Area entertainment options plentiful for 2013; “Avenue Q” at Aurora Fox among highlights

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AURORA | Making cultural plans for an entire year can be overwhelming for even the most avid arts lover.

Theater companies, dance troupes and museum boards across the state still have plenty of secrets in store for stages and galleries in 2013. There are still titles to be revealed, tours to be confirmed and exhibitions to be finalized.

The actors from “Avenue Q” are shown in this undated courtesy photo from the Vintage Theater. The Ignite company announced that the troupe will mount a production of the comedy at the Aurora Fox in the fall of 2013, a show set to feature the same cast and the same director from the 2010 Vintage run. (Courtesy photo)

Even so, the cultural landscape for the coming year is already rich, with a number of high profile plays, concerts and exhibits heading toward the metro area. Aurora claims a big share of the most exciting productions of 2013, from a revamped production of the puppet musical “Avenue Q” at the Aurora Fox in October to a series of classical concerts that will determine the future face of the Aurora Symphony Orchestra.

We’ve compiled some of the most promising local attractions for the coming year, as well as a good dose of cultural happenings from the larger metro area. There’s still plenty of surprises to come, but the devoted culture lovers can at least start making their “to-do” lists for 2013.

 

“Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam and the Land” 

Feb. 10 to April 28 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Parkway, Denver. Information: 720 865-5000 or denverartmuseum.org

Georgia O’Keeffe was born in Wisconsin and gained fame in New York art circles in the early 1900s, but she made her spiritual home in the American Southwest.

The touring exhibit “Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico” tracks the role that landscape played in the artist’s distinctive style. Through a collection of 53 different O’Keeffe works, the exhibition explores the relationship between land and artist. That theme comes in Keeffe’s paintings of landscapes and architecture from New Mexico, it comes in photographs of Hopi katsina tithu (better known as kachina dolls) and it comes renderings of other cultural and natural scenes from the Southwest.

Children’s/Pops Concert, Arts for a Better Tomorrow and Spring Masterworks performances by the Aurora Symphony Orchestra

Feb. 9 to 10; March 22 to 24; May 10 to 12, Gateway High School and Vista PEAK Campus in Aurora. Information: 303-873-6622 or aurorasymphony.org

There’s a lot riding on the remaining three concerts in the Aurora Symphony Orchestra’s thirty-fifth season. The 2012-13 season is the final phase of a lengthy audition for a new musical director, as five candidates will each have the chance to lead the orchestra for a single concert.

Jong-hun Bae and Geoffrey Pope have already had their turns at the podium, and the program in the first months of 2013 will spotlight the other three contenders. Arturo Gonzalez, Devin Hughes and Norman Gamboa will respectively lead the orchestra’s Children’s Pops, Arts for a Better Tomorrow and Spring Masterworks concerts over the next five months. With programs that include works by composers like Ennio Morrione, J.S. Bach and Gustave Mahler, classical music fans of all stripes are bound to hear a favorite.

“Light/The Holocaust and Humanity Project”

March 29 to 31, Newman Center at the University of Denver, 2344 East Iliff Ave. Information: 303-837-8888 or coloradoballet.org.

The Colorado Ballet will wrap up its season with a story about the durability of the human spirit. Instead of traditional, well-known fare, the Colorado Ballet will present “Light: The Holocaust and Humanity Project” as its season capper. The ballet in five movements tracks the struggles and pain of a holocaust survivor through the choreography of Stephen Mills. The piece includes music by contemporary composers Philip Glass and Arvo Part, and since its debut in 2005 has toured across the country.

“Hank Williams: Lost Highway”

April 4 to April 14, Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons St., Lone Tree. Information: 720-509-1000 or lonetreeartscenter.org.

Writers Randal Myler and Mark Harelik treat their subject with respect and awe in “Hank Williams: Lost Highway,” a musical that tracks the life and career of one of country music’s greatest innovators. From Williams’ early childhood in rural Alabama to his rapid rise after wowing crowds at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, the show treats the life of the country music star with loving detail. Like “Ring of Fire,” the Johnny Cash tribute show that hit the Denver Center last year, this production lets the music tell the big story.

And that story is bound to shine on the main stage of the Lone Tree Arts Center, one of the area’s newest performing arts venues. With more than a year of operation under their belt, the staff at Lone Tree is offering audiences a varied and diverse program.

“Peter and the Starcatcher”

Aug. 15 to Sept. 1, the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 1101 13th St., Denver. Information: 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org

There’s a reason that J.M. Barrie’s stories about a boy who refused to grow up have kept audiences entertained for more than 100 years. Something about the story of Peter Pan, his perpetual youth and the fantastical landscape of Never Neverland has intrigued generations of readers, theatergoers and film buffs. It’s a draw that’s also made “Peter and the Starcatcher” a Tony Award-winner and a favorite of Broadway audiences. The musical, which is set to kick off its national tour at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in August, takes its main cues from Barrie’s narrative. Based on the book by by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Rick Elice’s stage play works as a prequel to the well known Peter Pan story. The show follows Peter before he was Peter Pan; it tells the story of a boy’s transformation into a an even more stubborn boy who refuses to grow up. It’s a story that comes to life through a cast of dozens of characters, all given life by a cast of 12 actors.

“Avenue Q”

Oct. 4 to Nov. 3, the Aurora Fox theater, 9900 E. Colfax Ave. Information: 303-739-1970 or aurorafoxartscenter.org

In 2010, Keith Rabin Jr. took time off from his full-time duties as the executive artistic director of the Aurora-based Ignite Theatre company to star in the Vintage Theatre’s production of the puppet-based musical “Avenue Q,” the blockbuster Broadway show co-written by “Book of Mormon” scribe Robert Lopez. The Vintage production, directed by Bernie Cardell, earned across-the-board praise from critics and enjoyed a lengthy run at the old Vintage site in Denver.

The Ignite company wants to bring that same success to Aurora. Rabin has announced that the troupe will mount a production of the comedy at the Aurora Fox in the fall of 2013, a show set to feature the same cast and the same director from the 2010 Vintage run. The show is set to add buzz to an already ambitious season, one that includes productions of “Bare: The Musical” and “Cabaret.”

Reach reporter Adam Goldstein at [email protected] or 720-449-9707