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Theatre Aspen summer events are highlighted by major Broadway stars

An image of the Hurst Theatre taken by Mike Lyons.
Courtesy photo/Theatre Aspen

‘all for one’

Theatre Aspen has announced its summer lineup. A look at the performances (all shows at Hurst Theatre Tent unless otherwise noted):

Theatre Aspen Celebrity Concert Series

Beth Malone, July 27 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Carolee Carmello, Aug. 3 at 7 p.m.and 9:30 p.m.

Audra McDonald: Aug. 10 at 7 p.m., Aug. 11 at 9:30 p.m.

Kelli O’Hara: Aug. 10 at 9:30 p.m., Aug. 11 at 7 p.m.

Theatre Aspen Summer Cabaret Series

“From Alone To Aspen: A Summer Cabaret”: July 30-Aug. 1

“Don’t Stop Believing: The Best of the Theatre Aspen Songbook”: Aug. 6-8

“Meet Me In St. Louis: A Live Radio Play”

Shows are Aug. 13-15

Theatre Aspen Education

“Disney’s Beauty and the Beast”

Shows are July 29-Aug. 2 (at the Aspen District Theater)

“Disney’s Frozen Jr.”

Shows are Aug. 6-8 (at the Aspen District Theater Black Box)

“Disney’s The Lion King”

Shows are Sept. 10-12 (at the Hurst Theatre)

Solo Flights: Developmental Festival of One-Person Shows

Shows are Sept. 1-7 (lineup TBA)

From six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald to local favorite Beth Malone, Theatre Aspen’s “All for One” summer season is taking shape with Monday’s announcement of the Celebrity Concert Series lineup starting later this month and as well as other productions.

As the company works around the new realities of the pandemic, Theatre Aspen producing director Jed Bernstein said they have adjusted to the reality of a different summer but put together a lineup that upholds the town’s reputation and the company’s three-plus decade history.

In addition to McDonald and Malone, the concert series, which starts July 27, will include well-known Broadway stars Carolee Carmello, a three-time Tony Award nominee, and Kelli O’Hara, who also is an Emmy Award nominee.

“Aspen is certainly famous, between the Ideas Festival and Music School Festival, for attracting world-class intellect and performing talent,” he said late last week. “And this concert series lineup is every bit in that same category.”

There will be two shows each night from Malone (July 27) and Carmello (Aug. 3) and the Aug. 10 and 11 shows with McDonald and O’Hara (switching time spots).

“I’m really proud, as there were a lot of obstacles, of course, that we’ve been able to put together not just a ‘nice to have’ season but a really interesting season,” Bernstein said. “It’s not the one that we maybe would have planned, but it’s certainly one to be proud of.”

The season also includes consecutive weekends for the Summer Cabaret Series; an old fashioned-style radio show performed onstage; the Theatre Aspen Education program, which will perform the Disney shows “Beauty and the Beast,” “Frozen Jr.” and the “The Lion King”; and the second year of the Solo Flights, which is a festival of one-person shows (Sept. 1 to 7). For more information and tickets, go to theatreaspen.org.

Nearly all of the shows will be performed in a modified Hurst Theatre Tent near Rio Grande Park. To comply with rules around the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be less seating, and the sides of the tent, when weather permits, will be opened up to all for better airflow and a bit of an outdoor feel, he said.

“It also will allow us to have multiple entrances, to avoid crowding situations there,” he said.

All the shows will be one act with no intermission, he said, so there won’t be the chance for crowds to gather. The theater will be cleaned multiple times a day, masks are required to enter and leave, and hand sanitizer will be readily available.

The Cabaret Series, which is in its third year and traditionally performed at Aspen restaurants, will move to the tent where there will be a cabaret-style setup inside with small tables spaced around the venue.

The Cabaret Series opens July 30 to Aug. 1 with “From Alone to Aspen.” Bernstein says the show is “a tongue-in-cheek tribute to everybody’s quarantine experience.” It will include songs about how people are adjusting to the new, new reality.

The next weekend will be “Don’t Stop Believing: The Best of the Theatre Aspen Songbook.” He said they are working to get it narrowed down to the top 15 or 20 songs, “but there are a lot of them to choose from over the decades, so we may just stay and sing all night.”

New this year is the performance of a radio show, and he chose the Judy Garland classic “Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play,” which is about the Smith family just before the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.

Bernstein, who lives near Buttermilk Ski Area, said he is hoping the “All for One” season will be in the spirit of the graduation events that came together for the Aspen High School seniors at the Buttermilk parking lot.

“It wasn’t just the ‘OK, this is the best we can do for high school graduation.’ But it was more like, ‘Wow, this is really cool,’” he said. “And I think we have a shot to get to the ‘it’s really cool’ level.”


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