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Gram Slaton has been selected as the new executive director of the Wheeler Opera House. Slaton succeeds Nida Tautvydas and is set to begin the job in early October.Slaton, who was chosen from more than 90 applicants, most recently served as head of the Community Arts Center in Williamsport, Pa., a position he has held since 1993. He was hired after an interview process conducted by a combination of city administrators, Wheeler board members and representatives of local arts organizations. The 51-year-old Slaton has been in the administrative end of the performing arts industry for 28 years.Among Slaton’s first tasks will be to hire an operations manager for the 116-year-old opera house. A report from an outside consultant advised that the director’s job be split into two.The Wheeler, owned by the city of Aspen, is host to such events as Aspen Filmfest, the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, the Aspen Music Festival’s opera productions, local school plays and more.

Aspen Community Theatre has announced the cast and crew for its production of “Pippin.” The musical, by Roger O. Hirson and with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, shows Nov. 3-6 and 10-13, at the Aspen District Theatre.Starring as Pippin, the son of Charlemagne who searches for ultimate happiness in war and love, is Paul Dankers. Also featured in the play are Bob Moore as Charlemagne, Kincaid Daniel as Theo, Whitney Morse as Catherine, Maureen Jackson as Fastrada, Jane Robertson as Berte, and Doug Weiser as Lewis. Adam Bartley is the leader of the band of players.Directing “Pippin” is Wendy Moore, who last conducted for ACT with 2000’s “The Wizard of Oz.” Producers are Rita Hunter and Jody Hecht. David Dyer is music director and conductor, with John Goss as choreographer. Other members of the production crew include Tom Ward (sets), Loren Wilder (lighting), Gordon Wilder (sound), and Kathleen Albert (costumes).Evening performances (Nov. 3-5 and 10-12) are at 7 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees Nov. 6 and 13.For further information, go to

The Aspen Music Festival and School has set the program for its 2006 Winter Music Artist Recital Series. All concerts are at Harris Hall.The series opens Jan. 31 with Swiss-born pianist Andreas Haefliger, who performed with the Takács Quartet in the season-opening concert this summer. Violinist Joshua Bell is set for Feb. 26. Bell, a former Aspen Music School student who appears regularly in Aspen in the summer, recorded the top-selling albums “Romance of the Violin” and the soundtrack to “The Red Violin.”Pianist Yefim Bronfman, a 1991 winner of the Avery Fisher Prize, performs Feb. 22. Pianist Peter Serkin is set for March 6. The series closes March 17 with a performance by the American Brass Quintet, an ensemble-in-residence with the Aspen Music Festival.For tickets, go to, or call 925-9042.

Radio correspondent Howard Berkes will be the featured guest on Aspen Media Review on Friday, Sept. 30. The locally produced, half-hour program can be heard every Friday at 11:30 a.m. on KAJX-Aspen Public Radio.In the second of a two-part series, Berkes, NPR’s Mountain States correspondent, will join Aspen Media Review co-hosts John C. Noonan and Brian O’Neil in discussing his award-winning coverage of the Salt Lake City International Olympic Committee scandal, the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, and methamphetamine abuse in Craig, Colo.KAJX can be heard at 91.5 FM in Aspen.

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