Coming Attractions

Exuberant show sets tone for Arvada Center season

Recommended activities for the coming week

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The first show in a theater’s season sets the tone for the rest of the year, and by opening its 2018-19 season with “Mamma Mia!” the Arvada Center’s message is clear — this year is going to be bigger than ever.

“This show is really just the best time,” said actress Shannan Steele, who plays Donna Sheridan in the production. “Audiences are in for a party and they’re going to relish every bit of the music.”

“Mamma Mia!” runs at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Sept. 7-30. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, matinees are at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Directed by Rod A. Lansberry, the show is based on the music of Swedish pop icons ABBA. Donna lives on a Greek island with her daughter, Sophie (Mariah MacFarlane). Donna is a hotel owner, and between that and Sophie she seems to be perfectly content. But when Sophie goes in search of her father so he can be a part of her wedding, Donna’s world gets turned upside down.

“I love Donna because she’s so independent and is really a rock star in her own right,” Shannan said. “As a mother myself I understand trying to maintain that balance of independence and the love she has in her heart. Donna really explores the vast depths that come with being a mother.”

Audiences will almost certainly recognize ABBA standards like “Dancing Queen” and “Take A Chance on Me,” and it’s the kind of show where people have to actively stop themselves from dancing. There’s not a lot of dialogue in the show, Shannan said, so not only is music the main communication tool, but it also illuminates and deepens the relationships between the characters.

“The ensemble in this show is so strong and that just adds to the overall experience,” she added. “This is the kind of show where the audience is going to feel like a part of the show experience.”

For tickets call 720-898-7200 or visit www.arvadacenter.org/mamma-mia.​

Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Stones Throw Party at Summit Music Hall

Mention Stones Throw Records to appreciators of independent hip-hop, electronic and soul music, and you’re bound to see their eyes light up. Founded by Chris Manak (known as Peanut Butter Wolf) in 1996, the label has released monumental records like Madlib and MF DOOM’s “Madvillainy” and J Dilla’s “Donuts” and introduced the world to artists like Mayer Hawthorne and NxWorries.

Three members of the label’s impressive roster — Dam Funk, J. Rocc and Hawthorne — will be performing at the Stones Throw Party at Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake St., at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8.

J. Rocc is the founder of the influential World Famous Beat Junkies DJ crew, and has released numerous mixtapes in addition to production for Stones Throw releases. Damon “Dam-Funk” Riddick is a passionate advocate for funk as a vital genre of music. And Hawthorne will cap the evening off with a DJ set.

Score tickets at www.summitdenver.com while they’re still available.

The Late Late Weekend with Craig Ferguson

I really miss having Craig Ferguson on my television on the regular. During his time on CBS’ “The Late Late Show” he was a funny, at times melancholic voice in an industry too often overflowing with gimmicks and nothing to say.

In addition to being a host, director and novelist, Ferguson has a long history as a stand-up comedian. And he’ll be embracing that role when he spends four nights at the Comedy Works Downtown, 1226 15th St. in Denver, Sept. 7 through 10.

Ferguson’s most recent comedy album, “Here to Help,” earned him a Grammy nomination and he also launched a SiriusXM radio program called “The Craig Ferguson Show.”

Get tickets by visiting www.comedyworks.com/comedians/craig-ferguson.

A legend in person at Sloan’s Lake

Fantasy as a film genre was at an interesting point in the 1980s. Visual effects were coming along, though most of the time they look remarkably cheesy to contemporary eyes, and they focused too much on the traditional hero rescues the damsel in distress trope.

Still, there’s something to be said for rewatching childhood favorites, especially with one of the stars.

The Sloan’s Lake Alamo Drafthouse, 4255 W. Colfax Ave. in Denver, is hosting a screening of Ridley Scott’s cult favorite, “Legend,” featuring a poetry session with co-lead Mia Sara before the movie. Sara will be reading her poetry at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14, followed by the film at 9:30.

“Legend” was one of the first of many movies featuring Tom Cruise as the lead. Cruise plays Jack, a young man who finds himself in a battle against the Lord of Darkness to save daylight and steal Sara’s Lili.

Sara will be reading as part of Alamo’s poetry reading series, Ham On Rye. And maybe she’ll even take some questions on “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

Go to www.drafthouse.com/denver/for tickets.

Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.

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