Soar past the second star on the right and find yourself joyfully lost in Neverland at the Colorado Ballet's world-premiere production of Peter Pan. "I've been thinking about doing Peter Pan for a long time, but it's a very hard story to tell because it's very poignant," says artistic director Martin Fredmann. "You have to tell it in a tender and fanciful way." His company's adaptation, he notes, is "a unique creation. It's touching, funny and wistful -- all the things that Peter Pan should be."
Using a musical score compiled from two lesser-known ballets, Sylvia and La Source, composed by Léo Delibes, the ballet's collaborative version of Peter Pan was co-choreographed by principal dancers Gregory K. Gonzales and Andrew Thompson.
"It's been a challenge for everyone, but it's a joyous and melodic score, and they're putting together an absolutely beautiful work," says Fredmann. "They both pulled out all their own stops."
Of course, J.M. Barrie's classic fantasy adventure about eternal childhood wouldn't be magical without lots of special effects, including fast-paced flying scenes, thrilling sword fights, frightening pirates and a ticking crocodile.
"We'll have as many as five characters flying at once in all different directions," Fredmann says.
Following select matinee performances, younger audience members can have their photos snapped with Tinkerbell and Captain Hook, take a short dance class, learn how to apply stage makeup and check out the scenery up close.
"It's an opportunity for the kids to get firsthand experience in what it's like to stage a production," explains Fredmann.
The limited-engagement run of Peter Pan begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Buell Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, and continues weekends through April 25. Tickets range in price from $20 to $74 and can be purchased in advance at 303-893-4100, www.coloradoballet.com or any King Soopers location. Tickets to the post-matinee family event are $10.
"Everybody is fascinated with Peter Pan," says Fredmann. "I think it's going to be a major hit." -- Julie Dunn
A Real Cho-Down
Comic faces same-sex issues with fervor
Margaret Cho is coming, and she's got a big beef with our little cowtown. The notoriously outspoken comedian, who recently created a "same-sex wedding dress" through her High Class Cho clothing line and an equal-rights website at www.loveisloveislove.com, is known for her support of gay marriage. Because Colorado is home to same-sex-marriage opponent Marilyn Musgrave, the barbs should be swift and sure tonight and tomorrow during Cho's appearance at the Comedy Works. Cho's out for a brief series of summer appearances, gearing up for her "State of Emergency Tour," which will hit the 2004 presidential-election swing states in the fall. The comic was quoted as saying, "I don't know why conservatives are so against gay marriage. Income from ice sculptures alone could pay off the national debt."
Cho began her career at age sixteen in San Francisco. Although best known for her short-lived mid-'90s television series, All-American Girl, she has also released several live-performance CDs and DVDs, including 2003's Grammy-nominated Revolution. Tickets for her Comedy Works appearance are $35 to $40; call 303-595-3637 or visit www.comedyworks.com for showtimes and other information. On with the Cho! -- Kity Ironton
Improv Troupe Is Rolling
Get ready for a steady stream of raucous humor in Divided by Whoopee, an original sketch-comedy show by the Traveling Susans. "Our show is pretty edgy," says troupe member Michelle Miracle. "We're definitely not a straitlaced group."
Whoopee's stint at Jazz@Jack's will provide a testing ground for the Susans, who will ask audience members at tonight's performance to vote for their favorite skit. The six-member local act is culling material for its appearance at the Chicago Improv Festival in May.
"We're the first group from Denver to be asked to participate in the annual festival, which is really exciting," says Miracle. "Denver is really a lot more impressive comedically than most people know about. We're proud to be representing that."
"I guess our name is a self-fulfilling prophecy," she adds, "since we are actually traveling now."
The Susans will do their thing tonight and the next two Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. at Jack's, 1553 Platte Street. Admission is $12, and reservations are recommended. Call 303-906-4759. -- Julie Dunn
Nickel Creek flows on
There's a continuing argument among culture vultures: What matters most in the modern music world, art or craft? Others put sheer adventurousness on the pedestal. Finally, there are those who don't give a hoot about any of that and simply go for looks and sex appeal (someone's keeping Britney rolling in dough). An exception to this debate is Nickel Creek, which features all of the above. Okay, "sex appeal" might be stretching it, but wild-haired mandolinist Chris Thile does claim a certain cuteness factor. Whatever. All of Nickel Creek's fans agree on one thing: The trio -- plucky wonderboy Thile and the Watkins siblings, guitarist Sean and violinist Sara -- can play, and, as Creek producer Alison Krauss puts it, what they play is "just Nickel Creek music," a matchless and charming blend of progressive bluegrass and imagination.
Let Nickel Creek take you away tonight at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place; rising star Mindy Smith opens the show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $29; call 303-830-TIXS or log on to www.historicparamounttheatre.com. -- Susan Froyd