Every year the Colorado Theatre Guild holds a fundraising gala, but this year's offering, Theatre Night In, is a little different. To begin with, the guild intends to use the proceeds not for administrative purposes -- the organization helps theater artists network and promotes the art form's visibility -- but for a new purpose: funding an awards procedure and ceremony for 2006.
In addition, there's a different approach to the evening's entertainment. The gala always utilizes the talents of local performers, but this year organizers tapped companies all over the state to present scenes and songs from productions opening in September. The result should be a bracing and intriguing mix of talents and styles. Where else could you see excerpts from Shakespeare and Sondheim on the same program? Children's Letters to God juxtaposed with songs from the hilarious dragfest Ruthless! The Musical? Or the sentimental favorite Sound of Music edging an excerpt from Gary Austin's autobiographical one-man show, Oil, about growing up in Halliburton-owned Texas oil camps?
For theater people, it's a chance to chat and mingle. The rest of us get to sample a range of offerings and meet the artists who put them together. Theatre Night In takes place tonight at Pinnacle Dinner Theatre, 9136 West Bowles Avenue in Littleton. Cocktails are at 6 p.m.; entertainment begins at 7. Tickets are $20, $15 for CTG members. For reservations, call 303-778-7724 or go online to www.coloradotheatreguild.org. -- Juliet Wittman
They All Fall Down
Normally when I see people in Skyline Park twirling in circles, I just acknowledge that it was a particularly good meth day along the 16th Street Mall and move on. But take a closer look at those whirling dervishes today. You won't see drug addicts; instead, you'll see Channel 7 meteorologist Mike Nelson coaching people through the Tornado Dance to help celebrate RideSmart Thursdays! The weatherman will be there from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., drawing attention to a three-month initiative from RTD and the Denver Regional Council of Governments encouraging people to find alternative, environmentally friendly transportation methods, from carpooling to walking. Refreshments and entertainment will be available, as well as a bounty of prizes for lucky guests. So PogoBal on down -- there's tornado dancing to do. Visit www.ridesmartthursdays.com for details. -- Adam Cayton-Holland
Wait WaitDon't Tell Us!
NPR's current-events quiz show comes back to Chautauqua.
With all the tumult in the world today, the weekly news can be a bit depressing. Thankfully, Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell rescue us with their constant wit and humor on their weekly NPR quiz show, Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!, which is being taped today at Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Road in Boulder. Using limericks, impersonations and fake stories, the show tests callers and celebrities on their knowledge of the week's news. Unlike other quiz shows that boast prizes such as a car, boat or trip to a tropical paradise, Wait WaitDon't Tell Me! gives contestants the mother of all rewards: Kasell's voice on their home answering machine.
"They love it here!" says Chautauqua's Nini Coleman. "The auditorium is an incredibly intimate atmosphere. It's comfortable, it's casual, and it's very conducive to the interactive nature of the show."
Taping of the show starts at 7:30 p.m., and Colorado NPR junkies can sit in the live audience if they purchase a ticket, $35 to $40, in advance through Ticketswest (www.ticketswest.com). For more information, visit www.chautauqua.com. -- Amelia Langer
Mix history with horseplay at the Bill Pickett Rodeo.
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It's said that black cowboy icon Bill Pickett, aka the "Dusky Demon," invented the sport of bulldoggin' (otherwise known as steer wrestling) around the turn of the last century, when he was a star of the traveling 101 Ranch Wild West Show out of Oklahoma. That's reason enough to name a rodeo after him, although the surest proof of his dedication was in his method of dying: He was kicked in the head by a horse.
No wonder the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo comes to town wrapped in a shroud of history: In addition to honoring Pickett and all of the other African-American cowpokes who helped shape the West, it's also the nation's only touring black rodeo. Folks in these here parts love it dearly, as it's the only chance some people will ever get to see real black cowboys and cowgirls riding bareback, roping calves, "undecorating" steers (the ladies' version of bulldoggin') and barrel racing. It's a little piece of the past served up in living color.
Rodeo action leaves the chute today at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3:30 p.m. (following a 3 p.m. gospel welcome) at the Adams County Fairgrounds, 9756 Henderson Road in Brighton; admission is $12 to $15 daily (call 303-830-TIXS). For more information, go to www.billpickettrodeo.com. -- Susan Froyd