Ah, the thea-tah! Comedies, dramas, musicals, dance, clowns, cabaret. New York, London, Paris, Milan... Colorado Springs? Yes, Colorado Springs. The city known for theological theatrics gets a shot of culture with the debut of the Colorado Festival of World Theatre.
The CFWT was birthed in 2003, when transplanted thespian Suzy Bassani decided to make her adopted hometown home to an international theater festival. She banded together with friends Carol Sturman and Linda Purl and tested the drama waters.
"The first year all we did was have a cabaret," says Bassani, who also serves as the festival's artistic director/producer. "We launched the idea of the world theater festival to see what people in Colorado Springs would think of it. Everybody loved it."
Last year, the founders held a fundraising mini-festival. This year, they've pulled out all the stops to produce the main event: a two-week, five-venue, fourteen-show festival featuring top performers from Italy, South Africa, Israel, the U.K., Ireland and the U.S. Workshops, apprentice programs and master classes will also be a part of the festival.
"We wanted it to be like a safari, with venues from the Broadmoor going up Highway 24 to the tent in Woodland Park. On Saturday [July 16], we're going to close down Highway 24 and have a parade with horses, the saddle club, llamas, all walking up to the tent!"
The festival, which opens at 6 p.m. tonight at the Broadmoor Hotel, 1 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs, with a gala hosted by Allison Janney and Michael Feinstein, runs through Sunday, July 31. Tickets range in price from $10 for theater talks to $500 special packages. For information, call 1-719-475-1737, or log on to www.cfwt.org. -- Debra A. Myers
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The Gospel Grass festival makes joyful music.
Christianity has infiltrated every genre of popular music, from metal to punk to rap. For the past six years, though, the Gospel Grass festival has reconnected faithful audiences with a much more traditional sound: the twangy strains of bluegrass.
"Gospel music is one of the major roots of bluegrass," says event organizer Suzie Solomon. "It's a very happy style of music. It's interactive and appeals to all ages. If you can't play an instrument, you can at least clap, sing or dance along, and that's so important in helping understanding grow between generations."
The pickin' and praisin' starts at 3 p.m. today on the Old Larimer County fairgrounds in Loveland with a "jam camp" that all fest-goers are encouraged to attend. This will be followed at 8 p.m. by Cross Examined's a cappella set. Thirty acts from Colorado and around the country will perform throughout the fest, which lasts through Sunday, July 17. Workshops, food vendors, square dancing and sing-alongs will be featured, and camping and hotel accommodations are available. Admission is free. Call 303-471-6282 or visit www.gospelgrass.com for directions and information. -- Jason Heller