Theatre Aspen debuts Winter Cabaret holiday-themed shows this week |

Theatre Aspen debuts Winter Cabaret holiday-themed shows this week

Shannon Asher
Special to The Aspen Times

With a successful Summer Cabaret series under their belt, Theatre Aspen opened its first Winter Cabaret this year Sunday night with a sold-out show at the Caribou Club.

Featuring a holiday theme, the series includes four shows at four locations. The next three shows are this week.

“We’re really trying to make the show about the beauty of Aspen and the holiday season in Aspen,” director and choreographer Abbey O’Brien said in a recent phone interview. “This has actually been really special for me as I’ve always fantasized about what Aspen is like this time of year.”

Although this is O’Brien’s first time working with Theatre Aspen, she is no stranger to the theater world. She was a Broadway performer for 15 years.

“About five years ago, I quit cold turkey to be on the creative side, direct and choreograph,” O’Brien said. “Since then, I’ve always wanted to work at Theatre Aspen. It’s always been on my list.”

O’Brien took her first professional job as a Rockette 19 years ago and she has been living in New York City ever since. After her years as a Rockette, she was one of the original cast members in “Spamalot” on Broadway, followed by “Pal Joey” on Broadway and NBC’s TV show “Smash.”

After O’Brien’s transition to the creative side of things, she has been on the choreographic creative team for “Waitress” on Broadway and she also just opened “Jagged Little Pill” last week.

“I knew I had to quit cold turkey for producers and directors to take me seriously,” O’Brien said. “It was a very scary leap because you’re basically starting a new career. Even though you may think you’re not, you are. You’re starting at square one all over again.”

With just four performers in the cast plus the piano player, the Winter Cabaret offers a very intimate experience from start to finish. The performers share their individual stories throughout the show and open up about what the holidays mean to them.

“We’re diving into all the holiday classics and the pop classics,” O’Brien said. “We’ve got renditions of Bruce Springsteen, Mariah Carey, Elvis, Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole to name a few.”

The audience may even recognize some of the cast members from previous Theatre Aspen productions.

“We have one cast member, Sally, who just moved to Aspen this week,” O’Brien said. “She’s pregnant and is starting her family here in Aspen during the holiday season so this show is really special for her.”

The evening begins with a cocktail gathering, followed by a three-course meal. The performance follows dinner and runs about one hour.

“This is what I would want to be doing during the holiday season,” O’Brien said. “I want to go sit somewhere and listen to people sing my favorite Christmas carols and have yummy cocktails. I think it’s going to be a really fun night for people, and I hope this starts a new Christmas tradition in town.”

“It’s always nice to be able to enjoy a night out, among our busy schedules, amongst the news, amongst everything that’s going on in the world — and just sit back, relax and enjoy some amazing music,” O’Brien said. “I think ultimately, it’s important to remind ourselves that somehow in the chaos of the world, we’re all in this together and it’s important to share that light and love.”

There are three opportunities left to catch the holiday show. The Casa Tua performance is Tuesday night, then Pinons on Wednesday and Toro restaurant at Viceroy Snowmass concludes the series Thursday night.

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