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Grease comes to Denver's Buell Theatre from Oct. 12 through 17.
Grease comes to Denver’s Buell Theatre from Oct. 12 through 17.

The University of Colorado’s theater department is entering middle age. To mark the occasion of its 50th season, the department will present a performance that begins in the days of the eight-tracks and rabbit-ear TVs and spins its way to the time of iPods and HD.

“Then ‘Til Now” is a readers’ theater piece that culls influential words and events from the past 50 years.

“It will be a mosaic of news stories, speeches, song lyrics, poetry and cuttings from novels,” said Ray Kemble, who compiled the material for the project. Other sources include television, films and plays, he added.

Among the earlier moments the retrospective will highlight is John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech, followed by his death in 1963. The following year, “Then ‘Til Now” director Lynn Nichols pointed out, Barack Obama was born.

Rather than a staged play, the performance, featuring a cast of eight CU students, will be simple and scaled down, Nichols said.

“I want it to be more something that people listen to,” Nichols said.

Kemble called the piece “a steeplechase for the ear.”

The “Then ‘Til Now” steeplechase will be performed in CU’s Loft Theatre Sept. 15-19.

More CU

The other theater production scheduled for the Loft Theatre at CU this fall is Christopher Marlowe’s drama “Tamburlaine” (Sept. 29-Oct. 3).

On the larger University Mainstage, audiences can see “The Ingenious Chambermaid” (Oct. 14-24), an 18th-century comedy by Italian writer Carlo Goldoni; and “Marisol” (Nov. 11-19), a play by writer Jose Rivera ( “The Motorcycle Diaries” ) set in a post-apocalyptic Brooklyn.

CU and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival will jointly produce “A Christmas Carol” beginning Nov. 20, as well.

For further information, visit cutheatre.org.

On the Fringe

If you just can’t wait that long to get to a theater, the Boulder International Fringe Festival runs through Aug. 29.

From one-person confessionals to magic shows to experimental forays, the Fringe offers a range of theater in several local venues, including the Wesley Chapel across from Folsom Field.

Check out a list of performers, venues and times at boulderfringe.com.

Dairy Center

Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, which produces plays at Boulder’s Dairy Center for the Arts, will bring the Boulder premiere of “Doubt” to the stage Sept. 30-Oct. 23.

“Doubt,” by John Patrick Shanley, is a powerful drama set in a Catholic school where an unyielding nun suspects a colleague of conducting an illicit relationship with a young student. The play won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Visit boulderensembletheatre.org for more details.

Also at the Dairy Center, The Upstart Crow Theatre Company celebrates its 31st season of presenting classical theater with Oscar Wilde’s “An Ideal Husband” in September and William Shakespeare’s rarely performed play “King John” in November.

Check out theupstartcrow.org for more information.

Theatre O will produce the regional premiere of Mary Zimmerman’s “The Arabian Nights” in November. Visit theatreo.org for details.

Denver Center

If you’re seeking the big-Broadway-styled experience, Denver Center Attractions has a fall lineup of touring productions.

“Grease” slips into Denver’s Buell Theatre Oct. 12-17, followed by “Mamma Mia!,” the ABBA-inspired musical, Nov. 2-7. A large green ogre belches his way to laughs and love in “Shrek, the Musical” Nov. 16-28.

The Buell hosts the rhythmic and visually inventive Blue Man Group Dec. 7-19, as well.

For more details on shows at the Buell Theatre, visit denvercenter.org.

Boulder’s Dinner Theatre

Closer to home, Boulder’s Dinner Theatre will stage the regional premiere of the musical revue “Shout!” Billed as “a mod musical,” the show features a cast of five women who sing their way through 1960s Brit-girl pop hits like “Downtown,” “To Sir With Love” and “The Son of a Preacher Man.”

“Shout!” opens Sept. 10, and plays Wednesdays through Sundays through the fall. Visit bouldersdinnertheatre.com for more details.

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