Coming Attractions

‘Educating Rita’ gets smart treatment

Recommended activities for the coming week


Emily Van Fleet and John Hutton are very familiar with the words in the Arvada Center’s Black Box season-opener, “Educating Rita.” After all, they’re the only two people on the stage for the entirety of the show.

But while they may know the lines, its not until an audience sits down to watch the show that they’ll fully understand what the play is about.

“There’s an energy you read when you’re in front of an audience,” Van Fleet explained.

“How they react to the show tells you everything about what the show is really about,” Hutton added.

The new Black Box season kicks off with “Educating Rita,” playing from Oct. 5 through Nov. 11 at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 1 p.m. on Wednesday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Directed by Lynne Collins and loosely based on George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” — the same story that inspired “My Fair Lady” and “Pretty Woman” — the show centers on Frank and Rita. Frank is a failed poet and professor and Rita is a working-class hairdresser. The two don’t appear to have much in common, but when Rita comes to Frank to learn, they discover new depths in themselves and each other.

“There are all these dynamics at play between them,” Hutton said. “Issues like age and class, and we get a chance to explore them.”

The show is a comedy, so audiences should expect to laugh along the way, but they also shouldn’t be surprised at how moved they are by the connection between the characters.

“The show takes place in the ‘80s, but it’s just as relevant to today’s world,” Van Fleet said. “There’s a really human relationship happening between these two people and that’s the best part.”

To purchase tickets call 720-898-7200 or go to

Longmont’s modern Oktoberfest

Some Oktoberfests strive for that straight-out-of-the-Rhineland German authenticity.

And while Longmont’s annual fall celebration certainly has German elements like lederhosen and dirndls, it also features a performance by roots-blues stalwart JJ Grey and Mofro. Personally, I dig the cultural mix.

Hosted by the Left Hand Brewing Foundation, the seventh annual Longmont Oktoberfest is at Roosevelt Park, 700 Longs Peak Ave., from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5 and noon to 9 p.m on Saturday, Oct. 6. All proceeds go to St. Vrain Football Club and Left Hand Brewing Foundation.

The festival will feature more than 10 breweries, local food, and games for all ages. Ranked as a “Must Visit Oktoberfest” by DRAFT magazine, head to for all the details.

National treasure comes to Bellco

Mel Brooks is one of those people that the phrase “living legend” was created to describe. The mind behind classics like “Young Frankenstein,” “Spaceballs,” “Blazing Saddles” and countless others is somehow still touring at 92, and you can see him.

Mel Brooks’ Denver stop is at the Bellco Theatre, 700 14th St. in the Colorado Convention Center, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6.

I could make an entire column full of Brooks’ lines that still crack me up every time, but they wouldn’t be near as funny without wizards like Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor or Cloris Leachman delivering them.

If you follow Brooks on Twitter you know he’s lost none of his wit in his near-century of life. He’s reached the point where he’s as wise as he is funny — do not miss the chance to see a genius in the flesh. Get tickets at

Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Foo Fighters at Pepsi Center

The Foo Fighters are probably the closest thing people in their mid-to-late 20s have to a classic rock act that started in their lifetime. They’ve carried the flag for the kind of arena-storming music that just doesn’t get made that often any more.

This kind of rock music sounds better outside, but seeing the Foo Fighters at the Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Circle in Denver, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10 isn’t the worst way to spend an evening.

Last year’s Foos album “Concrete and Gold” was an underrated entry into a remarkably solid discography. But, even if the album wasn’t great, you know they’re going to break out “Everlong” at some point in the evening. That’s worth the price of admission alone.

A little extra enticement — Australia’s Gang of Youths is opening the show, and they’re one of the most literate and exciting bands I’ve come across in years. They make the kind of big album statements that would’ve fit perfectly in the ‘70s.

Grab your tickets to this fantastic pairing at

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


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