The theater at Elitch Gardens once boasted the oldest summer-stock company in the country, with stars ranging from Douglas Fairbanks Jr. to Robert Redford. But the company disbanded in 1963, and then the amusement park left northwest Denver altogether, leaving behind the circa-1891 theater. Although the exterior of the historic building was stabilized, the interior was left empty -- and increasingly ramshackle. But now there's new energy in the campaign to resurrect the Elitch theater, and it's being fed by the area's restaurants.
Tonight from 5 to 6:30 p.m., the Z Cuisine Wine Tasting, at the wonderful French bistro at 2239 West 30th Avenue, will raise funds for the theater's interior renovation. "It's in desperate need of help," says new boardmember Jose Mercado, who used to go to Elitch's as a kid and now would like to see the theater not just offer world-class productions, but "turn into a cultural center for the community."
And Z Cuisine is a particularly appropriate place to kick off this latest effort (the board plans to schedule monthly benefits at local restaurants), because owner Patrick Dupays was an actor in France. So in addition to the wine, appetizers and dessert that your $40 ticket will buy tonight, you'll also get to see Dupays and Mercado perform a scene from Waiting for Godot.
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Wed., Dec. 30, 5-6:30 p.m., 2009