Theatre Aspen enters 40th year
Theatre Aspen will ring in the 2022 winter season with the return of its celebrated Holiday Cabaret series Dec. 19-23 at the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Jerome — an auspicious location because the organization was born in the basement of the Jerome 40 years ago.
To commemorate Theatre Aspen’s 40th anniversary, the cabaret will be a retrospective of greatest hits from musical productions over the past 20 years. Many performers are returning to reprise their roles, including Trevor James from Jersey Boys and Tony-nominated Broadway performer and local favorite Beth Malone (Les Misérables, Spelling Bee, The Marverlous Wonderettes).
Malone, who is currently writing a musical, Stardust, with Emily Sayliers from the band Indigo Girls, was born in Auburn, Nebraska, but grew up in Castle Creek, where she started acting in her public school theater program. She credits her high-school theater teacher for instilling in her a love and passion for acting. She was “lucky enough to work professionally almost immediately.
“I started working in Aspen at The Crystal Palace in 1992 and also did a show at Theatre Aspen when it was called Theatre Aspen in the Park in the late ’90s,” she said. “I went on to do television on the West Coast and Broadway in New York, but, no matter where I’ve gone (professionally), I’ve always come back to keep touching that town because I don’t want to lose track of my people, and I don’t want to lose or miss a season. Being able to be there and work at the same time is always so fun.”
Malone said she will be reprising some songs from her role in Les Misérables “from a million years ago” and also preview something she has never performed before. She loves working here because “Aspen audiences are wonderful. Most of them are welcoming, generous, and enthusiastic and open for anything you are performing for them,” she said.
Jed Bernstein agreed this town is a great place to ring in the holidays, noting how the idyllic Christmas vibe of the place is a great backdrop to the show.
“The intimacy of cabaret set in the ballroom of an iconic hotel makes this a very cool way to celebrate the holiday. My greatest wish is that this show will become an annual tradition — for both local and visiting families, alike,” he said.
This year, the Holiday Cabaret is directed by a veteran Theatre Aspen director, Mark Martino (Les Misérables, Ragtime, Little Shop of Horrors, Chicago), with music direction by Eric Alsford (Full Monty, Ragtime, Chicago, Rock of Ages, Jersey Boys). The company includes Kimberly Doreen Burns (Ragtime, Our Town); Galyana Castillo (Guys and Dolls, Little Shop of Horrors, Chicago, Rock of Ages); Trevor James (Jersey Boys); Isaiah Reynolds (Hairspray); Jayke Workman (Chicago, Gypsy, Jersey Boys); and, of course, Malone. The band includes Mike Brown (bass) and Nicole Patrick (drums).
“Anyone who has ever worked at Theatre Aspen knows that it is the gig to get, and everyone in the industry knows that, too, because you get to do theater and live in Aspen,” said Malone.
Something else to note is that, in each performance of the Holiday Cabaret, the cast will be joined by local youth alumni who have performed in past Theatre Aspen mainstage productions — a manifestation of an important mission of the Aspen Heroes program, which partners with the local school system to provide theater arts education to students in the Roaring Fork Valley. It’s been a passion for Bernstein his entire life.
“You always want to put on a great production, and sometimes you have a hit, others a miss; but, the one thing we can consistently provide is arts education,” he said. “I have been so lucky in my life because of the impact the arts have had on me that, if I can help in any way small, or less small, so that others experience that same impact, that is a great way to live my life.”
What: Theatre Aspen, Holiday Cabaret, Dinner & Show
Where: The Grand Ballroom, Hotel Jerome
When: Dec. 19-23, 6 p.m., doors open; 6:30 p.m., dinner; 8 p.m., performance
More info: Tickets and more information, including full dinner menus, visit TheatreAspen.org or call 970-300-4474