Jack Redux

TUES, 6/17

How, after seeing all that he saw, did Jack readjust to normal life once he descended the beanstalk? The Arvada Center deals with this question in the children's-theater production of Under the Beanstalk. The answer? He didn't. Picking up where the traditional tale leaves off, Under the Beanstalk takes the adventure-hungry Jack on a new journey to the underworld.

Beneath the surface, Jack discovers the land of Rhizomia, where strange, rocklike creatures called Obbdobs reside. The creatures have been put under a spell by the malicious Great Aunt Red, who conspires to make color disappear. In the midst of the Wonderland-like atmosphere, Jack gets a lesson in the importance of friendship.

Written and directed by David and Julie Payne, with music by Todd Roberts, Under the Beanstalk is "a little off-center" compared with the children's theater presented by the Arvada Center during the school year. Producer Kathy Kuehn says although the play is physical enough to grip the attention of preschoolers, it has elements of sophistication that adults will appreciate.

Adults may also appreciate the inexpensive, wholesome and time-consuming child-centered outing that can be built around a show. Performances are at the center's outdoor amphitheater, which has 600 covered seats (first come, first served) as well as lawn seating. Picnics are encouraged, and an onsite playground provides an opportunity for pre- and post-performance energy release. Tickets are only $6. The show opens at noon today and plays Tuesdays through Thursdays through July 24; the Arvada Center is at 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard. Showtimes vary, so call the box office at 720-898-7200 or visit www.arvadacenter.org. -- Jonelle Wilkinson Seitz

Friends Together
Shamwari translates to a fresh jam
SUN, 6/15

Shamwari means "friends" among the Shona people of Zimbabwe, but it goes a bit further than that. For the Shona, a friend is whomever you're with. That's kind of how it all fell together for the young members of the Shamwari Youth Ensemble, an eight-member percussion band sponsored by the Kutandara Center, a Boulder multicultural music school that specializes in teaching the rhythms of southern Africa. The kids, who range in age from eleven to sixteen, came together from all corners of Boulder County as students, but this universal music has made them fast friends. "This is one place where it's safe for kids to hit things," Kutandara's Amy Stewart explains. "Plus, it's just a lot of fun. It requires lots of kinetic energy, and you get to make really excellent, beautiful music." You'll become a friend, too, when Shamwari performs infectious marimba tunes from its new CD, Chero, at a release party at 3 p.m. today at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut Street, Boulder. Tickets are $5 to $8 at the door; for details, call 720-890-7381 or log on to www.kutandara.com. -- Susan Froyd

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd
Jonelle Wilkinson Seitz