Finding the right way to spend a night out during the holiday season is a tale as old as time. While there is no shortage of overtly holiday-themed activities to select from, maybe you’re in the market for something that carries a similar message without all the elves and flying reindeer. The Arvada Center has you covered.
This year the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., is celebrating the season with Disney’s immortal romance, “Beauty and the Beast,” which runs through Saturday, Dec. 31. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1 p.m. on Wednesday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
On the off chance you don’t know the story, it’s about a prince (Michael Cárrasco) who is transformed into the titular beast and can only change back into his human form through true love. When Belle (Zina Ellis) arrives at the beast’s castle, she is befriended by a candlestick named Lumiere (Barret Harper) and a bunch of other household items, and she learns just who the mysterious beast really is.
“I have always admired Belle and felt a connection to her as a strong and intelligent character with a big heart,” Ellis said. “I hope to find the human, truthful moments in every part of her journey, from not fitting into her hometown and her relationship with her father to experiencing magic in the castle and finally connecting with the Beast/Prince.”
Bringing a production of this scale to the stage is no easy feat, but as always, the Arvada Center excels on all fronts. And performers were involved in the creative process, especially when it affects their characters.
“My favorite part of the process has been the collaboration in the character development, storytelling and design for Lumiere,” Harper said.” I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with artisans from the costume shop, props, electrics, and sound to fully conceptualize and build from scratch what Lumiere looks and sounds like. It’s been terribly fun to play with these ideas and I think we have collectively built something really interesting for audiences to see and tell a story that they both expect and love.”
That feeling of camaraderie and creative kinship spilled into every area of the production, which fits perfectly with the message of the holiday season.
“As our community at the Arvada Center started to create this show, that sentiment was felt every day,” said director Kenny Moten. “It takes a village to create theater and every artist that contributed to this production went above and beyond by offering their time, talent, and treasure to the process.”
Find more information and tickets at www.arvadacenter.org.
A contemporary take on a classic Christmas story
You can’t have the holiday season without “The Nutcracker,” and for years Ballet Ariel has been taking the timeless story and adding its own take to it. With their production of “The Nutcracker 2022,” the company has done it again.
Ballet Ariel will be performing the show at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway in Lakewood, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10 and 17, Sunday, Dec. 11 and Dec. 18, Thursday, Dec. 22 and Friday, Dec. 23, and 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16 and Saturday, Dec. 17.
Featuring Tchaikovsky’s timeless music, the show features current company dancers Marcelina Gaudini, Maya Vought and Yoshiko Brunson, former company dancers and more.
Get information and tickets at www.balletariel.org/nutcracker.
The uniting process of Fractional Confluence
The act of creation so often requires bringing together a variety of elements to produce a cohesive whole. That process goes under the microscope in “Fractional Confluence,” the latest exhibit at Walker Fine Art, 300 W. 11th Ave., No. A in Denver.
Artists participating in the show are Tonia Bonnell, Doug Haeussner, Rob Mellor, Christopher Nelson, Angie Piehl and Chris Warren. According to provided information, the artists use components of collage, mark-making, painting and sculpture. The end result is as complex as the creator themselves and invites serious contemplation.
For information on the show, visit www.walkerfineart.com.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Not So Silent Night at Mission Ballroom
We quite simply don’t have many bands like England’s The 1975 and that’s a drag because they are just a lot of fun. They’re ambitious, pretentious, winking and achingly sincere, oftentimes in the span of one sparkling, synth-driven song. They were my band of the 2010s and I’d love it if they made it two decades in a row. The group is off to a solid start with “Being Funny in a Foreign Language,” their most compact, introspective release yet.
As part of Channel 93.3’s annual Not So Silent Night concert, The 1975 will be joined by Lovelytheband and Neon The Bishop at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the Mission Ballroom, 4242 Wynkoop St. in Denver. This will be a really fun show to get you in the holiday spirit and with the promise of being “at their very best,” I can’t wait to see what Matty Healy and company have in store.
Get tickets at www.axs.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.