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The Best Things to Do in Denver (and Online) This Weekend

Thaddeus Phillips has checked into Zoo Motel.
Thaddeus Phillips has checked into Zoo Motel.
Rafael Esteban Phillips
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Christmas is just a week away: If you're not in the holiday spirit yet, there's not a minute to lose. If you haven't finished shopping, consult our holiday market list; if you've already spent all of your cash, check our lineup of the ten best free activities this week. And if you have cabin fever and want to get out of the house, you'll find illuminating options in our roundup of holiday light shows.

But if you just want to stay home, stay safe and still experience the holidays, you have plenty of choices. Keep reading for the best ticketed activities this weekend, all online, as well as virtual entertainment you can access through the end of the month:

Victorian Stories With Santa and Mrs. Claus
Wednesday, December 23, 6 p.m.

The Molly Brown House Museum will host a live, virtual visit from Santa and the Mrs., who will read classic Christmas tales and answer your questions (you can send yours in advance). Order tickets at mollybrown.org, where you can also buy a Victorian Holiday Family Activity kit and shop the store.

Incessant Hum: Beethoven 2020
Saturday, December 19, 7 p.m., and Sunday, December 20, 2 p.m.

In honor of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, the Boulder Chamber Players commissioned an intriguing theatrical-musical event: Incessant Hum: Beethoven 2020, featuring the later works, which were composed after Beethoven became deaf. Artistic director Barbara Hamilton enlisted the aid of award-winning actor-director Mare Trevathan and playwright Jeffrey Neuman, himself profoundly hearing impaired, to create the piece. The task was daunting, Neuman says, “because I wanted to serve Beethoven well — both the music and the man — and because I’d never really written about hearing loss, a subject that seemed a bit too close to home.” The result features acclaimed actors Chris Kendall as Beethoven and Chelsea Frye as Elise — a name familiar to every piano student who ever attempted Beethoven’s lyrical "Für Elise (Bagatelle No. 25 in A Minor)". The stream is $25 for families, $10 for individuals and $5 students/unemployed; sign up at coloradochamberplayers.org.

A Child's Christmas in Wales
Sunday, December 20, 5 p.m.

Visionbox Studio Theatre presents a one-night-only virtual performance of A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas, performed by Broadway actor/singer William Youmans with Dwayne Carrrington, Isabelle Fries, Violet Gorsuch and Carlo Rincón; it's directed by Jennifer McCray Rincón. Tickets are $250, or you can become a Visionbox member for $20 a month; find out more here.

The Family Tree
Through December 20, 7 p.m.

You may not be able to physically interact with others right now, but you can virtually follow around characters in Jessica Austgen's unique comedy about a family that can't be together for the holidays. The Arvada Center is presenting this show live online; viewers can watch the whole production as is or choose which person to follow, going into more depth on how someone feels, what they're doing and how they find closeness with loved ones even if things aren't traditional. Tickets start at $20; once you buy tickets here, the Arvada Center will send a Zoom link and more information.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Through Sunday, December 20, 11:55 p.m.

Playwright Jeffrey Hatcher has taken a fresh look at Robert Louis Stevenson's horror story about the kindly and courteous doctor who morphs into a murderous killer after experimenting with various tinctures and powders in his own lab. His version, according to one reviewer, is "true to Stevenson but hipper, sexier and more intense"; another calls it "a dark and disturbing story liberally peppered with humor.” Sounds like a soul-shuddering good time, with a touch of bitter to offset all those holiday sugar plums. Presented by the Colorado Springs Ensemble Theatre, it's available through the weekend; tickets cost $25 or pay what you will, with a minimum of $5. Sign up at springsensembletheatre.org.

Discount Ghost Stories: Colorado
Monday, December 21, 7 p.m.

On the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, gather with the ghosts to celebrate composer/lyricist Alexander Sage Oyen’s folk rock, neo-Broadway concept album, Discount Ghost Stories: Colorado, which was a smash Local Theatre Company production last year. This listening room is virtual, but still an extravaganza of music, games and ghoulish delights. The event is a benefit for the Local Love Fund, with a suggested donation of $20; sign up at Eventbrite.

And bonus anytime options for ticketed entertainment through the end of the year:

The Music of Black Nativity
Through December 31, daily

The Aurora Fox’s traditional staging of Black Nativity, a retelling of the Bible story that's based on the works of Langston Hughes, was originally planned as a live performance — before rising COVID numbers again shut the theater’s doors. In no time, the play was retrofitted as a virtual holiday concert, with a colorful multimedia set conceived and created in days. It streams nightly through the end of the year, and household tickets are $20; get them here.

Zotto: A Supernatural Immersive Adventure
Through December 31, 24 hours a day
Start at Pacific Mercantile, Sakura Square, 1925 Lawrence Street (also virtual)

Here’s a COVID-safe immersive experience with staying power: Zotto, the product of a crew of local visual artists, voice actors, dancers, musicians and sound designers, was created under the aegis of the Japanese Arts Network. Zotto rolls out in chapters and on two platforms — one you navigate in your car, and the other a completely virtual album on Bandcamp. The cross-cultural journey blends Japanese folklore and the less-than-perfect history of our city as experienced by minorities and the disenfranchised, all enhanced by audio and video tracks, interactive stops, and cues received by mail. Either option costs $25; learn more and register in advance here.

The Twelve Dates of Christmas
Through January 3

Ginna Hoben’s one-woman, ninety-minute play is fun, flirty, moving but not saccharine, and a refreshing change from most holiday fare. This Miners Alley production stars Denver’s charming and talented Candace Joice and is directed by the equally talented — and charming — Kate Gleason. The protagonist, Mary, is happily engaged and spending the holidays at her parents’ house in Ohio when, purely by accident, she sees her fiancé, who couldn’t come home with her, kissing another woman on television during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Having dumped him and returned to New York, she embarks on a series of painful and difficult dates. Does she find love? Apparently she does, but not necessarily where you’d expect it. Available on demand now; tickets are $18.95 here.

CU Holiday Festival
Through January 4

Bringing together faculty and students from the College of Music, CU’s Holiday Festival has been a tradition for decades. This year the music, comprising holiday favorites and classical pieces recorded over the course of the fall semester, is virtual. But it still promises to bring the joy of the season to your home, where you can listen seated by the fire, wrapping gifts or entertaining the children. Tickets are $20 for individuals, $40 for a household, and $80 for a group; get yours here.

Do you know of any other holiday events that aren't already highlighted on one of our lists? Send information to editorial@westword.com.

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