Last year’s production of “Oklahoma!” by Basalt High School was an eye-opener as to what can be accomplished by a small group of committed people. Five years ago, Basalt High had no theater program of its own; instead, it staged its annual spring musical in collaboration with Roaring Fork High. Then Jane Cigrand, a substitute teacher in Basalt, made a push for Basalt High’s theater contingent to stand on its own; her effort culminated in the hiring of stage veteran John Goss. Basalt High’s productions have escalated each year, from the cheerful ’50s musical “Grease” in 2002, to last year’s “Oklahoma!” which spared none of the darker tones of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s tale. The production, especially the choreography, impressed both students and their parents. (Goss also has been handling choreography for Aspen Community Theatre the last few years.) This year, Basalt High tackles “Guys & Dolls,” Frank Loesser’s story of gamblers and their girls from characters created by Damon Runyan. The score includes “Luck Be a Lady” and “Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat.” Performances are Friday and Saturday, April 21-22, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 23, at 2 p.m.
This was a ski season worth celebrating, with abundant snowfall and the glorious opening of Deep Temerity at Aspen Highlands. Some would say the season was so good that the celebration should include extending it a few weekends. As that is seeming unlikely, the next best thing is joining the Aspen Skiing Co.’s closing day party, Sunday, April 16, at Snowmass. The bash includes the inaugural Junkyard Jam, a competition on a junk-filled skateboard-style terrain park near the Snowmass Halfpipe. A few steps away, at the Spider Sabich picnic area, West Indies-born, Colorado-based Djate & the Rockers will send the season off on a reggae vibe. The bash includes a barbecue and beer garden. Those who must extend the season, if only by a few hours, can continue partying: local funk band Jes’ Grew plays apres-ski at the Cirque in Snowmass, and the Belly Up has nighttime sounds with the Benevento/Russo Duo and Elliot Lipp.
From the vantage point of early 2006, Academy Award voters deemed “Crash” the best film of the previous 12 months. The choice, over the presumed favorite “Brokeback Mountain,” stirred up some controversy. A question, however, always lingers over the Oscars: Will history treat a Best Picture winner as well as the Academy voters did? The answer is: don’t count on it. “Forrest Gump” has earned ridicule for winning over the far more significant “Pulp Fiction” in 1994; other “winners” include “A Beautiful Mind,” “Gladiator” and “Chariots of Fire,” hardly considered classics now. Aspen filmgoers have a chance to get a fresh, post-Oscar perspective on last year’s nominees; all five are showing at the Wheeler Opera House this month. (This week, it’s “Brokeback Mountain” Tuesday and Wednesday, April 18-19; “Good Night, and Good Luck,” Thursday and Friday, April 20-21; and “Crash,” Sunday through Tuesday, April 23-25; the following week brings “Munich” and “Capote.”) The prediction here is that “Brokeback Mountain” will prevail in the eyes of history as the best of the bunch. “Crash” will start to seem dated. “Capote” will continue to stand tall on the strength of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s performance, while “Good Night, and Good Luck” and “Munich” will fade as the years go by.
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