Cascading waterfalls over granite rocks. An 11,000-pound hydraulic glass door engineered to open outward at 90 degrees. Three hundred amphitheater-style seats, both indoors and out, that wrap around a freshwater pond and allow occupants to gaze upon the Rocky Mountains…
These are some of the features of the brand-new “Pavilion Amphitheater” at the Stanley Hotel, the historic lodge in Estes Park that famously inspired Stephen King’s The Shining.
“The Pavilion Amphitheater is a bridge between our entertainment past and future. We’re building on 109 years of cultural heritage and creating a space for the next generation of artists and audiences to connect,” says Reed Rowley, vice president of Cullen’s management company.
The Stanley is trying out another concept this month with its inaugural Stan Jam bluegrass festival, which the hotel hopes will develop its own distinctive following and cache in a state already rife with bluegrass gatherings. The new Pavilion space will be utilized briefly during that festival, which takes place on February 23 and 24, for a guided yoga session.
But the first dedicated events hosted in the Pavilion Amphitheater are a pair comedy shows headlined by Jim Breuer and Tom Papa that begin — appropriately enough — on April 20. Breuer will headline two shows on April 20, and Papa will headline a pair of sets on April 21, according to a press release from the Stanley.
No matter who’s performing, though, Rowley tells Westword that the Pavilion Amphitheater is a venue that’s worth checking out.
“The Pavilion is in a league of its own,” he says. “The custom architecture and intimate design, combined with a backdrop looking into Rocky Mountain National Park, makes the space impossible to replicate. Add the fact that guests can walk from their hotel rooms to the show and grab a drink in the whiskey bar after, and you’ve got a recipe for an unforgettable experience.”
For more information about events at the Stanley, visit the website of its entertainment arm, Stanley Live.
Chris Walker covers news and music as a staff writer at Westword. Prior to living in Denver, he spent two years bicycling across Eurasia, during which he wrote feature stories for VICE, NPR, Forbes, and The Atlantic. Read more of Chris’s feature work and view his portfolio here.