Arvada Center Blog

Colorado Parent Magazine recognizes children’s productions!


For the fifth year in a row, Colorado Parent Magazine’s readers have voted the Arvada Center’s children’s theatre productions #1 in the state!


Colorado Parent Magazine readers vote on a list of family fun favorites every year – and the Arvada Center is honored they’ve recognized us as #1 location for Children’s Theatre Productions!

Last year’s children’s productions included Junie B. Jones, the Musical and Charlotte’s Web, both musical theatre adaptions of beloved children’s books. We cast fun and talented adult actors in our children’s productions, which gives kids an introduction to the world of theatre!

There are two children’s theatre productions this upcoming season. This fall, everyone’s favorite first grader returns to the stage in a production of Junie B. Jones, the Musicaladapted from the beloved series of books by Barbara Park. It will be directed by David & Julie Payne, with musical direction by Keith Ewer and choreography by Piper Arpan.

And this spring, A Year With Frog and Toad follows the woodland adventures of two amphibious friends, a worrywart toad, and a perky frog. The musical broke new ground by bringing professional children’s theatre to Broadway and was nominated for 3 Tony Awards – including Best Musical!


Junie B. Jones, the Musical opens Thursday, October 13, and A Year with Frog and Toad opens February 2. Tickets for both performances are on sale now!

Additionally, the Center is holding replacement auditions for several roles in Junie B. Jones, the Musical on August 22 – come be part of the fun!


Congratulations to the cast and crew of our children’s theatre productions!


Visitors ‘Catch ‘Em All’ at the Center


When you wander through the Arvada Center’s gallery or sculpture field this summer you might spot some beautiful watercolor, a breathtaking stone sculpture – or a Pikachu.

Over the weekend, the sculpture garden was filled with intrepid “Pokémon trainers” hunting down virtual creatures. That’s because the Arvada Center is a popular local spot for gamers to catch Pokémon, thanks to a game called Pokémon Go.

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For those of us who weren’t kids in the 90’s, Pokémon Go is a game that turns people’s phones into camera that peek into the Pokémon universe, filled with mythical cartoon monsters. When you download the game you can find, chase down and “capture” Pokémon. The game is connected to a map, and stopping at real-life locations and landmarks gives players free stuff, or opportunities to fight in “gyms.”

Unbound: Sculpture in the Field is home to two gyms as well as a number of “Pokéstops.” They’re located at sculptures throughout the field, as well as the outside wall of the theatre and inside the Center itself. Pokémon have also been spotted inside the Summer of Watercolor gallery exhibition, and hanging around outside the Main Stage Theatre. 

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The game gives visitors a new way to engage with some of the Center’s incredible and free art exhibitions – hitting a sculpture’s “Pokéstop” offers some information about the work, as well as free stuff in the game! Come catch a few, and wander through our galleries at the same time.

We do ask that visitors be considerate of other Center patrons who may not be Pokémon hunting – and share their Pokémon-catching experiences with us! 

Read more about Summer of Watercolor and Unbound: Sculpture in the Field.

Take a look inside the workshop we held for our first original musical!


All photos by Matt Gale


A workshop performance for the Arvada Center’s first original musical brought Christmas to the Center — in the summer! On Wednesday, June 29, a cast of actors staged a workshop for I’ll Be Home for Christmas for Center donors and VIP’s.

This was the first time the show’s producers saw their work come to life on stage. Actors auditioned to perform in the workshop, and rehearsed for two days before the performance.

The musical features original music and lyrics by the Center’s longtime musical director David Nehls, and an original story written by Kenn McLaughlin. It will be directed by Gavin Mayer, with choreography by Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck. The Producing Artistic Director of Musicals is Rod A. Lansberry.


Set in 1969, I’ll Be Home for Christmas tells the story of the Bright family as they prepare for their annual Christmas variety show, one of the most-watched and anticipated television events of the year. I’ll Be Home for Christmas is set during the live TV broadcast, both on-stage and off.

Presented as a peek into the Bright family’s famous variety show, the musical features clever takes on familiar holiday songs, along with never-before-heard music!

Following the performance, audience members gave their feedback to the writers, producers, director and cast during a Q&A.

This feedback is an important step in the development process of this play, and now they’re working to polish the script before the show’s world premiere.


Stay tuned for more on the show as it takes shape! Single tickets go on sale on August 1. Don’t miss the world premiere of I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Nov. 18!

The Arvada Center receives 15 nominations for 11th annual Henry Awards!


Arvada Center productions, directors, actors and designers were recognized June 20 in the Colorado Theatre Guild’s list of nominees for the 11th annual Henry Awards.  The Center was nominated for 15 awards, including Outstanding Season for a Theatre Company, and Outstanding Production of a Musical.

The Mountaintop Photo credit P. Switzer Photography 2016

The Mountaintop Photo credit P. Switzer Photography 2016

More than 45 theatre reporters, educators and assigned judges are involved in choosing the nominations, which are named for longtime Denver theatre producer Henry Lowenstein. Winners of 11th Annual Henry Awards be announced July 18 at the PACE Center in Parker.

Death Takes a Holiday Photo P. Switzer Photography

Death Takes a Holiday Photo credit P. Switzer Photography

11th Annual Henry Award Nominations:

  • Outstanding Season for a Theatre Company
  • Outstanding Production of a Musical: “Death Takes a Holiday,” Rod Lansberry, Director; David Nehls, Musical Direction
  • Outstanding Direction of a Play: Gavin Mayer, “The Mountaintop”
  • Outstanding Direction of a Musical: Rod A. Lansberry, “Death Takes a Holiday”
  • Outstanding Direction of a Musical: Gavin Mayer, “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas”
  • Outstanding Musical Direction: David Nehls, “Death Takes a Holiday”
  • Outstanding Choreography: Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas”
  • Outstanding Actress in a Play: Betty Hart, “The Mountaintop”
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical: Paul Page, “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas”
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical: Sharon Kay White, “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas”
  • Outstanding Costume Design: Clare Henkel, “Death Takes a Holiday”
  • Outstanding Lighting Design: Seth Alison, “The Mountaintop”
  • Outstanding Lighting Design: Shannon McKinney, “Death Takes a Holiday”
  • Outstanding Scenic Design: Brian Mallgrave, “Death Takes a Holiday”
  • Outstanding Sound Design: Grant Evenson, “The Mountaintop”
Irving Berlin's White Christmas - Photo P. Switzer Photography 2015

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas – Photo P. Switzer Photography 2015

Congratulations to the casts and crew of last seasons shows for their nominations!

Leave your mark at the Center with a new participatory art project


Sometimes art is something that you see, and sometimes it’s something you do. A new instillation piece at the Arvada Center is both—with a little gardening mixed in.

The Arvada Center’s sculpture field will be home to a participatory project that uses native plant seeds, clay and your assistance to create something that’s part landscape restoration, part outdoor art.

Seed Mapping, by artist Phillip Mann, is an effort to create a living map of our visitors’ paths through Unbound: Sculpture in the FieldEarlier this month, Arvada Center staff and volunteers made around 600 seed balls, the key component in Mann’s project. Seed balls are made out of soil and clay, natural pigments, and native Colorado flower and grass seeds.

The seeds will become part of the sculpture field as people participate in the Seed Mapping project.

Here is how you can be part of this living, growing art exhibit:

  1. Purchase tokens for your seed balls from the Arvada Center Box Office, and then visit one of the two seed ball kiosks at the Center. One is located outside of the Main Gallery, and the second in the sculpture field.
  2. Explore the sculptures in the field! Leave your seed balls behind as you travel through the sculptures as evidence of where you have been.

The seed balls will break down and the native grasses and wildflowers left behind will take root in the field, leaving a living marker on our “map” that traces where visitors travel through the field. Over the next couple of years, the seeds will leave a colorful trail marking where people have walked and left their seeds behind.

Come be a part of Seed Mapping when you stop by the Center for any of our upcoming exhibits, shows or performances! Read more about Unbound: Sculpture in the Field here.

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