It’s been a long two years, but now, as the weather warms, flowers begin to sprout and venues shed their mask and vaccine requirements, it’s beginning to feel like a new day in Denver. Theatre is back! Venues are at full capacity! Local entertainment groups are launching brand new events series dreamt up during the pandemic!
With the city basically fully open, this spring is looking busy. To help guide you through the next couple of months, here’s a roundup of some of the biggest events, openings and closings happening around Denver through May, including Elitch’s opening day, Denver Fashion Week, film festivals, immersive exhibitions and much, much more!
Note: This is a running list. We will continue to update it as we learn of more events.
Let’s play ball!
The Rockies will return this spring, after months of negotiations between the MLB and the MLB Players Association resulted in a Collective Bargaining Agreement. Opening Day at Coors Field is now scheduled for April 8, when the Rockies will play the LA Dodgers. Let’s play ball!
The show does go on
Theatre is in full swing after nearly two years of cancellations. The DCPA is continuing its Broadway season on March 29 with the musical Tootsie, a new musical based on the beloved film, followed by Jersey Boys starting April 15, Feist April 22, Cats starting May 24 and Dear Evan Hansen starting May 31. You can check out the full schedule on the DCPA’s website.
Other DCPA presentations include Choir Boy, a new musical drama by Oscar-winning Moonlight screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney about a boy who finds himself an outsider at his school, but finds opportunity for leadership and self discovery as a leader of the school choir; and Quixote Nuevo, a contemporary, musical reimagining of Don Quixote.
It’s also your last chance to catch the award-winning musical comedy The Other Josh Cohen at the Garner Galleria Theatre & Bar. The show closes May 1.
And if you missed the DCPA’s Hamilton run, check out 1776, another Tony Award-winning musical about the founding fathers, which is running at the Lakewood Cultural Center through April 3.
There’s a lot going on at Denver’s smaller theatres. REFUGE, a bilingual play incorporating music and puppetry to examine migration at the U.S.-Mexican border a human level, runs at Curious Theatre through April 9. The company’s 2021/2022 season will wrap with Fireflies, a play about a couple working to fuel the Civil Rights Movement in the wake of a devastating church bombing and the personal struggles they themselves are grappling with. Fireflies will run Apr. 30 – May 28.
Stories on Stage has a couple of new spring shows. In X, Y and Z, storytellers from three generations compare notes on life. It runs, Apr. 3- June 19. The group’s final show of the season is Beatles tribute Good Day Sunshine, which incorporates performances of Beatles hits alongside stories about the band’s impact on our lives. Live performances take place May 1, but you can watch it online any time starting May 6.
Buntport Theater, the quirky Denver theater company that received national attention for its innovative pandemic production The Grasshoppers, will stage its 50th original full-length play from Apr. 8 – 30. ♥heart:Richard is a comedy and true story about Richard III, his fans, Victorian undergarments and more.
And if you’re in the mood for a classic, Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof runs through Apr. 17 in Aurora’s Vintage Theatre, bringing the story of a Southern family’s unraveling to Colorado.
Lights, camera, action!
Local cinephiles have a lot to look forward to in the coming months. The Denver Film Sie Center is fully open, and recently expanded its programming to include more regular curated film series, restored classics and repertory films.
Denver Film’s Women+Film Festival, which showcases women-centric programming, is scheduled to run Apr. 5 – 10. That festival coincides with Su Teatro’s XicanIndie FilmFest, an annual event celebrating the best in Latinx filmmaking. This year’s festival runs Apr. 7-10 and will feature film screenings, filmmaker panels, workshops and more.
For documentary enthusiasts, the Denver Documentary Society is planning several new film events throughout the year, including a Rooftop Docs series scheduled to begin in May. Guests can treat themselves to food and beverages while enjoying documentary films, and can also participate in an interactive Q&A game after each screening.
SeriesFest: Season 8 will land in Denver May 5-11. The festival celebrates episodic storytelling, and in the past has welcomed entertainment industry guests like Jennifer Garner, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Lauryn Hill, the cast of Yellowstone and more. Screenings and other events will be held at the Sie, Red Rocks and other local venues.
Beginning May 12, McGregor Square will host an outdoor film series, Movies at McGregor, which will roll out out across six different themed series, with one film screening every Thursday. First up: a few Marvel favorites, including The Avengers, Black Panther, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Take a trip to a museum
The Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art will display two windows designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as part of a larger Wright exhibition, Returning Wright. The pieces will be repatriated in mid-April for the restoration of Wright’s Martin House in Buffalo, NY, so check out the exhibition before these works leave Denver for good! While you’re there, you can also catch Josef Hoffmann’s Vienna, which runs at the Kirkland Museum through Apr. 3.
The Aurora History Museum recently opened a photo exhibition about the history of Aurarians facing housing security in hopes of humanizing the issue. Without a Home is free to attend, and runs through May 29.
For music history fans, this is your last chance to catch GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science’s exhibit dedicated to the history, science and pop culture of the guitar. The exhibit closes Apr. 17.
Art Lovers of all ages might be interested in the Clyfford Still Musuem’s latest exhibition, Clyfford Still, Art, and the Young Mind, which was co-curated by kids from six months to eight years old, proving that kids understand abstract art better than adults.
The MCA’s latest exhibition pairing is “Dyani White Hawk: Speaking to Relatives,” a collection of abstract art by White Hawk, whose work engages with the history and significance of Native art; and “Eamon Ore-Giron: Competing with Lightning /Rivalizando con el relámpago,” a collection of paintings reflecting Ore-Giron’s artistic progression and exploration of cultural hybridities. Both exhibits run through May 22.
Tomorrow is a New Day , an exhibition built around a Cambodian proverb about resilience in the face of hardship, runs through May 1 on the third floor of the McNichols Civic Center Building. Artists Morn Chear and Lauren Ida reflect on challenges like physical disability and intergenerational trauma and themes of hope and healing through their work.
RedLine Contemporary Art Center’s main exhibition space is currently playing host to a retrospective honoring the life and work of Colorado artist Sally Elliott. “Dissonant Harmony: A Life in Art“ runs through Apr. 10, and will be accompanied by another exhibition, “Dreaming My Dreams,” which displays the works of 27 of Elliott’s mentees, advisees and friends.
Meanwhile, the Denver Art Museum will see the arrival and departure of a number of exhibits. Modern Women/Modern Vision: Works from the Bank of America Collection opens at the DAM May 1. The exhibit features more than 100 works by women artists, demonstrating their contributions to modern photography. “Carla Fernández Casa de Moda: A Mexican Fashion Manifesto” will arrive at the DAM May 1. The exhibition showcases Fernández’s contemporary fashion designs influenced by ancient traditions, many of which which incorporate textiles made in collaboration with Indigenous artisans throughout Mexico. Beginning May 15, the DAM will debut Age of Armor: Treasures from the Higgins Collection at the Worcester Art Museum, an armor collection that examines the history, symbolism, functions and cultural legacy of armor. Current exhibition Traitor, Survivor, Icon: The Legacy of La Malinche closes May 8. The exhibit explores the legacy of La Malinche, known both as the mother of Mexico and as a controversial cultural figure.
The DAM isn’t the only museum exploring the history of La Malinche through art. Museo de las Americas recently opened an exhibit called “Malinalli on the Rocks,” which removes patriarchal and Eurocentric lenses and invites Chicanx and Latinx artists to examine her legacy through their own work.
The Botanic Gardens offers a number of ways to enjoy art and spring weather at the same time. Starting April 30, the gardens’ latest installation, Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling, brings the celebrated artist’s massive cedar and bronze outdoor sculptures to Denver for the first time ever, as well as her abstract works on paper, which incorporate surprising materials like lace and strands of hair.
Meanwhile, at Space Gallery on Santa Fe Dr., a new painting exhibition by artist and environmental scientist Noelle Phares explores climate change’s impact on the natural world, and particularly the American West. “Hothouse” runs from Apr. 22 to May 28.
Jumping on the success of their Immersive Van Gogh experience, Lighthouse Immersive has launched an immersive Frida Kahlo exhibition, FRIDA: IMMERSIVE DREAM, which will be staged at Lighthouse ArtSpace Denver from March 3 – May 30. As with the van Gogh experience, guests will immerse themselves in large scale projected recreations of the artist’s work.
In a similar vein, a massive collection of works by famous guerilla artist Banksy lands in Denver April 14. The Art of Banksy, a traveling exhibition not officially authorized by Banksy, runs through June 20.
Meow Wolf recently opened a new exhibition honoring the late, beloved local artist Stevon Lucero, METAREAL – The Life and Work of Stevon Lucero, In Memoriam. Original Lucero works, some of which have never been seen by the public, will be available to view and purchase in the Galleri Gallery within the venue’s C Street universe through May 28.
And hold onto your butts — “JURASSIC WORLD: THE EXHIBITION“, a dino-mite new immersive experience, landed in Denver in early March. Visitors will get up close and personal with “live” dinosaurs and explore an interactive 20,000-square-foot space modeled after the theme park imagined in the Jurassic World films.
In February, experiential art/roller skating group Rainbow Dome launched a monthly zodiac-themed event series, “Oh My Stars!” Participants can skate through themed art installations while enjoying live DJ sets, merch and vendors. On Apr. 15 the theme is “Aries,” and on May 20, “Taurus.”
A number of Denver’s annual events and festivals will return this spring, including Denver’s Cinco de Mayo celebration! The Cinco de Mayo “Celebrate Culture” Festival will take place in Civic Center Park on May 7 and 8. It is free to attend.
Denver Fashion Week also returns this spring. From Apr. 3-10, the city will see a full schedule of walks, talks and workshops featuring fashion industry leaders in Denver and worldwide.
Denver will celebrate 4/20 this year with the return of the annual Mile HIGH Burlesque Fest from Apr. 22-23. The festival features a full weekend of cannabis-themed burlesque performances by local and national artists.
The Denver Arts Festival arrives Memorial Day weekend. On May 28 and 29, Conservatory Green in the Central Park neighborhood will be filled with vendors and artists from Colorado and around the world. Visitors can enjoy food and beverages, live music, kids activities and more.
Denver Day of Rock will once again rock downtown Denver. On May 28, the free music festival will host performances by local, national and international bands across four stages. Last year’s headliners included The Band Perry and Cale Dodds. Stay tuned for this year’s lineup!
Every year, Levitt Pavilion hosts a free outdoor music series, inviting Denverites to bring picnic blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy live performances staged out of the Ruby Hill Park amphitheater. This year’s concerts kick off mid-May, and will feature acts like Son Rompe Pera, Black Uhuru, Femi Kuti, La Santa Cecilia, Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival, Steep Canyon Rangers and more.
The Museum of Contemporary Art recently acquired the historical Holiday Theatre building. Starting this April, the museum plans to expand its programming with a live event series staged out of the theater’s 400-seat performance space. The initial lineup includes performances by Chicano Batman, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Bobby LeFebre and more.
Colorado Ballet’s final show of the season, “Ballet Masterworks,” features three impactful works: George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort and Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs. Available through Sept. 23.
Meanwhile, Ballet Ariel will perform choreography set to American in Paris, Gerswhin’s classic tale of a young woman traveling to Paris for the first time. Performances are Apr. 9 at Lone Tree Arts Center and Apr. 23 and 24 at Lakewood Cultural Center.
And Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, a cultural institution that for more than 50 years has used the power of dance to build community in Denver and honor the African Diaspora, guides us through the transition from winter to spring with their Equinox show. The beloved dance company will perform on May 6, 7 and 8.
Go for a ride!
These last two years have been a rollercoaster, and if you’re looking to let off stream look no further. A number of Denver-area amusement parks are scheduled to reopen this spring. Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park will open Apr. 30. Water World is scheduled to reopen near the end of May, and the historic Lakeside Amusement Park opens for the summer on May 14.