Theatre Aspen, Hotel Jerome partner on cabaret series this December
Performances, dinners return for the holiday season
Theatre Aspen’s holiday cabaret is back this year with six performances of pop, holiday and Broadway tunes all hosted at the Hotel Jerome from Dec. 18-23, according to an announcement released Friday. Five of those performances will combine an hour-long show with a chef’s dinner; one iteration will offer a show with small bites and drinks.
It’s the kind of event that Theatre Aspen Producing Director Jed Bernstein believes “could only happen in Aspen around this time of year.”
Other offerings like Theatre Aspen’s summer cabaret are “great,” but you could just as well see that in another major city, he said; there’s something about this town at the holidays that makes it particularly well-suited for a festive production.
“Because Aspen sort of becomes this picture-postcard, Swiss Village thing in the winter … and because of the Jerome being this iconic historic place, it’s going to feel like a Technicolor movie,” Bernstein said.
But it’s also a nod to a “historic precedent” of holiday entertainment in other destinations like Las Vegas and Miami where “that idea of eat, drink and be entertained” has long been part of seasonal tradition, Bernstein said.
It helps, too, that holiday availability for the stacked company performers and creators with more than 50 Broadway and national touring credits among them is more open than it might be in the summer months.
The cohort includes Christy Altomare (of “Anastasia” and “Mamma Mia!”), Will Blum (of “Beetlejuice” and “School of Rock’), Anthony Lee Medina (of “Hamilton”), Courtney Reed (of “Aladdin’ and the national tour of “Moulin Rouge”), Nathaniel Stampley (of “Cats” and “Porgy and Bess”) and Sarah Stiles (who was nominated for Tony awards for her roles in “Tootsie” and “Hand to God”).
Broadway veteran Ray Mercer (“The Lion King”) will direct and Theatre Aspen mainstay Andy Einhorn will helm music direction; the band includes Mike Brown on bass and Nicole Patrick on drums. Dance Aspen’s Matthew Gilmore and Madeleine Scott will also make some appearances.
“This is quite a group — it would be hard to assemble that many people for a short period of time during the summer,” Bernstein said.
Theatre Aspen has offered other holiday cabarets as well as some summer iterations in the past at a rotating slate of different venues, including the Hotel Jerome, Bernstein said. This year’s version is unique in that all of the productions will be at the Jerome, kicking off what Bernstein hopes will become a long-term partnership with the hotel.
“We think it’s going to be the beginning of (the Jerome) being our home with this (type of production),” Bernstein said.
The hotel’s general manager Patrick Davila agrees on that front and sees hosting all six of the performances at the Jerome as a launch point for that relationship with Theatre Aspen.
“That’s the point, that’s the goal,” said Davila, who also has a background in theater with involvement in the production of a few Broadway shows himself. It’s a fitting “full-circle” moment, he noted, because Theatre Aspen’s history dates back to its early years as the “Theatre Under the Jerome” in the hotel’s basement in the 1980s.
“That is one of my most favorite things that’s happening this holiday season. … I love the community aspect of it, I love the altruistic aspect of it,” Davila said.
Tickets are online at theatreaspen.org/holiday-cabaret-2021.
Anderson Ranch Arts Center’s new fall lecture series will run weekly from Oct. 20 through Dec. 6. The lineup consists of artists nationwide who will be spending one to three weeks at the ranch completing projects within their area of expertise and exploring new work in the studios.