Arvada Center Blog

Junie B. is Back!

She’s back! Rehearsals are underway for the big reappearance of everyone’s favorite first grader. Melissa Morris reappears in her role as the precocious Junie in the children’s theatre fall production of Junie B. Jones, the Musical!

Matt Gale Photography 2016

You might be familiar with her adventures already – Junie and friends graced our stage just last spring. The musical is adapted from the beloved Junie B. Jones series of books by Barbara Park.

The musical opens October 13 at noon, and it runs through December 30, 2016. Check out a complete performance schedule!

Colorado Parent Magazine has recognized the Arvada Center’s children’s theatre productions as #1 in the state for five years in a row (link to that article). We cast talented adult actors in our children’s productions, giving kids an introduction to the world of theatre!

Accessibility is also important to our children’s theatre program. Select performances of Junie B. Jones, the Musical will be Audio Described for the sight impaired, and Shadow performed for the hearing impaired. Shadow – interpreted theatre utilizes specially trained American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters to perform as “shadows” on stage alongside actors.


Junie B. Jones – The Musical Cast

Melissa Morris –  Junie B. Jones
Rachelle Wood  – Lucille/Jose
Valerie Igoe –  Camille
Susannah McLeod –  Chenille/Herb
Maggie Tisdale –  Mommy/Grace/May
Damon Guerrasio –  Mr. Woo/Student
Benjamin Wood –  Daddy/Mr. Scary/Gladys Gutzman
Jonathan Hallowell –  Lennie/Sheldon
Katie Jackson –  Bobbi Jean

Junie B. Jones, the Musical Book and lyrics are by March Heisler, with music by Zina Goldrich. The Arvada Center production directed by David & Julie Payne, with musical direction by Keith Ewer and choreography by Piper Arpan. The Arvada Center Artistic Producer is Rod. A. Lansberry.


The show is suitable for audiences of all ages! Tickets are on sale now.

CJRO Swings at the Center!

The Center is proud to welcome the Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra for a three-concert series this upcoming season!


The CJRO is Colorado’s premier large jazz ensemble. They perform classic big band and modern large ensemble jazz. It includes top-notch saxophone, trumpet and trombone players, as well as piano, bass, drums, guitar and vocals.

Executive Director Art Bouton, who’s a professor of saxophone at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, founded the band three years ago with the mission to perform the best music with the best players.

A Song In My Heart – Paul McKee is one of the finest trombonist, improvisors, composers, and arrangers anywhere. This is not hyperbole. A veteran of the Woody Herman Orchestra, the Chicago jazz scene, and now faculty at the University of Colorado, Boulder; his inclusion to the Denver environment has taken the trombone situation from good to awesome in short order. This clever arrangement features Paul and CJRO tenor saxophonist, Eric Erhardt!”

These upcoming concerts cover the music of jazz legends, including Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Miles Davis! You’ll be likely to hear hits like Bye, Bye Blackbird and One O’Clock Jump, as well as songs made famous by Anita O’Day, Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday. The CJRO swings hard, and takes no prisoners!


Al Sharp Photography

The concert season starts October 15 – with “Ella and Sarah, the Great Ladies of Jazz!”

Ella and Sarah, the Great Ladies of Jazz

Hits from the big band era! Heidi Schmidt will present the best songs from Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, along with songs by Anita O’Day and Rosemary Clooney.

Saturday, October 15, 2016. 7:30 p.m., on the Main Stage

Turn Up the Basie!

How do you choose just two hours of music from the legendary Count Basie library? This concert also features songs recorded by Billie Holiday, Joe Williams and Frank Sinatra.

Saturday, January 21, 2017. 7:30 p.m., Main Stage Theatre.

Miles Ahead – The Miles Davis Legacy

The Miles Davis album “Kind of Blue” continues to be the yearly top selling jazz album 57 years after its release. The CJRO will honor this jazz icon with arrangements of his compositions along with great jazz standards he made famous.


Al Sharp Photography

Don’t miss the opportunity to see this talented jazz ensemble – tickets and Concert Series subscriptions are on sale now. Combined music subscriptions for the CJRO and Jeffrey Siegel Concerts are also available by contacting the Box Office – 720-898-7200.

Launching the Theatre Season in Style

Last week, the Arvada Center celebrated the upcoming theatre season with a special sneak peek with the donors that made it possible. The event, called LAUNCH, introduced the Center’s new Black Box repertory company, provided a look into the musical season, and invited attendees to enjoy food, drink and live performances.

Producing Director of Plays Lynne Collins introduces the Black Box season

Producing Director of Plays Lynne Collins introduces the Black Box season

LAUNCH kicked off the 2016/2017 season, and was the first time guests saw the Black Box rep company in action! Artistic Director of Musicals Rod Lansberry introduced the Main Stage Theatre’s 3-musical season, which includes Sister Act, the world premiere of I’ll Be Home for Christmas and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Director Geoffrey Kent discusses 'Waiting for Godot'

Director Geoffrey Kent discusses ‘Waiting for Godot’

Rep company actors performed scenes from the upcoming Black Box productions Tartuffe, Bus Stop, The Drowning Girls and Waiting for Godot. Directors Allison Watrous, Lynne Collins and Geoffrey Kent spoke about each of the productions.

The Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra’s music delighted the ears, and two live art demonstrations entertained the eyes. Artist Marcel Majid Kahhak painted live, and Center ceramicist Kazu Oba threw bowls.

The event was sponsored by the Benzinger Family Winery, Luke’s, A Steak Place, Oskar Blues Brewery and La Patisserie Francaise. It also included a silent auction, a wine pull, and a chance for guests to sponsor a Black Box rep member.

The Arvada Center 2016/2017 Black Box Theatre season begins on September 30 with the premiere of Tartuffe, starring Michael Morgan, Sam Gregory and Kate Gleason.

Actors Sam Gregory and Tim McCracken perform a scene from 'Waiting for Godot'

Actors Sam Gregory and Tim McCracken perform a scene from ‘Waiting for Godot’

This year’s musical theatre season has already begun – and it isn’t too late to catch the first production! Sister Act, with Brit West, runs until October 2 – and critics are loving it. After that, the world premiere musical I’ll Be Home for Christmas opens November 18. Tickets are on sale now!

Did you miss out? Find out more about becoming a donor!

Black Box rep members including Sam Gregory, Michael Morgan, Leslie O'Carroll, Sean Scrutchins, and Jessica Austgen, with Lynne Collins

Black Box rep members including Sam Gregory, Michael Morgan, Leslie O’Carroll, Sean Scrutchins, and Jessica Austgen, with Lynne Collins

Help DreamWise Marketing celebrate 20 years!


In honor of their 20th Anniversary, the Arvada Center’s community partner DreamWise Marketing is giving one lucky nonprofit in Denver a donation! They’re asking for the community’s help in choosing one – and they’ve selected the Arvada Center as part of their celebration.

Their 20th anniversary falls on the same year as our 40th, an exciting milestone to share! Twenty years ago, the Arvada Center was DreamWise Marketing’s very first client.

Based in Denver, DreamWise is a women-owned, full-service marketing firm. DreamWise started in the owner’s basement and has expanded over the years to its current 24,000 square foot warehouse. They’ve been on ColoradoBiz Magazine’s Top 100 Women-Owned Businesses in Colorado list for the past four years, and have been recognized by the Denver Business Journal and the Business Marketing Association for their philanthropy.

The organization has a proud history of giving back to the community and is using their 20th as an opportunity to support one Denver nonprofit in a big way. They’ve selected a list of six, and community votes will determine who the donation goes to.

We’d love it if you support the Arvada Center and vote for us! If we win, the donation will go toward supporting arts education programming. Donations will help us purchase paints, clay, colored pencils, paper, glue, beads, scissors, easels and many other art supplies used in our classes.

The organization with the most number of votes wins. Vote often! The last day to vote is September 23, and the winner will be announced October 4. Follow this link to cast your vote: Read more about the contest here!

Black Box Repertory Company prepares to start the season!

There are many changes in the Arvada Center’s theatre season this year, and one of the most exciting is the introduction of a brand new repertory company performing in the Black Box Theatre!


The Black Box repertory company sets up for a photoshoot


Video for Waiting for Godot with Geoffrey Kent (director) and Sam Gregory (Vladimir)

The ensemble, headed by Lynne Collins, is filled with all-star local actors, directors, technical artists and designers who will appear in a variety of roles throughout the four-play season. For the past few weeks, they’ve been busy getting ready to open the season.

In July, the rep company met up for the first time for a photoshoot inside Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox. Rep company member Michael Morgan is directing a series of videos, filmed all around the Center, where company members discuss their rep experiences, their friendships and their weirdest theatre stories. Costume design and fittings are underway. And rehearsals for Tartuffe started this week!

Over the course of the season, audiences will see the Black Box used in new and creative ways in stories that travel to 17th Century France, Edwardian England, the American plains of the 1950s and a world that is both everywhere and nowhere.


Michael Morgan captures Geoffrey Kent and Sam Gregory on film

Tartuffe, which opens the Black Box theatre season, is the first chance to see the rep company in action. While Tartuffe is not performed in repertory, it introduces the company of actors who audiences will see throughout the theatre season in a variety of roles. The classic satire mercilessly and mirthfully skewers hypocrites and the fools who believe in them, and stars Michael Morgan, Sam Gregory, Leslie O’Carroll, Kate Gleason, Sean Scrutchins, Emily Van Fleet, Anthony Adu, Josh Robinson and Jessica Austgen.


Setting up to film the cast of Tartuffe – Kate Gleason (Elmire) and Sam Gregory (Orgon)

Tartuffe opens September 30, with preview performances September 28 – 29. To read more about the play and buy tickets, visit our website!

The season also includes Bus Stop, the regional premiere of The Drowning Girls, and the classic tragicomedy Waiting for Godot. Tickets for all shows are on sale now! (link here)

Tartuffe opens September 30 and runs until November 6. Attend a Talk Back with the cast, directors and designers on Friday, October 7 or Wednesday, October 19 following the matinee.