December 11, 2009
Jayne Gottlieb Productions had a big stage this past summer, when it set up a four-night run of “The Sound of Music” in Basalt’s Arbaney Park. But the kids theater company gets its biggest platform yet when its production of “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” gets a six-performance run at the Wheeler Opera House, leading right up to Christmas. The four-year-old company seems ready for prime time; its performances – “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and a an impressively mature version of “A Chorus Line” – tend to make you forget that the actors are, at most, teenagers. “White Christmas,” based on the 1954 film about a song-and-dance team falling for a sister act against the backdrop of a Vermont winter, opens Friday, Dec. 18 and runs through Dec. 23.
The show on Wednesday, Dec. 16 at Belly Up Aspen demonstrates some of acoustic music’s different directions. Opening is Kentucky-born singer-cellist Ben Sollee, who was seen earlier this year as a member of the Chinese folk-gospel-bluegrass hybrid, the Sparrow Quartet. Last year, Sollee released his solo debut, “Learning to Bend,” which mixed blues, pop and singer-songwriter material; next year comes “Dear Companion,” a collaboration with folkie Daniel Martin Moore, produced by Jim James of My Morning Jacket. Closing the night is the Minnesota acoustic quintet Trampled By Turtles, whose music is inspired as much by rock ‘n’ roll – the Clash, Wilco – as it is by Bill Monroe.