There aren’t many actors in Colorado who can say they’ve played not one but two of the most iconic horror icons of all time on stage. In 2018, Derek Helsing took on the challenging role of Ash Williams in Equinox Theatre’s production of Evil Dead: The Musical. It was met with rave reviews and packed houses. Now, Helsing gets a chance at the second most iconic horror icon of his career – the one and only Demon Barber of Fleet Street, better known as Sweeney Todd.
Yellow Scene Magazine: What is it like stepping into the shoes of one of the most famous musical theatre roles of all time?
Derek Helsing: It’s a privilege. Sweeney is someone I’ve always wanted to play, but now I realize he’s also the most difficult. So, I’m trying to contain my excitement for opening night.
YS: What is it about Sweeney Todd you think people love so much?
DH: The music is brilliant, but the story has stood the test of time for a reason. The dramatic circumstances and the horrors that follow leave people wanting more. It begs the question, what would we do if we were in Sweeney’s shoes?
YS: What are you most excited about for this production?
DH: I’m excited to see the reaction to our take on the story.
YS: Ash or Sweeney? Who would win? Why?
DH: Ash is badass but he’s not always the brightest bulb in the box. My money is on Sweeney.
YS: What has surprised you most so far in the rehearsal process?
DH: The talent of everyone in this cast
YS: Why should people come to see this show?
DH: For me the best art makes you think and feel. I believe this production will do just that.
Equinox Theatre’s production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, runs throughout the Halloween season from Sept. 27–Oct. 26 at The Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street in Denver.
Tickets sell fast at this theatre, so book online in advance for $25 at www.EquinoxTheatreDenver.com – tickets are $30 at the door.
The Champions at Nissi’s
In case you hadn’t heard, the tribute and cover band scene in Colorado has exploded over the last 5 years — to the point that there aren’t many professional musicians who don’t have a side project or three covering someone else’s music. Do what you gotta do to make a living, right? And there’s something to be said for a band that hits all the high notes live —with the energy you want to really rock out to — on music you already know. In lots of cases, that includes bands priced out of your reach or who aren’t even touring anymore. The Champions fills the niche expertly, thanks to the screaming vocal power and riveting stage presence of frontwoman Amber Hutchings and the top-notch talent of the rest of the group backing her up. Whatever your arena rock needs are, they’ll fill them, and you’ll have plenty left over for dinner and drinks.
At Nissis, 2675 Northpark Drive in Longmont. Tickets are $12+, www.nissis.com
Crested Butte Film Festival
An annual event over the last weekend in September, the Crested Butte Film Festival has grown exponentially since its humble beginnings only eight years ago. Since the inaugural crowd of 1,500, the independently owned event welcomes tens of thousands to one of the most beautiful settings in the United States when it’s at its most beautiful — the changing of the Aspens in fall. This year’s schedule boasts 100 films including the Sundance Film Festival’s Best Director and Jury Selection award-winning film The Last Black Man In San Francisco, which already boasts a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Tickets are $15 for individual films; passes for the whole 4-day event (Sept. 26–29) start at $250. Head to cbfilmfest.org for more information.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse
Candlelight Dinner Playhouse is taking its own swing at a truly iconic literary character on stage, presenting Victor Hugo’s classic novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame based on the Disney film – including all the music you adore by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. You’ll enjoy the live version of this story of the deformed bell-ringer Quasimodo and his love for the gypsy Esmerelda. Hunchback runs through Nov. 17 at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.
Tickets range from $30 to $63 and include a delicious meal served to your table. 4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, www.ColoradoCandlelight.com for more information.
Carrie: The Musical at Longmont Theatre
Just in time for Halloween, Longmont Theatre presents Carrie the Musical based on the novel by Stephen King. This dark and intense musical tells the story of Carrie White – a misfit at school and an outcast who is constantly bullied by the popular kids. At home, she is at the mercy of her cruelly over-protective mother. However, Carrie just discovered that she has a special power, and if she is pushed too far, she will use it. The original Broadway production is a notorious failure – but the show has found new and invigorated life in smaller theaters around the country whose intimate spaces work beautifully for this powerhouse musical.
Catch it from Oct. 18–26 at 513 Main Street in Longmont. Tickets range from $18 to $25 at www.longmonttheatre.org.
Colorado’s been called home by a number of world-famous comedians over the years — ranging from Roseanne Barr to Tim Allen to T.J. Miller. But you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone more committed to this comedy scene — and the city of Denver itself — than the guy who just might also be the most talented of the bunch: Adam Cayton-Holland. For proof, you need look no further than his High Plains Comedy Festival, now heading into its sixth year of residency in the Baker neighborhood of Denver on South Broadway, Sept. 26–28. This year’s slate of more than 100 performers includes plenty of up-and-comers as well as names you’d recognize, like headliner Maria Bamford, Natasha Leggero, Moshe Kasher, Kyle Kinane and of course, Cayton-Holland himself.
For performance schedules, locations and individual show tickets (full passes are sold out), head to highplainscomedyfestival.com.
Mamma Mia! At BDT Stage
If you’re looking for something not spooky or dark, there are also plenty of other great options for your theatre-going dollar. Check out BDT Stage’s production of the popular musical Mamma Mia! Featuring the music of ABBA. It’s the story of Sophie, a young woman who is about to get married, except that she’s never met her father and wants him to be present for her big day. So she does what anyone would do – she invites the three men she believes to possibly be her father all to visit at the same time. As the big day nears, emotions run high, chaos ensues – and plenty of dance numbers erupt.
Catch Mamma Mia! on stage from Oct. 5–Feb. 22, 2020 at 5501 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder. Tickets are $45+ online at www.BDTStage.com.