Sometimes the best stories take the things you thought you knew and turn them upside down. At least that’s what many theaters in the metro area are doing with their spring plays and musicals, and it seems to be working. In between those wacky adventures, you can also find new and old explorations of what it means to be human, if you know where to look.

Open now:

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Sean Scrutchins and Brian Landis Folkins in Amerikin at Curious Theatre.

Michael Ensminger/Curious Theatre Company

Curious Theatre, 1080 Acoma Street
7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; open through April 15
Tickets start at $32
In a production that could be Curious Theatre Company’s “most controversial play yet” — and that’s saying something, given the theater’s penchant for tackling sensitive subjects — the focus is on Jeff, a man who tries to join a white supremacy group but gets blindsided by a DNA test that reveals he isn’t completely white. Jada Dixon, the company’s new artistic director and the director of this play, says that Amerikin “doesn’t shy away from topics of hate and racism; it provides us with an opportunity to dig deep into these issues in a way that doesn’t further harm marginalized communities.”

The Book Club Play
Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada
Wednesday through Sunday, through May 18, times vary
Tickets start at $45 (discounted tickets also available)
The Arvada Center just announced what’s coming next season, but there’s still plenty to look forward to before the curtains close on this one. Chock-full of literary references, this comedy is sure to hit the spot for book lovers. Playwright Karen Zacarías says her play is “like Lord of the Flies with wine and dip.” If you’re not a bibliophile, however, check out the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Our Town, or Damn Yankees, which opens on the main stage in April.

Drinking Habits
Longmont Theatre, 513 Main Street, Longmont
7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; through March 26
Tickets are $35
What do you get when you cross a pair of nuns with a secret wine-making operation? Drinking habits (get it?). This laugh-out-loud farce begins when Sister Augusta and Sister Philamena are on the verge of getting caught by Mother Superior and two reporters who decide to go undercover at the convent. Buckle up for a wild ride of mistaken identities, paranoia, romance and good intentions gone wrong.

Tick, tick… Boom!
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton Street, Aurora
7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday; open through April 23
Tickets start at $20
From the creator of the rock musical Rent comes the story of an aspiring composer in New York City in 1990. You might recognize the name from the 2021 Netflix adaptation starring Andrew Garfield, but this version is decidedly local. Join either the Bohemian cast or the Moondance cast (or both!) in this exploration of dreams, finding your voice and waiting for that elusive big break. Then be sure to get in line for Vintage Theatre’s next production, The Inheritance, which tells a very different — and important — New York story.

Tiny Beautiful Things
Firehouse Theater, 7653 East First Place
7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; open through March 25
Tickets are $25

How often does an advice column turn into a best-selling book, a stage play and (coming in April) a TV mini-series? Probably not often. But this isn’t your typical advice column. From 2010 to 2012, then-struggling writer Cheryl Strayed gave honest, empathetic and sometimes profanity-laced advice under the pseudonym “Sugar,” and that advice struck a chord with readers. Director Peter J. Hughes hopes this play does the same for Firehouse Theater’s audiences. “This play invites us to be comfortable with our human experience so that we can thrive,” he says.

Still to Come:

Spring Awakening
Northglenn Arts, Parsons Theatre, 1 East Memorial Parkway, Northglenn
7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; Thursday, March 23, through April 8
Tickets start at $22 (see a preview performance or get rush tickets for less)
What happens when you experience your sexual awakening, but in late nineteenth-century Germany? This acclaimed alt-rock musical adaptation of a provocative 1891 play explores what it means to love and connect in a suppressive and silencing society. Be sure to catch this stirring production from Phamaly Theatre Company.

The Color Purple
Wolf Theatre, Denver Center for the Performing Arts
7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; Friday, March 31, through May 7
Tickets start at $40 (see a preview performance for less)

Alice Walker wrote a book in 1982 that told the story of Celie, a poor Black woman who is dealt one cruel blow after another in her formative years and into adulthood, but eventually rises up, one step at a time. Whether as a book, film, or stage musical, there’s a reason this story continues to resonate. Whether you’ve read or seen The Color Purple before or not, you don’t want to miss this adaptation.

I Hate Hamlet
Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden
7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; Friday, March 31, through April 23
Tickets start at $32 (or see a preview performance for less)
Being an actor just isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. At least not when the role you’re offered is the one you hate the most. Things get weird, though, when our young protagonist is visited by the ghost of stage legend John Barrymore, triggering a rivalry between the hot-shot TV star and “the greatest Hamlet of all time.” If you’re looking for something for the whole family, though, Robin Hood opens April 8.

Eden Prairie, 1971
Butterfly Effect Theatre of Colorado, 2590 Walnut Street, Boulder
7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; Thursday, April 6, through April 29
Adult tickets start at $39.55 (see a preview performance for less)
On August 7, 1971, Apollo 15 landed on the moon. Meanwhile, in the United States, young men were still being drafted to fight in the Vietnam War. On this fateful summer night, a man who evaded the draft by slipping away to Canada sneaks back across the border to his hometown in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, to deliver a message to a young woman from his high school class.

La Cage Aux Folles
Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 Main Street, Littleton
Thursday through Sunday, times vary; Friday, April 7, through April 30
Tickets start at $35
Starring local drag entertainer Dixie Krystals (who’s also on the show Generation Drag), this drag club musical comedy offers a fresh take on the classic meet-the-parents trope (and was also the basis for the 1996 film The Birdcage). Husbands and drag club owners Georges and Albin are in for a shock when they find out that their son is marrying a woman whose father is a vocally homophobic conservative politician. When the fateful meeting happens, they try to act “normal,” but, of course, things don’t quite go as planned.

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot
Metropolitan State University Denver Theatre, 855 Lawrence Way
7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday; Thursday, April 13, through April 23
Tickets start at $11

What really happened to one of the Bible’s most infamous bad guys, Judas Iscariot? The answer — at least according to this zany yet thought-provoking dark comedy — takes audiences to a courtroom in Purgatory for a riotous trial of the ages.

A Great Wilderness
Benchmark Theatre, 1560 Teller Street, Lakewood
8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; Friday, April 14, through May 13
Tickets start at $18
Mild-mannered Walt has devoted his entire life to the work of “curing” gay teens. He always believed he was helping people, doing the right thing, serving God. But on the cusp of his retirement, his final client at the retreat center disappears into the Idaho wilderness. From there, everything begins to unravel for Walt, shaking his deeply held beliefs.

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