Theatre Aspen Kicks Off 2014 Season
Award-winning Theatre Aspen opened last week, with a production of The Full Monty receiving rave reviews. Tonight the season continues to unfold with the opening of Little Women, the Broadway Musical. The Hurst Theatre offers a summer repertory season, which will also include a brand new comedy by Sandy Rustin called The Cottage.
Executive Artistic Director Paige Price said, "Following last year's record-breaking season, we chose a season with variety, lots of music and a dash of bawdiness. Aspen's enthusiasm for our new musical workshop Alice By Heart really kicked off as full a season as we've ever produced."
Theatre Aspen's new play development series began with the early workshopping of Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater musical Alice By Heart, based on the Lewis Carroll novel. Sheik and Sater are best known for their 2007 rock musical Spring Awakening which won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score.
Originally commissioned by London's Royal National Theatre: Connections, Alice by Heart features a book by Steven Sater with Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam), lyrics by Sater, and music by Duncan Sheik. Presented in association with Kurt Deutsch, Grammy Award-winning founder of Sh-k-boom/Ghostlight Records, the musical was directed by Lear deBessonet (Good Person of Szechwan), with choreography by Chase Brock (Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark). The sneak peek filled the Wheeler Opera House in late May.
The Full Monty, directed and choreographed by Carbonell Award winner and Theatre Aspen favorite Mark Martino, features a book by five-time Tony Award winner and Pulitzer Prize nominee Terrence McNally (Ragtime, Master Class) and music and lyrics by David Yazbek (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels). Broadway veterans Mary Stout, Michele Ragusa, Tally Sessions, Nancy Anderson and James Ludwig topline.
The musical Little Women, based on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott, with a book by Allan Knee, music by Jason Howland and lyrics by Mindi Dickstein, stars Alison Luff (Wicked) as "Jo," Joan Hess as "Marmee," and Ken Krugman as "Professor Bhaer". The cast is rounded out by Rodney Ingram, David Penhale, Alie Walsh, John Caliendo, Jessica deJong, Wendy Perkins and Sydney Patrick.
Opening July 24th, The Cottage is a farce inspired by the works of Noel Coward and set in the 1920s English countryside. Written by Sandy Rustin, this tale of sex, betrayal and true love unfolds when Sylvia Van Kipness exposes her love affair to her husband and her lover's wife. A surprising web of secrets unravels in this hilarious-and-almost-murderous-romantic comedy. Nancy Anderson, Michele Ragusa, Mark Price, Michael Kostroff, Bailey Frankenberg and Spencer Plachy star.
Rustin, whose Rated P for Parenthood premiered at the West Side Theatre in New York City, has appeared on stage and screen and can regularly be seen at Upright Citizen's Brigade in "Gravid Water," (Best Improv Show - Time Out, NY). Don Stephenson, currently on Broadway in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder directs. Stephenson has appeared in seven Broadway shows and directed a star-studded Titanic in February at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall.
Theatre Aspen (Aspen Non-Profit Business of the Year in 2012) was awarded the "Outstanding Regional Theatre" Henry Award in Denver in 2009 and Alison Luff won a Best Supporting Actress Denver Post Ovation Award for her work as Olive in Theatre Aspen's The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Recent Ovation nominees include Joan Hess, Beth Malone, Aaron Rhyne, Julia Foran and Sandy Duncan.
Theatre Aspen's summer productions take place in the Hurst Theatre and will be underwritten by season sponsor ANB Bank, with the generous support of Barbara and Franklin Carson, Liz and Jane Armstrong, Nancy Wall and Chuck Wall, Darlynn and Tom Fellman, Jessica and John Fullerton, Hays Private Client, Jim and Brenda Grusecki, The City of Aspen, Shane Aspen Real Estate, Les Dames d'Aspen, Sotheby's International Realty and The Aspen Club and Spa.