Aspen’s sense of community is dead, right? So how come everywhere you look these days ” the Red Brick Center for the Arts, the Aspen District Theatre, the Aspen Art Museum ” the heartbeat of the local arts community is loud and strong? The Wheeler Opera House, and Aspen’s rock scene, gets into the action with Localized, on Wednesday, Nov. 19. The music showcase features three bands, all comprising mostly upvalley talent: the funk-rock of Jes’ Grew and Funky Miracle, and the jazzy-bluesy sounds of the Derek Brown Band, all of whom will emphasize original material. Expect a special feeling in the house; for instance, Randolph Turner, lead singer of Jes’ Grew and a prominent figure in Aspen’s clubs and halls for nearly two decades, gets his first turn on the Wheeler stage. Tickets are a local-friendly $10.
Anne Hathaway, who made her name playing various sorts of princesses, took a step toward grittier fare in “Brokeback Mountain.” But even there, she played the graceful, well-off cowgirl Lureen. With “Rachel Getting Married,” she scrubs off the makeup and steps out of the world of glamour. Hathaway, with darkened eyes and a messy haircut, stars as Kym, an emotionally haunted young woman who has been losing her battle with addiction for years. Kym gets out of her latest rehab stint to see her well-adjusted sister, Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt), get married at the family’s upscale Connecticut estate. Predicting what happens next ” unearthing past horrors, family conflicts in every permutation ” is simple, but director Jonathan Demme’s relentlessly confrontational tone, and the crowd of artsy types who make up the wedding guest list, puts this into indie heaven. “Rachel Getting Married” is at the Isis Theatre.
It’s hard to imagine how Aspen Community Theatre’s “Chicago” could come much closer to Broadway standards. The singing is flawless, the set is a knock-out, the orchestra is wonderful, the costumes are stunning, the lead players are memorable, the puppet scene is beyond belief. And all these elements are topped by the choreography. It all adds up to a razzle-dazzle theater experience that defies the notion of “community theater.” Come to think of it, though, there is one way to tell this is not New York City: Had it been on Broadway, the run would have been extended indefinitely, and holiday tourists would be lining up for tickets. As it is, “Chicago” closes after a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 16 at the Aspen District Theatre.
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