This week on stages in metro Denver, moments in American history will be recounted and reimagined, while opera singers and Shakespearean actors throw their lots together for a fun night of poetry and song. Here’s how to play along.
Black Elk Speaks
Aurora Fox Arts Center
March 18 through April 10
7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
2 p.m. Sundays
Tickets: $22 to $31
American history gets a sorely needed update in the stage version of Black Elk Speaks, adapted by Christopher Sergel from John Neihardt’s oral history book, a firsthand account relating the late nineteenth-century experiences of Lakota medicine man Black Elk, who saw his people’s way of life decimated by white settlers and the American government. Director donnie betts brings the account — including the travesty of Wounded Knee — alive on the Aurora Fox stage.
Black Box Theater, Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
March 22 through April 17 (Previews March 18 to 20)
7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays
2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
1 p.m. Wednesdays
Tickets: $25 previews, $38 to $48 regular run
Katori Hall’s award-winning The Mountaintop focuses on another American icon — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — in a fictionalized account of his last night on earth, set in the Lorraine Motel on the eve of his assassination in April 1968. There he encounters a room-service maid whose challenging questions turn things into an evening of repartee and soul-searching on a human level. The show contains some mature language and is performed without an intermission.
The Wit Theatre Company
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Opera on Tap, Shakespeare: The Bard at the Bar
Syntax: Physic Opera
6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19
Tickets: $8 to $10
Opera on Tap, Denver’s aria-in-a-bar showcase, has some fun with Shakespeare in March by teaming up with the Wit Theatre Company, famous for its similar Shakesbeer mash-up. Says Opera on Tap of the momentous meetup: “The folks at The Wit/Shakesbeer came to the same conclusion as we did: that the stories that you have been told are high art are actually the human story. Our story.” Raise a glass and be a barfly on the wall.
Find a stage near you: Check out Westword's online listings for more theater events.