Here’s WHAT’S HAPPENING this weekend: Your guide to 5 cool things to do


Aurora Symphony Orchestra presents “Arts for a Better Tomorrow, 3 p.m., Sunday, Gateway High School, 1300 S. Sable Blvd. Tickets start at $15. Information: 303-873-6622 or Details: The Aurora Symphony Orchestra will wrap up its 2013-14 season with a program featuring plenty of recognizable classics. Led by conductor Norman Gamboa, the orchestra will perform Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5” and Edvard Grieg’s “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra.” Though the orchestra’s annual youth competition was canceled this year, the spring show will feature a guest performance by Costa Rican piano virtuoso Manuel Matarrita. Gamboa will also use the show as a platform to detail selections from the 2014-15 season, which includes work by Andrew Lloyd Weber, Claude Debussy and Richard Wagner.

“Once,” Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Buell Theatre, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 950 13th St. Tickets start at $35. Information: 303-893-4100 or Details: Playwright imagesEnda Walsh didn’t stray far from the source material in adapting the 2006 film “once” for the stage. Like the movie, the musical features a simple love story between an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant. What’s more, Walsh incorporated the score by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová that made the movie so memorable. The result is a show that picked up 11 Tony Award nominations after its initial run on Broadway in 2012. Walsh’s respect for the straightforward story and award-winning tunes like “Falling Slowly” made “once” a commercial powerhouse on Broadway. Denver audiences will get a chance to see that magic firsthand during a brief run at the Buell.

“Shirley Valentine,” 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St. Tickets start at $20. Information: Details: Rocky Mountain Deaf Theatre company founder Nicki Runge is flexing her creative muscle with the upcoming production of “Shirley Valentine.” The show about a Liverpool woman dissatisfied with her domestic life tests Runge’s skill as a performer in a new way. It’s a one-woman show, and the entire show depends on the success of the actress’ skills with a crowd. Throw in the fact that the show will be performed entirely in American Sign Language with an interpreter for hearing audience members, and the performance seems even more daunting. But Runge is up to the challenge, as she’s proven in past performances. Check out this landmark performance from one of the metro area’s most promising companies.

Julie Monley Quartet, 9:30 a.m., Sunday, Dazzle Restaurant and  Lounge, 930 Lincoln St., Denver. Tickets start at $18.95. Information: 303-839-5100 or Details: The annual Mother’s Day brunch at Aurora’s historic Centennial House is nixed for 2014, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show your mom a good time in the metro area. What better way to do that than through jazz? The Julie Monley Quartet’s brunch gig at Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge is the most promising Mother’s Day event in the city, and that has everything to do with Monley’s résumé. The Denver native switched to jazz after studying classical music in college, and her theoretical expertise comes through in her blend of American jazz, bossa nova and the Gypsy French style that made musicians like Django Reinhardt legends.

‘Fantasia’ with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, 2:30 and 6 p.m., Saturday, Boettcher Concert Hall, 1000 14th St.. Information: 720-865-4220 or Details: Walt Disney’s classic that inspired millions of children to listen to classical music transcends time. The 1945 film, remade in 2000, still has relevance today; the first few notes of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is sure to bring a smile to nearly anyone’s face. The Colorado Symphony Orchestra will be playing the classic score along with the film, which will be shown on the big screen. All the familiar favorites are there including Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony” and “The Nutcracker Suite” — yes, even “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” too. Two shows, one at 2:30 p.m. so children can watch, and a 6 p.m. show will be held at Boettcher Concert Hall.