November 2, 2007
Last year, to celebrate its 30th anniversary, Aspen Community Theatre pulled out the heavy ammunition: the much-loved “Fiddler on the Roof,” filled with recognizable songs. For its 31st, ACT steps down the name recognition, with “She Loves Me.” The musical merits a higher profile: It was nominated for a Tony Award for best musical when it premiered in 1963; the 1993 Broadway revival earned a bunch more Tony nominations, and an award for actor Boyd Gaines. Earlier this year, when The New York Times compiled a list of essential Broadway musicals from each decade, “She Loves Me” was included with the Fiddlers, West Side Stories and Sound of Musics. Audiences may be more familiar with the story of “She Loves Me” more than they realize; the play on which it is based ” “Parfumerie,” by Hungarian Miklos Laszlo ” was also the source of the movies “The Shop Around the Corner,” “In the Good Old Summertime” and 1998’s “You’ve Got Mail.” And if “Fiddler” fans detect a hint of something they like, it might be because “She Loves Me” features lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and music by Jerry Bock ” the same duo behind “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Sunrise, Sunset.” ACT’s production, directed by Michael Monroney and featuring real-life couple Nikki Boxer and John Boxer as the bickering lovers who meet through the personals, opens Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Wheeler Opera House.
New York rapper Rakim didn’t invent hip-hop; he just pioneered the kind revered by true connoisseurs of the art form, and mimicked by commercially successful rappers for the last two decades. For his pioneering word play, liquid flow, and can’t-trademark cool delivery, the Long Island native is widely acknowledged in fan polls as one of greatest ever to pick up a microphone and tick off rhymes. At least, that is, to fans who can trace the link between hip-hop’s present and future to its innovative, hard-knocks past. Because he hasn’t released an album in eight years, and only two in the last 15, Rakim (pronounced Rah-kem) isn’t a household name to a whole generation of young hip-hop fans. They know his offspring ” everything from Nas to Eminem ” but they don’t know the master himself. The Hip Hop Live! tour hopes to remedy that. The legendary rapper shares a bill with one of the most critically acclaimed MCs of the moment, Wu-Tang Clan founding member Ghostface Killah, and Twin Cities up-and-comer Brother Ali. If not innovative enough, all three rappers’ sets are backed by a 10-piece live band, the Los Angeles-based Rhythm Roots Allstars. The tour has already drawn rave reviews during its run through the West, and arrives in Aspen on the Belly Up stage Nov. 9.