to see live productions is part of their holiday tradition,” said actor Josh Houghton. “It might be the one time a year when people go to theater as a family activity.”
For this holiday season, the Arvada Center is bringing the beloved Will Ferrell film “Elf” to life on the stage. The show runs at the Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., through Thursday, Dec. 23. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1 p.m. on Wednesday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Audience members must provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative COVID-19 test result to attend an indoor, seated performance.
The show follows the adventures of Buddy the Elf (Houghton), who was raised in the North Pole working for Santa in his toy factory. But when Buddy learns that he’s actually a human, he makes a journey “through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops” and to New York City to meet his birth father.
“It all feels super magical — it’s just the magic of classic theater. The whole set looks like a Christmas book come to life,” said Houghton. “When Buddy first arrives in New York, everything is dark grays and black and white, but over the course of the show his Christmas spirit rubs off on everyone and as a result, the show’s colors get brighter.”
The Center produced “Elf” in 2018 and Houghton played Buddy in that production as well. Additionally, Colin Alexander reprises his role as Santa and Sharon Kay White returns as Deb. New cast members include Keyonna Knight as Jovie and Rendell DeBose as the Macy’s Manager.
Not only is the fact that the holidays are back a reason to celebrate, but for some performers like Houghton, it’ll be their return to performing in-person theater.
“There aren’t very many 24-person musicals happening right now, so we’re incredibly lucky,” he said. “It’s a perfect screen-to-stage adaptation. It’s a family show that you should definitely bring the kids to. It has humor the kids love and humor for the adults.”
For tickets and information, visit https://arvadacenter.org/events/elf-the-musical.
Shop local arts at Foothills Art Center
It’s always been a good idea to shop local during the holiday season, but the COVID-19 pandemic reminded everyone of its importance. Artists in particular need as much support as possible, which means it’s a great time to do your holiday shopping at the Foothills Art Center’s 46th annual Holiday Art Market.
Running through Wednesday, Dec. 29 at the Art Center, 809 15th St. in Golden, the market features more than 100 Colorado artists selling more than 3,000 unique items. Free ticket reservations are recommended but not required, reserve your free event ticket at https://foothillsartcenter.org/hart.
Celebrate the future with ‘Ada and the Engine’
Just in time for the holidays, the Firehouse Theater Company is staging a play they were about to open right before the pandemic shut everything down - “Ada and the Engine.” The play runs at the John Hand Theater on the CFU Lowry Campus, 7653 E. 1st Place in Denver, through Saturday, Dec. 18. Performances on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
The show takes place at the beginning of the British Industrial Revolution and follows Ada Byron Lovelace (daughter of Lord Byron) as she works with Charles Babbage (inventor of the first mechanical computer) on the potential of analytic engines. A story of love, friendship and looking to the future, it’s a great alternative to more familiar holiday theater. Get tickets at www.firehousetheatercompany.com/.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Polo G at the Mission Ballroom
Chicago’s Polo G is one of the brightest stars in a new galaxy of rap voices that has been developing over the last few years. While he is undoubtedly influenced by some of Chicago’s drill legends like Chief Keef, he’s worked in more melody, at times coming across as a kind of blues singer. His debut album “Die A Legend,” was immediately attention-grabbing and this year’s “Hall of Fame” continues to showcase his canny gift with a pen and a beat.
He’ll be stopping by the Mission Ballroom, 4242 Wynkoop St. in Denver, at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 30. Get tickets at www.axs.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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