Unexpected duos are one of the keystones of storytelling — it goes back nearly as far as human history. And yet, somehow, we’re still finding ways to give powerful new spins on the trope.
Enter “Kinky Boots,” featuring a book by Harvey Fierstein and music and lyrics by legendary pop star Cyndi Lauper, which gives audiences the story of two people brought together out of the desire to make something new and better.
Now that story is closing out the Arvada Center’s 2021-2022 season.
“The show is based on a true story with a lot of comedy as well as some drama,” said Tim Howard, one of the two leads in the production. “It’s about who you are, accepting who others are and the journey you have to take to find those truths.”
Directed by Rod A. Lansberry, “Kinky Boots” runs at the center’s Main Stage Theatre, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., through Sunday, April 24. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1 p.m. Wednesday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The show tells the story of Charlie Price (Howard), a factory owner striving to keep his family shoe business afloat by finding a way to change up the product. Then he meets drag queen Lola (David Kaverman) — and the fabulous Angels — and discovers another approach to the business.
The cast includes Abigail Kochevar, Mairys Joaquin, Saël Charles and Heather Lacy.
“When I first heard about it, I just wanted to be a part of the show and I got my dream role,” Howard said. “The cast is one of the best I’ve worked with. There’s no negativity — everyone is just really happy to be there and have the energy of performing again.”
Like so many actors who had to practice their craft via livestreams or recordings, Howard said the power of performing for an audience has never been more evident. Getting the energy from the cheering - and dancing - crowd adds an extra level of meaning to every time they step on the stage, especially with a show as uplifting as this one.
“It feels good to say it’s okay to not know who you are right now — someone will accept you for who you are,” he said. “I think audiences will come away with a new perspective on life. If you had a rough day, that will all be in the past, which is how theater should be.”
Information and tickets can be found at https://arvadacenter.org/events/kinkyboots.
Dance into spring with Ballet Ariel
Sample springtime in the city of light, get to know an “unsinkable” legend and explore the classical world with Ballet Ariel’s production of “American in Paris.” The show runs at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 23 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 24.
This blending of shows and stories features George Gershwin’s immortal classic “An American in Paris,” which follows a young woman who goes to Paris for the first time; then there’s the company’s original “Tale of Molly Brown,” which accompanies the legendary figure from her beginnings in Leadville to Denver and the Titanic; finally, there’s “Konservatoriet,” a classical ballet set at the Paris Opera Ballet in the romantic period famously painted by Edgar Degas.
For information and tickets, visit http://balletariel.org.
Banksy strikes in Denver
Figuring out who the mysterious artist Banksy is has become a recurring joke in pop culture for many years. Which is a fun game and all, but the reason for the joke is the power and variety of his work. And now fans can see some of that work in Denver.
The Art of Banksy features more than 100 works by the street artist and runs through Sunday, June 12 at the Denver Sports Castle, 1000 Broadway. Among the pieces attendees can see are “Flower Thrower,” “Rude Copper” and original variations of “Girl with Balloon,” which was shredded at auction in 2018. According to provided information, the exhibit “is not authorized or curated in collaboration with the artist, but rather sourced from private collections allowing the public to see works that would otherwise stay hidden in private homes or warehouses.”
Tickets are available at banksyexhibit.com/denver/.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — MICHELLE at the Global Hall
We’re only a quarter of the way into 2022, but New York’s MICHELLE has already released easily one of the year’s best albums. The group — featuring Sofia D’Angelo, Julian Kaufman, Charlie Kilgore, Layla Ku, Emma Lee and Jamee Lockard — dropped “AFTER DINNER WE TALK DREAMS” in March and it’s a luminous collection of dream-pop and R&B. This music doesn’t grab you and shake you, but rather slithers under your skin and gets into your very bones.
The group will be stopping at the Globe Hall, 4483 Logan St. in Denver, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 16. MICHELLE’s music will breathe beautifully in an intimate space like the Globe, making it the perfect venue to immerse yourself in their work.
Secure tickets at https://globehall.com/event/michelle/.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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