Relationships forged under high stress situations are some of the strongest people can create. There’s a reason soldiers who serve in combat bond so deeply. Abby Rosebrock’s “Blue Ridge,” is set in another location where people are going through some of the toughest things imaginable and bond over it – a halfway house.
“Everybody knows someone with addiction problems or has gone through it themselves,” said Len Matheo, director and Miners Alley Playhouse executive and artistic director. “This show is cuttingly funny, laugh-out-loud funny, and also jaw-droppingly dramatic and serious. It’s about big issues.”
The regional premiere of “Blue Ridge” runs at Miners Alley, 1224 Washington Ave. in Golden, from Friday, April 15 through Sunday, June 5. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
The show focuses on Alison (Jessica Robblee), a progressive high school teacher with a rage problem. After she gets back at her boss, she is sentenced to six months at a church-sponsored halfway house. But she doesn’t appear to be very focused on her own recovery.
“I love this character. She’s a really interesting person, honest and well written,” Robblee said. “It’s a privilege to be in the room with characters like this. The setting feels like a place where people can be really brutally honest, and it’s still filled to the brim with solidarity and a real volatility.”
Not only does the show tackle the challenges of addiction, but the stereotypes and misconceptions that accompany life in the religious South. People make plenty of assumptions based on where a person was raised and what they believe in, and Matheo and the cast wanted to ensure audiences are treated to a more nuanced picture of human beings.
“A real complex script takes audiences on a journey from beginning to end,” he said. “I want everyone to have an experience in the theater where you’re living and observing some other person’s life and you have a cathartic moment. Theater can be a catalyst for that.”
The human connection is really the driving point of “Blue Ridge,” which Robblee said highlights just how powerful relationships can be in shaping a person’s life.
“What if there was someone in your life you could be more honest with?” she said. “I hope it inspires people to be a little more fearless to have real conversations instead of just scratching the surface. You can get somewhere new by having conversations like that.”
Get tickets at https://minersalley.com/.
Fly to the Arvada Center’s last Black Box show
The final entry in the Arvada Center’s 2022 Black Box Repertory Season is Lydia R. Diamond’s “Stick Fly,” which runs at the center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., through Thursday, May 19.
Directed by Jada Suzanne Dixon, the cast includes Lavour Addison, Ryan George, Abner Genece, Constance Swain, Kristina Fountaine, and Noelia Antweiler, and uses family drama and comedy elements that people are so familiar with. According to provided information, the film focuses on “an upper-class Black family… that effortlessly blends conversations of the interconnectedness of race and class with everyday dialogue that reflects the values of any American family.”
For tickets and information, visit https://arvadacenter.org/events/stick-fly.
Get wild at Walker Fine Art’s spring exhibition
As we get into spring and summer, many people will be spending more time out in nature. Which makes it the perfect time for Wild Narratives, the newest exhibit at Walker Fine Art, 300 W. 11th Ave., No. A in Denver. The show runs through Saturday, May 7 and the gallery’s hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Featuring the work of six artists — Angela Beloian, Gavin Benjamin, Kevin Hoth, Sammy Lee, Don Quade and Meagen Svendsen — in a range of mediums, including sculpture, photography, oil and mixed media, the show allows for exploration of the themes of home, heart and solace.
Find more information about the show at www.walkerfineart.com/wild-narratives-online-viewing-room.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Chelsea Cutler at the Boulder and Ogden Theatre
You can’t go wrong with the opportunity to see an up-and-coming performer that has all the potential to be a really special talent. With that in mind, you shouldn’t miss Westport, Connecticut’s Chelsea Cutler as she makes two stops in the Denver area — one at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 9 at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St. in Boulder and the other at 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 10, at the Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver.
Cutler made her debut in 2017 with the single “Your Shirt,” which has earned about 50 million streams on Spotify. Her most recent album, “When I Close My Eyes,” is a fantastically replayable pop album. Get tickets for either show at www.ticketmaster.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.