The slow period at the end of the holidays for entertainment and retail is actually a pretty lively one for live theater. Maybe it because everyone’s a little too tired to dance the night away and too cold to spend any real time out of doors. Or perhaps it’s simply because the natural introspection that comes with facing a New Year leaves one emotionally raw enough to want to connect to the human spirit in such an intimate, yet pure form.
When Claudia Shear’s tome about two lonely New York City residents finding romance in each other’s unhealthy obsession with Mae West launched its run on Broadway, it was to unparalleled acclaim. “Dirty Blonde” garnered a slew of Tony nominations. West’s racy career and legendary tale provided a perfect backdrop for the unlikely story and provided plenty of creative fodder for Shear to work with. Lucky for us, The Open Stage theatre in Fort Collins is reprising the show. Weekends Jan. 5 through Feb. 2, Open Stage Theatre Company, Fort Collins. $15+. 970.221.6730.
“The Lion in Winter”
Playwright James Goldman’s comic period work “The Lion in Winter” garnered three Oscars upon its silver screen adaptation in 1968—Best Actress, Screenplay and Score as Peter O’ Toole and Katharine Hepburn took the reigns as King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. The historic dramatization narrates the power struggle between the king and his queen and their three sons who are each vying for the throne. Most agree the work best shines in the medium it was written for—the stage—and the Denver Victorian Playhouse is an excellent host. Rick Bernstien directs. Weekends Jan. 4-Feb. 9, Denver Victorian Playhouse, Denver. $20+. 303.433.4343.
“Brighton Beach Memoirs”
Arguably one of America’s greatest playwrights, Neil Simon may be best known for the autobiographical trilogy that details his life growing up as a lower-middle-class Jewish kid in New York. “Brighton Beach Memoirs” is the first chapter of the triptych; a moving and hilarious piece about adolescence, as told through the eyes of Eugene Jerome, stuck in a Brooklyn flat with his parents, and his aunt and her two daughters. Its timeless quality and deeply engaging humanity make the piece an ageless classic, and Longmont’s production is sure to delight. Weekends Jan. 18 through Feb. 2, Longmont Theater Company, Longmont. $15+. 303.772.5200.