Ujima Night Kwanzaa celebration 6:30 p.m., Dec. 28, Afrikmall 10180 E. Colfax Ave. Free. Call 303-479-4729 for more information.
It’s happening — it’s finally happening. After more than six months of delays, Aurora’s Afrikmall, a retail and gastronomic hub of African culture, is finally open and hosting community events. The mall is set to host a celebration for the third night of Kwanzaa on Dec. 28. Though details are vague, the event is free and open to the public. If for no other reason, take the chance to check out one of East Colfax’s newest cultural tenants.
We’ve heard the clanking of the chains and lock boxes. We’ve bahed. We’ve humbugged. And we sure as Fezziwig have been blessed. Every. Single. One. Theatergoers have more than paid their debts to Chuckie D’s trio of specters and diminutive, alliteratively-named yung’un. It’s been time for a new face to take up the majority of holiday playbill covers for, well, what feels like ever. Who’d-a-thunk the answer would come in the form of a guy birthed from the very same pen as the undying miser himself? Apparently, and thankfully, Tom Mula and the production team at Aurora’s Vintage Theatre. Penned by Mula in the late ’90s, “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol” is a behind-the-scenes look at just how Scrooge’s associate was able to orchestrate the soul-swapping transformation of the infamous penny-pincher. Replete with plenty of snappy confab and some topsy-turvy narration that flips between third-person musings and straight dialogue, the show is a cute, endearing pivot on Dickens’ holiday piece de resistance with tongue often, but not always, firmly planted in cheek. “Marley” provides a welcomed, yet subtle change in narrative trajectory, and whenever there’s the prospect of a new, off-center spin on a grizzled, 172-year-old story, we’ll take what we can get.
The United States was on its way to becoming one helluva place in 1868. Ulysses S. Grant beat out Horatio Seymour to become the country’s 18th president. Wyoming became a territory. Civil rights legend W.E.B. Du Bois was born. And Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” was published for the first time. Despite the fascination that everyone shares regarding the first few entries in that aforementioned historical list, the latter is where attention should be focused. Directed by Bev Newcomb, “Little Women” is The Fox’s holiday show this year. Propped up by Music Director Martha Yordy’s spritely orchestral quartet, the show is a solid nod to “Sound of Music,” wrapped in the antiquated perplexities of “Little House on the Prairie,” and basted with a thin coat of Rosie the Riveter’s brass. Led by Angela Mendez as head sister and resident spitfire, the Fox’s cast does a fine job of breathing some life into a dusty, albeit beloved tale.
There’s no such thing as a Star Wars overdose. The empire, the rebellion and all of the factions in between are just too rich with characters, subplots and too-cool gizmos for anyone to ever get supersaturated. And if anyone does claim that he or she has had too much of Han, Chewie and the gang, they’re simply a scruffy-looking nerf herder. Duh. Honoring the series’ invincibility to overkill, take the chance to add to the Star Wars onslaught this month with Charlie Ross’ annual one-man performance of the entire original trilogy. It’s a riotous, spot-on summary of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s films that acts as a perfect, live-action refresher before catching “The Force Awakens” for the dozenth time this week.
“A Night in Vienna” 6:30 p.m. Dec. 31 at Boettcher Concert Hall, 1000 14th St., Denver. Tickets range from $34 to $94
It’s never too early to start planning activities for Dec. 31. Plans fall through, black clothing gets stained and, often, partygoers can be left scrambling to decide where and with whom to consume a few plastic flutes of $8 bubbly. Fear not, loyal drinkers, the Colorado Symphony has your back. Check out the group’s annual presentation of a Viennese-style concert, featuring polkas, waltzes and marches by the likes of Strauss, Copland, Suppé and Sibelius, conducted by Christopher Dragon and guest conductor Michael Gundzik. Organizers promise that the program will be done with ample time for attendees to stride back out into the night and catch the fireworks from the 16th Street Mall.