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Celebrate theater, Aspen style

Dear Editor:

It’s easy to find yourself getting downright blase about many things that Aspen has to offer when you grow up here: the stunning vistas for one thing and the community and arts scene for another.

It’s not really until you grow up and leave that you fully appreciate what a gift Aspen has given you. Living now as an actress, writer and producer in New York, I am continually surprised to discover that not everyone grew up with such an astounding sense of community and, despite our town’s small size, an incredibly rich arts scene. Every time now that I step off the plane and breathe in the crisp, clean air and bump, immediately and inevitably, into someone I know, I realize instantly that I am home.



It would be impossible to quantify what the Aspen arts community has given me. As a socially awkward, creatively frenetic young person, I found my people and myself in the Aspen arts organizations. I grew into myself annually swiping Clara’s presents as a mouse in the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s “Nutcracker,” getting to be the only child in a grown-up production of Aspen Community Theatre’s “Little Night Music,” earning my first professional acting paycheck from Theatre Aspen (then Aspen Theater in the Park), having my first-ever 10-minute play produced by Theater Masters and, thrillingly, receiving a literary prize from the hands of Malachy McCourt through the Aspen Writers’ Foundation.

The Aspen arts community gave me not only a place to practice and shape a skill set that continues to serve me every day but also the confidence to tarry forth in the great wide world and the Aspen-bred, scrappy determination to make my dreams a reality.



It has been my great joy that, as I went to college and then on to New York, my relationship with these organizations has continued. Through Theatre Masters, I have had the exceptional opportunity to return many winters to perform with Take Ten and then, a few years ago, to return with a performance of my own full-length play, “May-December with the Nose and Clammy.”

I have watched with relish myriad annual productions, whether in-person or later, via video recordings, often featuring my brother and sister, Obadiah and Talitha, who have certainly benefited in turn from each of these organizations. It is now with unmitigated excitement, that I am able to return to the Aspen Wheeler Opera House on June 1, not only to present the trailer for my latest project, a feature film that I wrote and am co-producing called “Under Her Skin,” but also to host a celebration of the Aspen arts scene and pay it forward to a local student with the Dare to Dream award.

I am proud to say that many of the aforementioned organizations will be participating. I hope that you will all join me that night, as my guest, to celebrate the rich Aspen arts community that has given me, and so many like me, such an exceptional gift. For info about the event, please visit http://www.underherskin.com.

Naomi McDougall Jones

Aspen


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