Eight Summer Productions Taking the Colorado Stage

Person on knee kissing the hand of another, people in back, one sitting in a chair
Photo Courtesy of Colorado Shakespeare Festival on Facebook

Beat the heat and cool off indoors or in theaters with eight summer productions taking the Colorado stage. Experience musical triumphs, family-friendly stand-outs, improvised delights and Shakespearian favorites.

Hit and Run: Musical Improv

People in a line, hands together, summer productions taking Colorado stage
Photo by Shelley Ollig

Where: 1260 22nd St, Denver

When: Fridays, 8 p.m.

The Lowdown: Fridays at RISE Comedy, laugh along with Denver’s longest-running improv comedy show, Hit and Run: Musical Improv. Founded in 2006 and originated in Los Angeles, CA, Hit and Run: Musical Improv made its Denver debut in 2009 when founder and director Steve Wilder moved to the Mile High for performance and production work. “We are in our 18th year of creating fully improvised musicals, and we just performed show number 603,” said Wilder. “Denver has always been a hotbed of improv, with a legacy of amazing theaters and teams. Now, with a wide variety of new and established improv theaters all over the city, HNR continues that legacy at our home theater, RISE Comedy.”

The show is a standout hit, creating thousands of songs off the spot and proving improv to be a masterpiece. With so many roles and developing dialogue and music from scratch, it’s a unique experience to watch each performer’s wheels turn and what happens. “Improv ” is a fantastic, unwieldy and unpredictable art form. Musical improv is even more so,” said Wilder. “Improvisers are simultaneously filling many roles on stage: performer, director, playwright, prop master, etc. When you add music into the mix, we are now also lyricists and musicians so it can get complicated!”

Wilder hopes the audiences take away is that “an improv show can be theatrical, polished, funny and impromptu, all simultaneously. Improvisation as an art form has significantly advanced over the past few decades, and we’ve worked hard to make HNR a show where the audience won’t just say, “That was a great improv show,” but also, “That was a great show period.”

Tickets for Hit and Run: Musical Improv starts at $14.

Colorado Shakespeare Festival

Person standing on table, fist in the air, other people surrounding and cheering, summer productions taking the Colorado stage
Photo courtesy of cupresents.org

Where: 277 University Ave, Boulder

When: June 30 – August 13, 2023

The Lowdown: “All the world’s a stage,” including Boulder’s Mary Rippon Outdoor Theater. For 65 years, the University of Colorado Boulder has celebrated William Shakespeare’s classics with its annual Colorado Shakespeare Festival, including productions like Much Ado About Nothing, The Winter’s Tale, The Comedy of Errors and King Lear. With professional stage production, exceptional actors and infamous writing, the festival is an incredible display and continuation of Shakespeare’s legacy. The festival also showcases Richard Bean’s 2011 comedy, One Man, Two Guvnors.

Tickets for the one-night showing of The Comedy of Errors have already sold out, but there is still time to join the waitlist. Showtimes, dates and prices vary for each play.


Women in purple, carriage graphic, words: "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella", summer productions taking the Colorado stage
Photo Courtesy of creederep.org

Where: 124 Main Street, Creede

When: June 30 – August 25, 2023

The Lowdown: Relive the magical tale we’ve grown to love with a Broadway twist. The 2013 adaptation of Cinderella, with Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II music and lyrics, comes to Creede Repertory Theater’s Mainstage Theater this summer. With more characters, a whimsical score and twists, this is a retelling like you’ve never seen before. Bring the whole family to witness the elegant and enchanting tale of Cinderella. On July 22nd and 28th and August 5th and 18th, live like royalty with an enchanted tea party before the show. Recommended for children 0-10, enjoy treats and beverages fit for a king.

This is one of eight summer productions taking the Colorado stage you will want to attend! Tickets start at $38. The Royal Tea Party is an additional $20 for children and $5 for accompanying adults.

Cirque du Soleil: Kooza

People on stage waving in costumes, summer productions taking the Colorado stage
Photo by Luke Schott

Where: Ball Arena, 1000 Chopper Cir, Denver

When: July 5 – August 13, 2023

The Lowdown: The Big Top has risen in Denver once again, which could only mean one thing— Cirque du Soleil returns to the Mile High with its out-of-the-box production, Kooza. The show packs jaw-dropping thrills, electrifying performances, vibrant costumes, comedic hijinks and brilliant musical solos into 100 minutes.

“Kooza means box in Sanskrit. The show’s director wanted to give the impression of a circus coming out of a box,” said senior publicist Julie Desmarais. The production consists of two acts involving a 62 ft high-wire, contortionists, clowns and a “wheel of death.” Kooza travels with 50 cast members. “Some performers have been training since age seven, and some work with family members,” said Desmarais.

Cirque du Soleil: Kooza is only here for a short time. Catch the hilarious and exciting, family-friendly production until August 13th. Tickets for Cirque du Soleil: Kooza range from $55-$295.

Something Rotten!

Cartoon people, one person on stage, words "Something Rotten!" on top
Photo courtesy of rockymountainrep.com

Where: 800 Grand Avenue, Grand Lake

When: July 13 – August 24, 2023

The Lowdown: If you’re looking for one of eight summer productions taking the Colorado stage with musical numbers and a plan to upstage Shakespeare, Broadway’s beloved hit, Something Rotten!, comes to Grand Lake. This summer, take a trip up north to Rocky Mountain Repertory Theater for a laugh-out-loud musical farce. With music and Lyrics by Karey Kirkpatrick and Wayne Kirkpatrick, the production—set in the 1590s—follows two brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom, and their plan to create the biggest show in theater history amidst the Renaissance. Nominated for 10 Tony awards in 2015, you cannot miss this event!

Tickets for the show range from $30-$60.

Reptile Logic: A Corporate Dismemberment

Animated people with reptile heads, green, yellow, "Reptile Logic"
Photo Courtesy of Michelle Ellis

Where: 10201 E. Colfax Ave. Aurora

When: July 28 – August 13, 2023

The Lowdown: One of the summer productions taking the Colorado stage this summer includes the national award-winning play Reptile Logic: A Corporate Dismemberment. Making its Denver debut at the Vintage Theater stage at Aurora Cultural Arts District, the tragic workplace comedy tells the story of a gruesome warehouse accident and a plant manager’s battle to stop unionization through any means.

“I feel like the people of Colorado will resonate with many of the themes and ideas from this play simply because Coloradans uniquely have the Midwest savvy and compassionate understanding to relate to the inhumane humanity of this story across multiple emotional levels,” said writer and producer Matt Wexler. “On a personal level, having this play premiere in Colorado is deeply meaningful to me as well, because it represents the completion of an almost 20-year creative odyssey that started right here in 2004. I conceived the inspiration and initial idea for this plot concept based on my time working overnights in a big box franchise store during my junior year as a student at the University of Colorado at Boulder.”

During college, the idea of Reptile Logic was just a thought sitting in the back of Wexler’s head. It wasn’t until the peak of the pandemic that Wexler let his thoughts shine through a written script. Two decades later, the whole production has come together. “Every aspect of this work as a whole (including the birth of the idea, the writing of the script, and the first production) will have taken place in the state of Colorado,” said Wexler.

The stage play has received numerous awards since, including Best Stage Play at the Los Angeles Script Awards.

Wexler hopes audiences are reminded that “humanity is a fragile entity that shouldn’t be taken for granted. No matter how civilized we claim to be, we can all still be animals, but that doesn’t mean we should be or should treat each other as such.”

See Wexler’s finished vision and the story he is proud to tell until August. Admission for Reptile Logic is $30.

Jagged Little Pill

People on stage, red lighting
Photo by Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade, 2022

Where: 1101 13th St, Denver

When: August 16 & 17, 2023

The Lowdown: Alanis Morissette fans, sing your hearts out this August with the Broadway show Jagged Little Pill. The show makes its Denver Performing Arts Center debut at the Buell Theater this summer. Based on the angsty and powerful lyrics of the iconic 90s album of the same name, the musical follows a “perfectly imperfect American family.” For 2 hours and 40 minutes, enter Morissette’s world of catharsis and fall in love with the soundtrack of 1995 Heartbreak.

Tickets for Jagged Little Pill vary from $35-$120.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

purple, stars, moon, silhouette of fairy, words: A Midsummer Night's Dream written by William Shakespeare
Photo courtesy of denvercenter.org

Where: 1101 13th St, Denver

When: August 17 – September 2, 2023

The Lowdown: If you’re looking for a Shakespeare production but not willing to road trip to Grand Lake, gracing the Denver Performing Arts Center is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. One of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies comes to life this summer at the Kilstrom Theater. Presented by the Phamaly Theater Company, enjoy the comical story of four young lovers, a fairy named Puck and one giant mistake. See for yourself what makes this tale a classic.

Tickets for this event start at $25.

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