Few mid-twentieth-century figures could boast excellence in as many disciplines as African-American icon Paul Robeson, an All-American athlete, Columbia Law School graduate, actor and singer with a deep, resounding voice as big as the universe. But Robeson was also an activist whose outspoken international trailblazing in the name of human rights landed him on the McCarthy-era blacklist, with his career cut short and his passport revoked by the U.S. government. Though his seems almost too large a life to be contained within the perimeters of a few hours' time, Shadow Theatre Company salutes Black History Month in powerful style by staging Phillip Hayes Dean's Paul Robeson, a Broadway drama that ably chronicles the complex and versatile leader's history and music. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, beginning today and continuing through March 5 at the Ralph Waldo Emerson Center, 1420 Ogden Street; for tickets, $20, call 303-837-9355 or visit www.shadowtheatre.com.
In another nod to Black History Month, the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities revives a classic from the African-American canon. The changing face of African-American life in the 1950s is explored in a personal light in A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry's enduring drama focusing on a family living on Chicago's South Side during the early years of the civil-rights movement. Raisin runs daily except Mondays through March 6 at the Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada; for showtimes and tickets, $32 to $42, call 720-898-7200 or go to www.arvadacenter.org
Friday, February 4
What is it with people and pirates, anyway? From Robert Louis Stevenson's Long John Silver to Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow, such seafaring scum's been a source of fascination and the stuff of a thousand daydreams for centuries. In modern times, pirates have even earned themselves an annual observance: the immensely popular Talk Like a Pirate Day (aaaargh!). But back in 1879, British comic operettists Gilbert and Sullivan chose to set pirate-speak to music, in The Pirates of Penzance, one of their many side-splitting, labyrinthine librettos and one of the most well received. The work has probably been revived at least as many times over the years as were those skeletal ghouls in Pirates of the Caribbean, and it'll walk the plank again in Denver when the Central City Opera and Colorado Symphony Orchestra and Chorus present a collaboration this weekend at Boettcher Concert Hall, in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. today and tomorrow; for tickets, $11 to $65, call 303-893-4100 or log on to www.coloradosymphony.org.
Even if you missed out on last week's more eminent ice-sculpting championships in Breckenridge, you can still catch some chips off the old block in neighboring Frisco, where residents are celebrating their own Gold Rush Ice Sculpting Event today through Sunday. Set in Frisco Historic Park, the Rush will host a cadre of professional ice sculptors creating cool models of winter-sports athletes, including a freestyle boarder and skier, a hockey goalie, a skater and more. The public will have a chance to participate tomorrow, when the town hosts miniature ice-hockey and snow-bowling games to benefit the Frisco Chamber of Commerce; fees range from $2 to $10. For complete details, call 1-970-668-3050.
Saturday, February 5
Even as Daniel Libeskind's wacky cantilevered geometry lesson continues to be whipped into a modern-art wing alongside the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, the existing museum will keep "modern" in its vocabulary with the fifth-floor installation of "Floating Time V2-12 Marine Blue," an interactive walk-through environment by Japan's Tatsuo Miyajima, in which many-colored LED digital numbers are projected across walls, floors and viewers at random rates. Miyajima, who's also been commissioned by the DAM for a site-specific work in the new wing, intends "Floating Time" as a comment on the nature of time and art as human inventions. For information, call 720-865-5000 or go to www.denverartmuseum.org.
Sunday, February 6
Ho-hum. Another Super Bowl, another Roman numeral. Some girls just wanna have a different kind of fun -- and last year's inaugural Super Babe Sunday at the Comedy Works was so successful that Works maven and event emcee Wende Curtis has decided to throw for the touchdown again. While their guys down nachos and beer in front of large-screen TVs across the metro area, savoring the best gridiron play and commercials that America has to offer, local ladies can enjoy an afternoon and evening of comedy, fashion and trunk shows, along with a silent auction to benefit Denver Safehouse. The show begins at 4 p.m. (doors open at 3) at the Comedy Works, 1226 15th Street; admission is $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Call 303-595-3637 or visit www.comedyworks.com.
Monday, February 7
Buying into a little piece of symbolism will go a long way during the annual Art & Heart benefit at the Boulder Arts and Crafts Cooperative, 1421 Pearl Street in Boulder. In this case, the symbol is a house, which students from four Boulder County elementary schools used to create one-of-a-kind pins and magnets to be sold at the co-op as a fundraiser for the Safehouse Progressive Alliance and the Emergency Family Assistance Association. The tiny houses, along with colorful oversized Valentine cards also made by the children, are available through Valentine's Day for the reasonable price of $3 to $5; for details, call 303-443-3683 or visit www.boulderartsandcrafts.com.