Arvada Center Blog

Arvada Center prepares for the holidays

What happens when classic Christmas carols, the Vietnam War and an old-time variety show all share the Arvada Center stage?


It’s called I’ll Be Home for Christmas, and it’s the first world premiere musical produced by the Arvada Center. The cast and crew gathered yesterday to prepare for the brand new production of the musical, and rehearsals begin this week!



Set in 1969, the musical focuses on the Bright family as they prepare for their annual Christmas variety show, one of the most-watched and anticipated television events of the year. In the midst of rehearsals, they welcome their eldest son home from the war. A decorated hero, and former teen idol, Simon is challenged by his return to civilian life and the expectation and anticipation of performing again.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas is set in the hours leading up to and during the live TV broadcast, featuring rich costumes, great dance numbers and exciting new music along with many seasonal favorites. It’s a family friendly show that people of all ages will enjoy!

Original music and lyrics were written by the Center’s longtime musical director David Nehls. Kenn McLaughlin wrote the book. Gavin Mayer is directing, and Rod Lansberry is producing.

The historic setting – a throwback to variety shows of the 50’s and 60’s – was inspired by Nehls and McLaughlin’s nostalgic love of television from that era. They began playing with the idea in 2012, and have been doing writes – and re-writes – and more re-writes – for the past nine months. It mixes beloved holiday music with original tunes and choreography.


I’ll Be Home for Christmas Cast

Noah Racey – Dana Bright

Megan Van De Hey – Louise Bright

Jake Mendes – Simon Bright

Kim McClay – Maggie Bright

Andrew Diessner – Len

Sharon Kay White – Carol Marie

Darius Jordan Lee – Sandy

Sheryl McCallum – Ruby

Women’s Ensemble: Norrell Moore, Maddie Franke, Rae Case, Rachel Turner

Men’s Ensemble: Jean-Luc Cavnar, P. Tucker Worley, Benjamin Roeling, Darrell T. Joe

The musical opens November 18. Preview performances take place November 15 – 17, and it closes December 23. Tickets are on sale now!

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. 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.