Playbill: Three shows to see in Denver this weekend

Photo by Kira Horvath
The Central City Opera brings The Sound of Music to the Ellie in Denver.
In addition to Adam Stone's experimental work at Buntport, a cat circus and square product theatre's multidisciplinary work in Boulder (see below), this weekend yields a unique playwriting festival, a classic musical and a one-night ode to old-time radio. Check out these onstage diversions.

See also: Concrete Realities: SLAB

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Jeffrey Dante Campbell

Jeff Campbell in Who Killed Jigaboo Jones.

#65: Jeffrey Dante Campbell

A longtime fixture on the local hip-hop scene as the rapper Apostle and founder of the youth-friendly Colorado Hip-Hop Coalition, Jeff Campbell's been around the block -- and ventured away from it -- over the past two decades, before coming back with a bang: Last fall, the artist and social-justice activist surprised Denver audiences with his multi-character, one-man satire, Who Killed Jigaboo Jones, which makes a strong case for the death of the same hip-hop culture he once embraced. Where does Campbell -- whose intentions remain proactive regardless of his weariness with the commercialization and depoliticization of hip-hop -- go from here? Read on to find out.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Matt Barton

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Playbill: This week's Denver-area dance and drama picks

Gemma Wilcox takes a Magical Mystery Detour at Wesley Chapel in Boulder.
Summer is a mixed bag at metro-area stages, where the local companies entertain with audience-friendly fare, new play festivals and Shakespeare under the stars. And there's more, so what will you see this weekend? Here are a few ideas.

See also: Dance Fever: The Vail International Dance Festival

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Henry Awards have yet to come up with a winning system

Categories: Theater

Michael Ensminger
Cajardo Lindsey and Laurence Curry in The Whipping Man, a big winner for Curious.
The Colorado Theatre Guild's Henry Awards, which were presented last night, have been growing in stature, professionalism and efficiency in some ways for quite a while -- but this has come at a cost. The awards used to be judged by around a dozen professional theater critics, and because those critics -- myself included -- lived and worked in the Denver area, productions by guild members in other parts of the state tended to go unrecognized. So over the last three years, a huge effort was made to overcome this problem and judges were found outside the metro area. The result: a panel of 48 judges (again, I'm one of them -- and my Westword reviews are linked below), six of whom had to see and fill out a ballot for each eligible production. Winners were decided by the numbers on the ballots. Problem solved.

Except that with so many people voting, so few judges seeing most productions and the difficulties of defining criteria for necessary comparisons, the results (below) seem pretty random. and some are downright inexplicable.

See also: Actor Jim Hunt honored for Lifetime Achievement at the Henry Awards

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Benjamin Turk talks about didactic theater, state violence and the danger of "good cops"

Categories: Activism, Theater

Courtesy of Insurgent Theater
Benjamin Turk wrote and stars in Behind the Badge.
Anarchist playwright Benjamin Turk sees theater as more than entertainment. He believes plays can spark dialogue, transform community and attack systems of violence: capitalism, the police and prisons. Steeped in the work of Bertolt Brecht and Augusto Boal, who both resisted the idea that stories should help audiences connect with a main character and experience an overwhelming and resolved emotional turmoil (Aristotle called this "catharsis" and viewed it as the goal of a successful tragedy), Turk creates plays that challenge audiences to ask and answer pressing political questions, interrupting the dramatic flow for participatory conversations about police, gentrification, race and beyond. In advance of the July 18 performance of Behind the Badge, a play Turk has been touring across the United States, we spoke with him about his work, violence and the danger of "good cops."

See also: James Walsh on the Romero Troupe and Unbound, the doc premiering tomorrow

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Playbill: This week's Denver-area dance and drama picks

James O'Hagan-Murphy and Len Matheo are Felix and Oscar in Miners Alley's The Odd Couple.
From a special storytelling spectacular with The Narrators at Buntport to a summer new-play festival at Edge Theatre, this week's performing arts calendar has the proverbial something for everyone. Here are three more ways to stay busy with hot-weather diversions.

See also: On the Hot Seat: Who Will Sing For Lena?

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Playbill: This week's performing arts picks
Gruesome Playground Injuries, Dairy Center for the Arts.
From participatory performance art on a stage in a picture window to an improvised gag-fest about the pitfalls of speed dating, there are many ways to find relief from the summer heat, whether it's in a gallery environment or a dark theater. Here are a few of the coolest performing-arts options this week.

See also: The Right Note: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

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Playbill: This week's performing arts picks

Cora Vette's Restomod Blacklight Burlesque at Voodoo Comedy Playhouse.
As a break from this weekend's flag-waving and fireworks, wouldn't it be nice to cool off indoors in a darkened theater for an hour or two? Here are some options -- ambitious, naughty or light-hearted, depending on your mood -- to chill with over the holiday.

See also: Dead Man Walking, Central City Opera

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Playbill: Three ways to enjoy the performing arts in Denver this week

Photo by Lauren Harper
Daughter Cells Dance and artist Sabin Aell, Ubuntu, BMoCA.
Perhaps it's the pull of longer days and glorious nights that shuts down local stages in the summertime. But there are still places where you can catch a great musical or a dance performance when the heat of the day begins to subside. Here are our picks for this week.

See also: Artistes Nouveaux at the Aurora Fox

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The Colorado Theatre Guild announces this year's Henry Award nominations

Jennifer M Koskinen
Jim Ferris in Animal Crackers, Denver Center Theatre Company.
The finalists for this year's Henry Awards in theater have been announced. Given by the Colorado Theatre Guild, which covers the entire state, the Henrys are decided by dozens of judges, six of whom must attend every eligible production.

As always, the list of finalists comprises both expected choices and a few unexpected. The Denver Center Theatre Company, which has garnered surprisingly few nominations in the past, has a whopping 28 this year, nine of them for The Legend of Georgia McBride, several more for the hilarious Animal Crackers.

See also: The Tempest is both magical and mundane at the Shakespeare Festival

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