Chris Coleman, Artistic Director of the Theatre Company at Denver Center for the Performing Arts, stands in the empty Randy Weeks Conservatory Theatre where events have been canceled due to COVID-19, on June 11, 2020. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)
Thanks to changes in the state’s color-coded COVID-19 dial this week, metro-area performing arts companies can return to indoor stages to perform and rehearse — albeit without audiences, and with permission from the Colorado Department of Health.
Starting Monday, nonprofit arts companies can apply under the new rules, outlined in the revised Public Health Order 20-36, for “permission to conduct performances or rehearsals without an audience.” That potentially includes dozens of otherwise idle dance, theater, opera and classical-music outfits looking for places to practice, or record shows for streaming.
It’s too early to know who will get approval, but major cultural groups that have sat quiet for most of 2020 are already eyeing the order, given that Gov. Jared Polis on Monday eased restrictions in 33 Colorado counties — including Denver.
Denver Center for the Performing Arts, which was forced to furlough or lay off more than half of its staff last year amid Broadway and Theatre Company cancellations, is currently renovating its Bonfils Theatre, but may reopen its Seawell Ballroom for private use, according to a spokeswoman.
“The Ballroom has the green light to return to in-person events for up to 50 people in the orange level,” she said. “We are finding that most clients are still preferring to utilize our virtual broadcast options, though a few are hoping to have a ‘hybrid’ model where they would host a virtual event but invite a small in-person audience. The first fully in-person event we have booked is a wedding in April, and even that has a backup date.”
In the meantime, museums that are planning to reopen this week include the Clyfford Still Museum, which reopened Tuesday, and the Children’s Museum at Marsico Campus, reopening Jan. 7. Officials at the Children’s Museum, which has been at a disadvantage during coronavirus due to its “high-touch” environment, will begin a phased reopening that includes exhibitions such as Bubbles, Ready Vet Go, Kinetics and 3 2 1 Blast Off. Timed, ticketed reservations are required.
The lobby of the Cinemark Century Theatre in Boulder, pre-COVID-19. (Lewis Geyer, Longmont Times Call file)
Museums such as Denver Art Museum, History Colorado Center, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls & Toys, and others have already been operating in recent weeks. Joining them, and potentially competing against them this week, are Cinemark’s nine Colorado locations along the Front Range, spanning Fort Collins to Pueblo.
“The theatres are reopening in accordance with updated local mandates and will be showing both new and classic films,” according to a press statement. “The theatres reopen in time to showcase this year’s newest hits, including ‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ ‘News of the World,’ ‘Promising Young Woman,’ ‘Monster Hunter’ and more. Tickets will be on sale starting today (Tuesday, Jan. 5) for standard showtimes and Private Watch Parties at www.cinemark.com.”
While Cinemark and other officials continue to tout their safety measures, the spread of the novel coronavirus in Colorado remains high. The state health department recorded 14,041 new infections in the week ending on Sunday, a slight increase from the 13,960 cases from the previous week, following a three-week decline, The Denver Post reported this week.
Other movie theaters with current public showings include Front Range AMC locations in Castle Rock, Parker and Highlands Ranch, as well as the Sloan’s Lake location of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Most other exhibitors, including Denver Film’s Sie FilmCenter, Landmark Theatres and UA/Regal locations, remain closed.
Here’s the full list of Cinemark’s reopened theaters:
1700 29th St., Boulder
Cinemark Carefree Circle and IMAX
3305 Cinema Point, Colorado Springs
Cinemark Tinseltown USA and XD
1545 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., Colorado Springs
Cinemark Fort Collins
4721 South Timberline Rd, Fort Collins
Cinemark Movie Bistro and XD
335 E. Foothills Parkway, Fort Collins
Cinemark Greeley Mall
2160 Greeley Mall, Greeley
Century 16 Bel Mar and XD
440 S. Teller St., Lakewood
Cinemark Tinseltown Pueblo
4140 North Freeway, Pueblo
Century Aurora and XD
14300 E. Alameda Ave., Aurora