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Theatre Aspen’s Holiday Cabaret to bring surprises, movement to the Hotel Jerome

Six shows in five nights will feature musical theater vets as well as local dancers

Musical director Andy Einhorn and director Ray Mercer team up for Theatre Aspen’s holiday cabaret series at the Hotel Jerome with six performances between Dec. 18 and 23, 2021.
Courtesy photos
IF YOU GO…

What: Theatre Aspen’s Holiday Cabaret Series

When: Dec. 18-19, 21-23

Where: The Hotel Jerome

Tickets: theatreaspen.org/holiday-cabaret-2021/

Andy Einhorn is no stranger to Theatre Aspen’s concert-style performances, having conducted “South Pacific: The Concert” in 2019 and “The Sweetest Sounds: The Music of Richard Rogers,” both collaborative productions with the Aspen Music Festival and School.

He now takes the reins of music direction for this week’s Theatre Aspen’s holiday cabaret series in partnership with the Hotel Jerome. Six performances will take place over five nights at the hotel with a cast who will be familiar to Theatre Aspen regulars and musical theater fans alike. Bringing in different combinations of voices and performers each time is part of what Einhorn loves about this type of work.

“I think that’s really the best part of getting to be a collaborative artist is the number of variations of that kind of family that you form over the years of working together with people,” Einhorn said. “And then you end up getting to just develop these really close quick relationships with people based on having to just come together and put something wonderful up for people.”



This time around, those “variations” will get a little more, well, varied. In addition to a cast of musical theater vets, the holiday cabaret series at the Hotel Jerome also will incorporate a performance by Matthew Gilmore and Madeleine Scott, two dancers from DanceAspen. (The new company debuted this September to maintain the flame of Aspen’s contemporary ballet community after the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet shuttered in March.)

It’s an exciting prospect for director Ray Mercer, who tossed out the idea during the early stages of development for the holiday cabaret series. Mercer is a Theatre Aspen first-timer with an extensive resume in the world of dance that includes choreography for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and a lengthy run as a dancer on Broadway’s “The Lion King.”




“Early on in the production meetings, I brought up the idea of … choreographing this beautiful duet and having it (be) a part of the holiday cabaret and the producers and the musical director thought it was a great idea,” Mercer said. “So we found two brilliantly talented artists from DanceAspen and I created a duet to incorporate it into the holiday cabaret.”

DanceAspen was likewise receptive to the idea, according to the director of the company Laurel Winton.

“It’s really our goal and our mission to collaborate with local organizations and local businesses and bring dance to the entire community, so this is kind of a perfect way to do that,” Winton said. “And we jumped at the chance to be involved with Theatre Aspen and because they’re such a wonderful organization, and we really do want any chance that we can get to perform and to share our art with the community.”

Winton considers Theatre Aspen Producing Director Jed Bernstein a “good friend” and said Bernstein has been “very supportive of the dancers saying here” as the community finds a new home at DanceAspen.

“It’s just wonderful to be able to kind of combine their Broadway cast with our contemporary dance cast,” Winton said. “So it just kind of seemed perfect.”

As for what the components will look like together, performers and crew members alike were tight-lipped on the details, lest they spoil what Mercer, Winton and singer Christy Altomare all described as surprises for the audience.

“It’s an evening of song and dance, but I think the dance part of it is a whole separate — it’s a surprise,” Mercer said. “I can’t give away the surprise, but it’s a separate component of the show, and so the dancers will have an opportunity to showcase their talent in this one number, and we kind of incorporated the singers, which is really nice, so it will be kind of a collaborative effort.”

kwilliams@aspentimes.com


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