Aspen Times Weekly: Current Events |

Aspen Times Weekly: Current Events

by Andrew Travers
"Higher Ups" featuring Nick Lopez and China Kwan (pictured) was featured in Theater Masters' 2008 Take Ten festival. This year's plays run Feb. 1 through 3, with a panel discussion at the Aspen Institute on Saturday, Jan. 31.
Aspen Times file |


Established performers and writers from stage and screen join with emerging playwrights from around the U.S. and local high schoolers for Theater Masters’ annual “Take Ten” productions, National MFA Playwrights Festival and Aspiring Playwrights Competition.

This year’s festivities include three nights of 10-minute plays in “Take Ten” performances Feb. 1-3 at the Aspen High School Black Box Theatre. The short productions — always a highlight of winter theater in the valley — include plays by graduate students from programs at Columbia, Fordham, the University of Iowa and Yale, among other leading schools, and locals from Aspen, Basalt and Glenwood Springs high schools.

The plays are being produced this year with assistance from renowned Broadway and film actress Kathleen Chalfant and Primary Stages artistic director Andrew Leynse. They will join Theatre Masters artistic director Julia Hansen for a panel discussion on “Social Responsibility: The Role of the Storyteller in Today’s Society,” on Saturday, Jan. 31 at 5 p.m. in the Koch Building at the Aspen Institute.

The program brings professionals and students together to produce the short plays here annually, in a fast-paced evening of theater, followed by a spring production in New York.

“Take Ten” productions include casts of local actors and the return of hometown girl Naomi McDougall Jones, who a decade ago won a Theater Masters high school competition and now serves as Theater Masters associate artistic and managing director. Since high school in Aspen, Jones has gone on to see her work produced in New York, while landing film and TV roles. Last year, the film “Imagine I’m Beautiful,” which she wrote, produced and starred in, enjoyed a festival run and a special Wheeler Opera House screening.

Tickets for “Take Ten” shows are $25 and available at Saturday’s panel is free.

Read more about Theater Masters and this year’s “Take Ten” plays in the Jan. 30 Weekend section of The Aspen Times Jan. 30.


Fed up with our lawmakers in Washington? Think our society is continuing its long, slow, circle down the toilet bowl? Then you’ve got a friend in Lewis Black.

The comedian, best known for his “Back in Black” rants on “The Daily Show,” brings his brilliant social commentary to the Wheeler Opera House for a Jan. 30 show.

Tickets are $65 and available at the Wheeler box office and

Bring questions if you have them. On his current tour, Black has been taking audience questions and live-streaming his answers.

Read an interview with Lewis Black in the Jan. 30 Weekend section of The Aspen Times.


Among the newest additions to the local art scene, the Aspen Jewish Community Center Gallery hosts its second opening on Tuesday, Feb. 3 with a free reception from 6-8 p.m.

The show will exhibit a survey of work by Nebraska artist Paula Wallace, whose paintings use a lush saturation of color for scenes ranging from stark and powerful portraits to rich landscapes and whimsical scenes of mice and other creatures.

Wallace’s show — titled “What Was I Thinking?” —will run through April 12.