Theatre Aspen to honor Betty Gates at benefit |

Theatre Aspen to honor Betty Gates at benefit

Bob and Betty Gates.
Courtesy photo |

If You Go …

What: “Hot! Hot! Hot!,” a benefit for Theatre Aspen

Where: Hotel Jerome

When: Saturday, March 7, 6:30 p.m.

More info:

Theatre Aspen will honor its board member and longtime local philanthropist Betty Gates at the nonprofit’s annual benefit on March 7.

Since the early 1990s, Gates and her husband, Bob, have supported Theatre Aspen along with arts nonprofits like the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Theatre Masters.

“Bob and I have always like nonprofits that are struggling, because then our money can really make a difference,” she said.

Seeing the success and maturation of an organization like Theatre Aspen through the years, Gates said, has been a gratifying experience.

“They’ve become like our family,” she said. “I’ve loved every minute of it,”

A lifelong lover of the theater, Gates said her favorite Theatre Aspen production was “Les Miserables” in 2013, which brought the epic musical to the nonprofit’s tent in Rio Grande Park.

“’Les Mis’ was probably better than the show on Broadway,” she said. “It was so intimate that you really felt like you were involved in the staging. It was brilliant.”

Along with the usual board member duties – cutting checks, hosting fundraisers, and the like – Gates does ample research for the nonprofit. Asked what Broadway and Off-Broadway shows she’d seen recently, she rattled off about a dozen new productions and revivals – “You Can’t Take it With You,” “The Elephant Man,” “Constellations,” “Kinky Boots”– and offered shorthand reviews.

“I’ve always been into theater,” she said. “It courses through my veins.”

Theatre Aspen will honor Gates at its annual costume gala – a speakeasy and cabaret theme this year, in keeping with this summer’s production of “Cabaret” – on March 7 at the Hotel Jerome. The event also includes a live auction with Robbie Gordy, of Christie’s New York.

The event is Theatre Aspen’s biggest fundraiser, with proceeds going toward year-round education programs, its summer repertory theater and a new end-of-summer festival that will launch in 2015.

The theater company’s summer lineup will include the musical “Cabaret,” the family friendly “Junie B. Jones – The Musical” and the drama “Other Desert Cities.”

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