Free shows

Five-month-old Juliet, who was modeling some Dalmatian ears this week, is looking forward to Friday’s free “101 Dalmatians” shows at the Sheridan Opera House. (Courtesy photo) 

It’s safe to say that people are happy to see live entertainment in the box canyon again. Over the past week, Telluride Theatre’s “Macbeth” sold out before opening night Saturday. Crowds at the recent Ride Festival, including the shows at the Sheridan Opera House, were excitable and energetic. The entertainment offerings are for all ages, too. 

This week, Young People’s Theater held its first class of the annual Summer Spectacular program for kids in grades 3-6, which typically includes up to 25 performers. The kids showed up Monday without seeing a script, and by the end of the week, they’re acting, singing and dancing in free shows. 

This week, the students are tackling “101 Dalmatians,” with two free shows Friday at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. 

The classic Disney tale follows Dalmatians Pongo, Perdita and their beloved puppies as they avoid ending up as the coat of stylish yet evil Cruella de Vil. 

British author Dodie Smith created the story in her 1956 novel “The Hundred and One Dalmatians,” but interest has most recently been revived thanks to Disney’s new “Cruella” live-action movie that explores the character’s backstory. 

“‘101 Dalmatians’ is a such a beloved story that we’ve had tons of positive feedback about the choice. We had a waitlist for the camp within days of registration opening,” artistic director Leah Heidenreich said in a news release.

On July 30, the cast will be tackling “Frog and Toad.” While a slightly lesser known musical, the books of “Frog and Toad,” which shaped many a childhood, was a hit on Broadway, as “A Year with Frog and Toad” was nominated for three Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Based on Arnold Lobel's well-loved children books, and featuring a hummable score by Robert and Willie Reale, the whimsical show follows two great friends — the cheerful, popular Frog, and the rather grumpy Toad — through four fun-filled seasons. 

The show is also special Heidenreich for a different reason.  

“‘A Year with Frog and Toad’ was the first musical I ever directed. The stories are timeless, and the music is some of the liveliest to ever hit Broadway. I’m excited to help these kids bring some of their favorite stories to life with one of my personal favorite scores,” she said. 

The free shows are open to the public. Everyone ages two and up must wear a mask the entire time they are inside the Sheridan Opera House for the performances, as the Sheridan Arts Foundation will not be checking for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test at the door, unlike other shows since the space reopened, according to the news release.

Tickets and more info about the free shows can be found at sheridanoperahouse.com.

But wait, there’s more. On Tuesday, the opera house announced the return of $1 community nights, which means anyone can see some live music for $1. 

“Dear friends of the Sheridan Opera House, we are excited to bring back $1 Community Night at the Sheridan Opera House featuring Boulder-based American roots-rock band Flash Mountain Flood on Thursday, August 5, at 9 p.m.,” the announcement read. “Tickets really are only $1 and not sold in advance. It's been a rough year for everyone, come join us for a night of dancing and celebration. Dollar Community Night started at the suggestion of our late board member Adam Max so as to keep the opera house accessible to everyone no matter their income level. We are honored to continue this event. The night kicks off with free music from Six Dollar String Band as part of happy hour on the SHOW Bar Patio from 6-8 p.m.”