Excellence matters " local or global | AspenTimes.com

Excellence matters " local or global

Dear Editor:

In response to the Jan. 29 letter to the editor by Carbondale’s Jennifer Michaud, criticizing Theatre Aspen’s casting last season of too few local actors:

Since outstanding casting, along with outstanding direction, is what makes a winning theater production that sells out at the box office, theater supporters as well as actors should understand that a company cannot be hamstrung with an obligation to cast “locals” when non-local actors who are better suited to specific roles are available. Does Jennifer think that a company would purposely pass up the perfect actor for a role just because they’re local, in order to cast a less appropriate actor just because they’re from somewhere else … even Broadway?

As longtime regular theater-goers in NYC, London, and wherever we happen to be, we think not. Every company auditions in hopes of discovering a new “star” and it doesn’t matter where they come from, but the company’s chief objective is to produce an outstanding production that receives rave reviews and keeps everybody employed. Aspen’s cultural audiences come from the Roaring Fork Valley and from all over the world where they are exposed to the highest artistic and intellectual standards. Aspen’s audiences have become accustomed to finding those standards in Aspen, where the level of excellence of the Aspen Music Festival, Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet, Aspen Institute, Aspen Art Museum, Anderson Ranch, and of many other “local” cultural organizations, is widely recognized by their peers and audiences the world over.

So it behooves Theatre Aspen to maintain the same high standards of excellence. And when the economy gets tough, the champions of excellence get going, to protect the standards that put them in business in the first place. It makes sense to cast local, hire local, buy local and think local as long as doing so contributes to an excellent product (whether groceries or theater) that the public is willing to pay for, enabling the business to stay in business. And when it doesn’t you have to think beyond local to global, or risk closing your doors. Theatre Aspen’s productions last season were the best we’ve seen from them (and we do recall seeing several local actors including a couple of local leads). So the company with Paige Price’s guidance must be doing something right.

Allen and Kelli Questrom


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