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Darren Criss to Headline Theatre Aspen Summer Gala; Full 2021 Season Announced

Theatre Aspen’s 2021 summer season begins on the Hurst Theatre stage with Chicago (June 30 – July 22).

Darren Criss to Headline Theatre Aspen Summer Gala; Full 2021 Season Announced

The 2021 Theatre Aspen summer season lineup has been announced! The 38th season, running from June 30 - August 31, will include two musicals, Chicago and Rock of Ages, the return of the organization's developmental one-person show festival, Solo Flights, and multiple special events, as well as three Theatre Aspen Education productions.

Additionally, the company will-for the first time ever-host a summertime Gala entitled Midsummer Masquerade which will be headlined by Emmy Award®, Golden Globe Award®, and Screen Actors Guild Award® winner, Darren Criss on Sunday, July 25.

"On behalf of the entire Theatre Aspen organization, we could not be more excited to get back to a robust slate of programming with the dynamic, fun, and all-around entertaining season we have planned for this year," said Bernstein. "As I like to say, Aspen is the world's most beautiful place to make art and I am forever grateful to our audiences for joining us as we embark on yet another ambitious season. I look forward to seeing everyone at the Tent this summer."

Theatre Aspen's 2021 summer season begins on the Hurst Theatre stage with the Tony Award® and Drama Desk Award®-winning musical Chicago (June 30 - July 22) by Fred Ebb, Bob Fosse and John Kander, directed and choreographed by Henry Award winner Mark Martino, returning for his twelfth season, with music direction by Henry Award winner Eric Alsford, who marks his eighth season with Theatre Aspen.

The 2021 season continues with the Tony-nominated musical Rock of Ages (July 30 - August 21) by Chris D'Arienzo, directed by Tony nominee Hunter Foster, in his fourth consecutive summer at Theatre Aspen and choreographed by Abbey O'Brien (Waitress; Jagged Little Pill), who returns after stints as director and choreographer of the 2019 Theatre Aspen Holiday and Summer 2020 Cabaret Series. Eric Alsford again serves as Music Director.

This year's Solo Flights festival of one-person shows returns August 25 - 31. More information about the Solo Flights performance schedule, as well as titles and casting will be announced shortly.

Both 2021 main stage shows will have scenic design by David Arsenault, returning for his second season and costume design by Gail Baldoni who makes her debut with Theatre Aspen this summer; Chicago will have lighting design by Gifford Williams and Rock of Ages will have lighting design by Travis McHale, who also make their Theatre Aspen design debuts. Additional creative team members and casting will be announced in the coming weeks.

The 2021 summer season will also include several special events, kicking off with the annual Season Sneak Peek on Sunday, June 20 at 6:30 PM at the Hurst Theatre and the ever-popular Theatre Aspen Summer Cabaret Series, which returns for its third season of dinner and performances (July 11, August 8 & 9, August 15) at various restaurants and venues around Aspen, directed by Abbey O'Brien.

In addition to the main stage season, and in another first for the company, Theatre Aspen Education will present three summertime productions this year: A Midsummer Night's Dream - the first ever TA Education Shakespeare production - in the John Denver Sanctuary (July 8 - 10) along with Willy Wonka, Jr. (July 29 - 31) and Peter and the Starcatcher (August 5 - 8) at The District Theater.

Theatre Aspen is committed to providing healthy and safe facilities for audiences, performers, and staff, as well as flexible attendance options. This summer, Theatre Aspen will offer two options for patrons to enjoy the show in the way that is most comfortable for them.

Traditional Audience Seating: At these performances, the audience members will be seated in a non-distanced manner. Attendees (16 years of age or older) must offer proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 48-hours of the performance.

Socially Distanced Shows: At these performances, the audience members will be socially distanced for those who would be more comfortable in this configuration.

Masks will be required to attend all performances.

Mobile ticketing, cashless transactions, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection policies will remain in effect at all performances.

A limited number of Season Passes at discounts up to 40% will go on sale beginning Wednesday, May 26 at Single tickets will be available June 11.

For thirty-eight years Theatre Aspen has been rekindling a sense of discovery in audiences who live in and visit the Roaring Fork Valley by producing big theatre in a small space with intimate storytelling. Each season at Theatre Aspen promises to bring world-class theatre dramatically closer, with innovative and imaginative productions of both plays and musicals, complemented by an assortment of community events including late-night cabarets, educational programs and performances, collaborations with other Aspen arts organizations, and new works presentations. Theatre Aspen also boasts an impressive Apprentice Program, one of the largest in the country, devoted to training the next generation of theatrical artists and administrators. To learn more about Theatre Aspen visit or call 970 925 9313.

Main Stage

Chicago | June 30 - July 22

Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse

Music by John Kander

Lyrics by Fred Ebb

Based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins

Script adaptation by David Thompson

Directed & Choreographed by Mark Martino

Music Direction by Eric Alsford

In roaring twenties Chicago, chorine Roxie Hart murders a faithless lover and convinces her hapless husband, Amos, to take the rap, until he finds out he's been duped and turns on Roxie. Convicted and sent to death row, Roxie and another "Merry Murderess," Velma Kelly, vie for the spotlight and the headlines, ultimately joining forces in search of the American Dream: fame, fortune, and acquittal. This sharp-edged satire features a dazzling score that sparked immortal staging by Bob Fosse.

Chicago first opened on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre in New York City on June 3, 1975. The production, directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, ran for 936 performances. On Nov 14, 1996, a revival of the show opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. It later transferred to the Shubert Theatre, and then to the Ambassador Theatre, where, more than two decades later, it continues to run, logging nearly 10,000 performances.

Rock of Ages | July 30 - August 21

By Chris D'Arienzo

Directed by Hunter Foster

Choreographed by Abbey O'Brien

Music Direction by Eric Alsford

It's the tail end of the big, bad 1980's in Hollywood, and the party has been raging hard. Aqua Net, Lycra, lace, and liquor flow freely at one of the Sunset Strips last legendary venues, a place where sex machine Stacee Jaxx takes the stage and scantily clad groupies line up to turn their fantasies into reality. Amidst the madness, aspiring rock star (and resident toilet cleaner) Drew longs to take the stage as the next big thing (and longs for small-town girl Sherri, fresh off the bus from Kansas with stars in her eyes). But the rock and roll fairy-tale is about to end when German developers sweep into town with plans to turn the fabled Strip into just another capitalist strip mall. Can Drew, Sherri, and the gang save the strip-and themselves-before it's too late? Only the music of hit bands Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, and more hold the answer.

Rock of Ages opened on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on April 7, 2009. The show was nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It remains the 27th longest running show with 2168 performances and has recently returned to New York, now Off-Broadway at New World Stages.

Special Events

Season Sneak Peek | Sunday, June 20 at 6:30 PM

In the Hurst Theatre

Theatre Aspen Summer Cabaret Series | July 11, August 8 & 9, August 15

Multiple venues in Aspen

Midsummer Masquerade Gala | Sunday, July 25
Starring Darren Criss

Solo Flights One-Person Show Festival I Wed., August 25 - Tuesday, August 31

In the Hurst Theatre


Season Passes will be available Wednesday, May 26 at Single tickets for the 2021 Theatre Aspen season will be available beginning June 11 online or by phone at 970 925 9313. The Theatre Aspen Box Office will open June 20 at which point tickets may be purchased online, by phone (970 925 9313), or in person at the Hurst Theatre (470 Rio Grande Place, Aspen, CO 81611).

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