Theater ensemble looks to clean up with ‘Aspen Soap’Actress Felicity Huffman will make a guest appearance in the premiere performance of “The Aspen Soap.” The new satire of local life, presented by the Hudson Reed Ensemble, makes its debut March 31 at the Black Box Theatre in Aspen High School.The first edition of “The Aspen Soap” will run March 31-April 1, and April 6-8 at the Black Box Theatre. Opening night, March 31, will serve as the Hudson Reed Ensemble’s first-ever fundraiser; tickets for opening night are $50, and $20 for the remaining performances. Huffman, who grew up in Aspen, will appear only in the opening-night performance, and will participate in a Q-and-A session following the show.Huffman earned a Golden Globe Award for her work on the TV series “Desperate Housewives,” and an Academy Award nomination for best actress for her starring role in the 2005 film “Transamerica.” Additional TV credits include “Sports Night” and “Frasier.” Her family moved to Aspen when Huffman was a child. Kent Reed, artistic director of the Hudson Reed Ensemble, directed Huffman in several productions early in the actress’ career.Also appearing in the first edition of “The Aspen Soap” are Huffman’s mother, Woody Creeker Grace Huffman, and her nephew, Joe Trautman. The satirical look at local issues was developed in a workshop process, through improvisational work by the show’s 19 participants.Tickets for “The Aspen Soap” are available in advance at the Wheeler Opera House box office and will also be sold at the door.Who killed at Comedy Fest?The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival announced the Jury Award winners in a variety of categories from its recent festival, held in Aspen Feb. 28-March 4.In the live performances, the best stand-up award was shared by Kirk Fox and Shane Mauss. John Oliver took honors for best breakout male, while TastiSkank, the duo of Sarah Litzsinger and Kate Reinders, earned best breakout female.Tim Minchin was named best alternative act, with the Summer of Tears ensemble winning best sketch. Nilaja Sun earned best one-person show for her “No Child … .”In the USCAF Film Program, “Ira & Abby,” a romantic comedy written by and starring Jennifer Westfeldt, earned the best feature award, and Westfeldt earned best actress as well. Best director went to Tom DeCillo, for “Delirious,” a satire of celebs and paparazzi. Taika Waititi took best screenplay for “Eagle vs. Shark.”Jay Baruchel earned best actor for “I’m Reed Fish.” Best comedy performance went to Wendy McLendon-Covey, who starred in a pair of mockumentaries, “Closing Escrow” and “Cook-Off!” “King of Kong,” about competitive video gamers, won best documentary.”My Wife is Retarded,” directed by Etan Cohen, took best short. Best college short went to director Phillip Van’s “High Maintenance.”The Turkish film “Ice Cream, I Scream” earned best foreign language film, with Micha Hulshof winning best performance in a foreign language film for “Schnitzel Paradise.”The Cinemax Audience Award winner was “Death at a Funeral,” directed by Frank Oz.
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