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Summer Arts Return with Theatre Performances and Free Outdoor Concerts at UNC

June 13, 2022

After two years of canceled or shortened seasons due to the pandemic, the University of Northern Colorado’s Summer Arts Season is back with several productions from the Little Theatre of the Rockies and the return of the popular series of free outdoor musical performances, Concerts Under the Stars.  

UNC’s Little Theatre of the Rockies (LTR), the oldest professional summer stock theatre west of the Mississippi and the oldest professional theatre company in Colorado, kicks off its 2022 summer production schedule June 16-19 with the murder mystery/farce Clue. Additional performances of The Revolutionists and All Shook Up are scheduled in July.  

Close to a dozen UNC alumni are returning to campus, taking on director, lighting and sound design roles in the LTR productions. And they aren’t strangers to the stage. Many performed in LTR growing up, including Megan Van De Hey, who is this year’s artistic director. Van De Hey says LTR prepared her for the professional theatre world by building her physical and mental endurance. 

“LTR has been a mainstay in my life for close to 30 years,” Van De Hey said. “I have grown as an artist and a person because of my time with LTR. I feel so lucky that the University and the community value this program because what it provides the students is invaluable.”

Above: Little Theatre of the Rockies performers rehearsing Clue at UNC.

Concerts Under the Stars features a diverse lineup of musicians every Tuesday in July, beginning with the Denver Brass on July 5. Additional performances include the Colorado Jazz Orchestra on July 12, The Burroughs on July 19 and Salsa Forte on July 26. The outdoor concerts start at 8 p.m. in UNC’s Garden Theatre and are open to the public. Blankets, picnic food and lawn chairs are welcome. 

“This year’s lineup promises a blend of sounds that include swing, funk, Latin and a taste of Americana just after the July 4 holiday, when singer Stephen Taylor joins the Denver Brass.” said Melissa Malde, Associate Dean from UNC’s College of Performing and Visual Arts. “We couldn’t have done this without the generosity of our community partners.” 

While UNC’s College of Performing and Visual Arts hosts and helps sponsor these events, generous donors also make the performances possible. UCHealth is the Premier Sponsor of the College of Performing and Visual Arts, and the Bohemian Foundation’s Littler Youth Fund Grant provided funds to ensure that Weld County Youth can attend Little Theatre of the Rockies performances at no cost. The Weld Community Foundation also supports both Concerts Under the Stars and LTR. 

“For years, Concerts Under the Stars in the Garden Theatre was an iconic summer tradition. Its absence left a noticeable vacuum,” said Rand Morgan, President and CEO of the Weld Community Foundation. “The mission of Weld Community Foundation is all about our middle name, ‘community.’ We knew our 25th Anniversary was coming up this year, and what better way to celebrate than to help bring back Concerts Under the Stars?” 

Morgan added that the event is known for bringing the community together. “Where else did individuals and whole families show up with lawn chairs, picnic blankets, and brown bag dinners, and mingle together? You see spontaneous, informal gatherings of friends and neighbors greeting, hugging, in conversation, and then settle into celebration of, sometimes dancing to, delightful music all under our beautiful, warm July skies. It brought community together -- the perfect setting for the Foundation to partner with UNC and give a meaningful gift back to the community for its support over the years.”


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