Free Thanksgiving Dinner 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., Nov. 26, Cafe 180, 3315 S. Broadway, Englewood. Free. Call 303-761-4510 for more information.
Sometimes — often times — holiday meals can go very, very awry. Sugar gets confused for salt, Fahrenheit for celsius, and Fido can mistake the entire feast for his Kibbles ’n Bits. If any of those unfortunate transgressions transpire in your home, the kind folks at Englewood’s Cafe 180 have you covered. The pay-what-you-can restaurant is serving a free Thanksgiving feast for patrons, supporters and folks who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to dine like they can at the cafe. With food provided by Footers Catering, the dinner typically attracts more than 200 guests and is perfect for those who wind up unexpectedly stuck in town on Turkey Day, or those Betty Crockers who inadvertently scorch the bird. And be sure to donate if you can — the restaurant operates largely on patron donations, and this time of year is certainly not the time to wrinkle your nose at pulling out the pocket book.
Jacob Marley’s A Christmas Carol 7:30 p.m. Nov. 27 & 28, or 2:30 p.m. Nov. 29. The Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St. Call 303-856-7830 for more information.
Aurora’s Vintage Theatre is digging deep into the holiday repertoire this year with an alternate take on Chuckie D’s tiniest, Timmiest tale. Penned by Tom Mula, “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol,” is a bit of a fan faction-y dive into the famous story, analyzed not through the lens of one Ben Scrooge, but of his crusty business partner/partner in Grinchly crime, Jacob Marley. The show finds Marley in an endless, tormented hell, and focuses on his journey of redeeming his former partner, seeking repentance, climbing out of the crevasse to the moral mountain top, and all the trimmings that come with that brand of redemption story. Tickets are $24 in advance or $28 at the door.
Three one-act vignettes centered on stories of folks coming to the United States from Vietnam, Iran and China. Sure to be entertaining, enlightening and astronomically relevant, it’s a chance to support Aurora’s booming theater scene and catch three tales for the price of one.
The Story of the Nutcracker 1 p.m., Nov. 28, Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Ave., Golden. Call 303-935-3044 for more information. Tickets are $10.
If you prefer vanilla ice cream, Domino’s cheese pizza and syndicated television shows, congratulations: your favorite time of year is upon us. This weekend through the entirety of next month, the lingering classic “The Nutcracker” is being thrust onto stages around the country, with Marie and her wooden lad performing their predictable song and dance. Yawn. Instead of succumbing to the same ol’ shtick this holiday season, veer a few degrees off course with “The Story of the Nutcracker” at Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden. It’s really not that different from the timeless original, but in this version, things get a whole lot more meta when the nutcracker comes alive. So if you’re still all sorts of Tchaikovsky-ed out from last year, take the little ones to experience a slightly off-kilter version of the tale that has for years caused ballet slippers to shoot to the top of wish lists the world over.
Santa’s Big Red Sack 7:30 p.m. Nov. 27 & 28. Avenue Theater, 417 E. 17th Ave., Denver. Tickets start at $26.50. Information: Avenuetheater.com or 303-321-5925. The show runs through Dec. 20.
Now this is what we’re talking about. Billed as “the holiday show you shouldn’t take your kids to,” this raunchy series of sketches pokes fun of every painful holiday cliché – from White Elephant to the Whos of Whoville. Picture holiday-themed SNL. For the seventh consecutive year this production is storming into Denver and leaving no reindeer unrustled and no carol uncooked. Some may say that the show unnecessarily fills our moral stockings with coal, but those are definitely the same people who have seen “The Nutcracker” every year since the Johnson administration and frown at the thought of a “kegnog.”
The Lion King Performances take place throughout the week, except Mondays, at The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 1101 13th St., Denver. Call 303-893-4100 or visit denvercenter.org for more information.
You can never go wrong with a quick revisit to Simba, Rafiki and the gang. One of the longest-running Broadway shows of all time is coming back to Denver this year to wow with the typical awe of stilted performers and insanely coordinated gymnasts…who also happen to be fully decked out in make-up and animal costumes. Tickets start at $30.