Lone Tree, Colorado: New Performing Arts Center Takes Shape

The peaked-roof building rising up in the Lincoln Commons area of RidgeGate in Lone Tree, Colorado, just one-half mile west of Interstate 25, is the Lone Tree Arts Center, slated for a grand opening in August 2011.

Now patrons of the arts in the south Denver suburbs will have the convenience of performing arts right in their neighborhood. While not as large as Denver’s Center for Performing Arts, its performances will be as professional as any downtown show and just as relevant to the art world, according to Chris Wiger, director of marketing and public relations. The facility will also serve as a meeting place and event center for the community.

The mid-sized center will be divided into three theaters: a 500-seat proscenium Mainstage Theatre with balcony and orchestra seating; a multi-purpose room with a seating capacity of 150-250 for either meeting space or theatre in a horseshoe configuration; and the Terrace Theatre, an outdoor amphitheater with space for 300, including terraced lawn seating for blankets and picnics. A folding glass wall will open the stage to the outdoor seating area. The spacious lobby can also be used as meeting space and as a venue for permanent art displays, as well as art shows. Two restaurants will be on site for before- and after-show dining.

The Arts Center will open in August 2011.

Special attention has been given to acoustics, something not found in most mid-size theaters. For example, all the heating and air conditioning is built under the seats and diffused, so theater goers will not hear sounds of the furnace or cooling system. Curtains can be pulled over hard-surfaced walls to soften sound or left open when sound needs to bounce back. Paul Ackerman of the Blue Man Group has been hired as the technical director for the state-of-the-art facility.

The city of Lone Tree owns the contemporary building that’s highlighted by stone, stucco and glass and topped with a metal roof. Designed by Westlake Reed Leskosky based in Cleveland, it is awaiting LEED certification for its green initiatives. The design fits well in the neighborhood in both size and color. The builder is G. E. Johnson Construction of Greenwood Village.

At this time, the Lone Tree Arts Center will not have a resident theatre company. Programming will include national and regional touring performances. The Arvada Center will bring its shows for a week- or two-week run, and other local companies may do the same. It will also be the home of The Lone Tree Symphony Orchestra that has been performing in churches around the area.

“We are so excited to open the Lone Tree Arts Center at the end of summer,” says Executive Director Lisa Rigsby Peterson. “Now, we’ll have a chance to see excellent community groups performing in a professional theater setting, as well as a wide variety of professional touring programs. Instead of driving 45 minutes fighting traffic and parking issues, residents can conveniently make the center part of their entertainment and cultural lives.”

In addition to enjoying the intimacy of its theaters and free parking, patrons will get the royal treatment. “We are small enough that we can provide a concierge level of service for our patrons,” says Wiger. “I want our ushers and box office people to recognize our patrons by name; and, for example, be able to make dinner reservations for them. And I personally would love to have our box office and website link to every computer in every business in the Tech Center and I-25 corridor.”

Wiger previously served 15 years as director of public relations with the Denver Center Theatre Company. The booking website (which is under construction) will have the Audience View System that enables online purchasers to see the view of the stage from the seats they choose when buying tickets.

Right now, lonetreearts.org is live with information on construction, rental applications and season ticket subscriptions. You can also sign up for the LTAC newsletter, which will list volunteer opportunities, such as ushers, tour guides, planners and hosts of special events.

If You Go

Lone Tree Arts Center
10075 Commons St.
Lone Tree, Colorado 80124

Award-winning journalist Claudia Carbone is the editor of Out of Denver. She has enjoyed performing arts since attending her father’s operas with his company Denver Grand Opera when she was a little girl.