Theatre Aspen begins accepting Aspen Heroes Program nominations
Theatre Aspen will begin accepting nominations Tuesday for its Aspen Heroes Program, which aims to honor Roaring Fork Valley residents who have been working on the front lines during the COVID-19 crisis.
Through the new program and as part of its reimagined “All for One” summer season, Theatre Aspen is dedicating all 30 of its planned summer performances to local first responders, bus drivers, grocery store employees, restaurant staff members and other nominated front line workers forced to put themselves at risk for the benefit of others during the pandemic.
Anyone can submit a nomination to recognize these Roaring Fork Valley residents, with one “hero” and their story set to be acknowledged in-person before each Theatre Aspen performance this summer. Each selected hero also will receive two free tickets to the show they’re recognized at and will have their names inscribed on a plaque that will be hung in the Theatre Aspen lobby.
“This summer is about being all for one, for our community. That’s where the idea for the Aspen Heroes Program comes from,” Jed Bernstein, producing director for Theatre Aspen, said Monday. “We look forward to seeing an outpouring of support and recognition for the people who are really doing good for this community.”
Bernstein went on to explain that each hero will be selected by an appointed committee of “indisputable community leaders,” including co-chairs Nicholas Vesey, a minister at the Aspen Chapel; Rabbi Mendel Mintz, the founder and director of the Chabad Jewish Community Center; Dr. Kimberly Levin, Pitkin County’s chief medical officer; Rachael Richards, Aspen City Council member; Beatriz Soto, director of Defiende Nuestra Tierra, Wilderness Workshop and co-founder of Voces Unidas de las Montanas; Tammy Terwelp, executive director of Aspen Public Radio; and Nancy Wall, a local philanthropist.
Theatre Aspen feels this group of strong local leaders will add to the honor of being selected as an Aspen Hero, Bernstein said.
But even though just 30 heroes will be honored onstage and in person, Bernstein said Theatre Aspen also plans to release a list of all nominees in some form this summer to ensure all local heroes are recognized.
“It’s an honor to be nominated,” Bernstein said. “The nominations are really a chance to say thank you to each other. … It’s important to say thank you for all of the work these people have put in over the past three months.”
As announced in late May, Theatre Aspen’s summer season will run from July 27 through Aug. 18 and feature solo and very small group performances, including:
• The popular summer cabaret series on the Hurst Theatre stage, with special performances by Beth Malone, a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award nominee, and other celebrity headliners
• Solo Flights, the second annual developmental festival of one-person shows that will be moved from September into the summer lineup
• A live radio play that recreates a classic movie-musical, complete with onstage musical elements and sound effects. The show title will be announced soon
• Both Theatre Aspen Education summertime productions of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” and “Frozen Jr.,” along with a full complement of arts educations programs for K-12 students in July and August
And because the 2020 summer season will feature a more diverse schedule and require converting the Hurst Theatre into a 75- to 100-seat cabaret-style space with as much social distancing as possible, Bernstein said it doesn’t make sense for Theatre Aspen to sell its normal season passes.
Instead, the company is putting out an Aspen Heroes Ticket Offer, which will be on sale through June 15. The offer allows people to purchase pairs of tickets for select performances at an average 35% discounted price.
Only 250 seats across the truncated season are available for purchase through the Aspen Heroes Ticket Offer, Bernstein said. Theatre Aspen usually sells around 12,000 tickets each summer, but this year will only be able to sell about 2,500 total due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Once the full summer schedule comes out and if heroes ticket customers are unable to attend any of the planned performances, Bernstein said the heroes tickets can be converted into a donation to Theatre Aspen or the cash value may be used toward the purchase of a 2021 season pass.
“Now, audience members can be heroes for Theatre Aspen when they purchase Aspen Heroes tickets in advance, even before our specific schedule of offerings is released,” Bernstein said. “Sure, it’s taking a little risk, but it’s an opportunity to support us. … We don’t know what our exact schedule will be but we want to be a part of celebrating the community this summer.” The full Theatre Aspen schedule is expected to be released on or around June 15, which is the last day the Aspen Heroes Ticket Offer will be available. More information on the offer can be found at theatreapsen.org. Nominations for the Aspen Heroes Program will be accepted through June 22 and can be submitted at theatreaspen.org/aspen-heroes/. The 30 heroes selected will be announced July 4.
Editor’s Note: The Aspen Times is one of the official media partners of the Aspen Heroes Program.
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