Click Here for More Articles on SUMMER STAGES

Summer Stages: BWW's Top Summer Theatre Picks - Denver!


Denver is chock full of outdoor activities and events this summer and we area also brimming with fabulous shows! Here are five shows that should not be missed this summer...

1. Colorado Shakespeare Festival in Boulder, CO

"Twelfth Night" - Saturday, June 9-Aug. 4 (preview June 8). A classic case of mistaken identity washes up on the shores of Illyria — known today as Albania — spawning comic antics and utter abandon. Having survived a shipwreck, Viola dresses as a boy to become the page of Duke Orsino. Though smitten by her new master, she must obey when he sends her to woo the Countess Olivia on his behalf. Meanwhile, tricked into believing she shares his love, Olivia’s stuffy steward Malvolio hysterically humiliates himself to please her. This year’s production features a rich late 18th-century European design and setting.

"Richard III" - Saturday, June 23-Aug. 2 (preview June 22). When Shakespeare’s most Machiavellian monarch, Richard III, confesses his own murderous machinations in a quest to gain the English throne and implicates you as a co-conspirator, you’ll be mesmerized — even as you recoil from his brutally amoral schemes. This vivid, suspenseful period production, directed by the legendary Tina Packer, founder of Shakespeare & Company, is a meditation on power politics — and its dangers — that raises unsettling questions about our own world.

"Noises Off" - Friday, June 29-Aug. 5 (preview June 28). Send a fourth-rate Acting Company on tour to perform an atrocious bedroom “comedy” — featuring gratuitous lingerie, uncooperative props, and a painful lack of talent — and what do you get? In the case of Michael Frayn’s classic play-within-a-play comedy, Noises Off, more laughter than you can shake a sardine at. As the company stumbles and fumbles through three progressively chaotic performances of “Nothing On,” you’ll see The Players reveal themselves in all their bumbling, slapstick glory from onstage and backstage, as both ridiculous characters and inept performers.

"Treasure Island" - Saturday, July 14-Aug. 9 (preview July 13). Cap’n Jack Sparrow has nothing on Long John Silver, the roguish, irresistible hero-villain in the original pirate adventure, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Ken Ludwig’s high-flying 2007 adaptation follows young Jim Hawkins as he takes to the high seas in search of treasure and contends with a band of buccaneers including the brutal Billy Bones, sinister Blind Pew, and brash Anne Bonny. Through swordplay, treachery and musket smoke on a far-flung isle, Jim finds himself becoming a man — and you may find your yearning for adventure kindled.

"Women of Will" - Thursday, July 5-Aug. 12 (no preview). Join Tina Packer and her acting partner Nigel Gore as they explore the creative evolution of William Shakespeare’s consciousness through his depiction of women. Deeply inhabiting and interpreting characters from the Bard’s rich cast of female alter egos, from poisonous Lady Macbeth to winsome Juliet, Packer takes us on a journey from the narrow confines of the shrew to an expansive new world of hope and strength for women. Performed in its entirety for the first time outside of Massachusetts, each play in this epic, five-part cycle stands on its own, and the plays can be seen in any order.

For tickets or more information, contact the Colorado Shakespeare Festival at 303-492-0554 or online at

2. Legally Blonde

The Arvada Center will open its summer musical Legally Blonde directed by Gavin Mayer on June 12 running through July 1, 2012 in the Main Stage Theater. Legally Blonde is written by CU Boulder graduate, Heather Hach, with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin. Performances are Tuesday – Saturday at 7:30 pm, Wednesday at 1pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm. Preview performances are June 8 - 10. The Arvada Center created a partnership with Foothills Animal Shelter to “cast” the two dogs required for the show. The dogs, a Chihuahua (Bruiser) and a French Bulldog (Rufus) are both rescue dogs from the shelter. Patrons attending Legally Blonde will be able to receive $25 off an approved pet adoption or 6 week dog training by presenting their ticket stub at the shelter. For class information and details go Perfectly pink and infused with fun, fashion and frivolity, this delightful musical comedy based on the hit movie “Legally Blonde,” follows the academic adventures of Elle Woods, a blonde sorority darling, who turns “stereo types” upside down, as she heads to Harvard Law School to win back her boyfriend, a big case, and our hearts. Don’t miss this Broadway hit produced right here in Colorado by the Arvada Center’s award winning creative team. In addition to director Gavin Mayer, the creative team includes David Nehls (musical director), Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck (choreographer), Brian Mallgrave (scene design), Tonya Moake Neely (light design) and Steve Stevens (sound design). The Arvada Center welcomes back costume designer Mondo Guerra recent winner of Project Runway All Stars. Mondo designed costumes for the Arvada Center’s hit musical Hairspray last summer. For tickets or more information, contact the Arvada Center at 720-898-7200 or online at

3 & 4. Denver Center Attractions - Addams Family Musical/Jersey Boys

The weird and wonderful family comes to devilishly delightful life in The Addams Family. This magnificently macabre new musical comedy is created by Jersey Boys authors Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, Drama Desk-winning composer/lyricist Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party), choreographer Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys) and Olivier Award-winning director/designers Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch (Shockheaded Peter) with creative consultation by four-time Tony Award®winner Jerry Zaks. This is definitely not the same old song and dance. It’s every parent’s nightmare. Your little girl has suddenly become a young woman, and what’s worse, has fallen deliriously in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family. Yes, Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has a “normal” boyfriend, and for parents Gomez and Morticia, this shocking development will turn the Addams house downside up. It’s a family portrait that’s completely off the wall. The Adams Family plays at the Buell Theater June 19th through July 9th.

Nearly 90,000 theatergoers cheered when Jersey Boys made its sell-out premiere in Denver in 2008. The Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning hit musical Jersey Boys: the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, is “working its way back” to the Buell Theatre July 17-August 11. Jersey Boys is the winner of the 2006 Best Musical Tony Award®, the 2006 Grammy Award® for Best Musical Show Album, the 2009 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, and the 2010 Helpmann Award for Best Musical (Australia). Jersey Boys – worldwide – has been seen by approximately 14 million people (as of January, 2012). Jersey Boys is the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. This is the story of how a group of blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks became one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide – all before they were thirty.

For tickets or more information, contact the Denver Center box office at or by calling 303.893.4100. 

5. Cinderella

Several generations have fallen under the spell of Rodgers & Hammerstein's enchanting musical Cinderella. Filled with timeless characters, irresistible romance and the unforgettable songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Boulder's Dinner Theatre's (BDT) summer production of Cinderella, playing May 19 through September 1, 2012, is sure to leave audiences happily ever after. Originally presented on television in 1957 starring Julie Andrews, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella was, at the time, the most widely viewed program in television's history. Its recreation in 1965 starring Lesley Ann Warren was no less successful in transporting a new generation to the miraculous kingdom of dreams-come-true, and so was a second remake in 1997, which starred Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as her Fairy Godmother. As adapted for the stage, with great warmth and more than a touch of hilarity, it's no surprise that the hearts of children and adults alike still soar when the slipper fits. For tickets or more information, contact the box office at 303-449-6000 or online at

Related Articles

From This Author Michael Mulhern

Before you go...