Thursday, June 26, 2008

Little Shop of Horrors Opens Tonite!!!

Theatre Aspen's Little Shop of Horrors opens tonite. Previews of Tuesday and Wednesday were nothing less than spectacular. Following are particulars on the show:

The Musical, written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, is an adaption of a cult film originally produced by Roger Corman in 1960. (I understand the film was shot in only two days.) One of Ashman’s comments on the play: “It satirizes many things: science fiction, B movies, musical comedy itself, and even the Faust legend.”

Everyone on the Show: (Before I continue, let me say that I’m tempted to throw in raving superlatives about each and every one of these people. They are a talented, hard-working, intelligent, dedicated, marvelous assemblage of people. Okay. Enough already with the superlatives. Read on:)

Paige Price—Artistic Director
Mark Martino—Director and Choreographer
Seymour—Production and Stage Manager
Kevin Brainerd—Costume Designer
Markas Henry— Set Designer
David Thomas—Sound Designer
Loren Wilder—Lighting Designer

The Actors/Singers:
Jamie LaVerdiere
as Seymour, the ‘nerd’ who happens upon a ‘strange and unusual’ plant.
Kate Fahrner as Audrey, a sweet, somewhat ditzy blonde.
Gordon Stanley as Mushnik, the owner of . . . well . . . the Little Shop of Horrors.
Tom Erickson as Orin, the Dentist from Hell. (Tom has several other roles in the show. Watch for him, cleverly disguised.)
Bobby Mason (the Music Mayor of Aspen) as the Voice of Audrey 2, the Plant from Outer Space that plans to start out eating Cleveland, and ultimately devour the entire world.
Lee Sullivan as the man who brings Audrey 2 to life with his proficiency as a puppeteer. (He makes a brief appearance onstage at the top of the show as a stumbling Wino.)
Anastacia McCleskey, Felicia Boswell & Adrienne Warren as The Urchins. These girls, who carry the plot from one scene to the next, will rock your world with their voices.
And, of course…starring Audrey 2 as (his? her?) its Bad Self.

The Musicians : We’re backstage, so you won’t see us. But where would this show be without us? In Cleveland, that’s where.
Bob Finniekeyboards/musical director. He’s the guy who auditioned and hired several of the singers, and who coached all musical talent to their present state for the show.
Paul Valentinedrums and percussion. Brilliant player.
Me and Dave - bass and guitar. (Dave also has a slide whistle solo in the first act. Listen for it. Its haunting beauty will break your heart.)

The Crew: Again, you won't see these guys. But where would the show be without them? There wouldn't be a show, that's where.
Stub Allison—Pre Production TD
Kevin Carson—ASM
Colleen Finnegan—
House Manager
Kyle Gavell—Master Electrician
Marco Markiewicz—Assistant TD
Brad Moore—
Production Manager
Chris Moore—Follow spot
Stephanie Riddle—Sound board
Meghan Stiles—Prop and wardrobe supervisor
Tiffany Wilson

The Story: Shop Owner meets boy. Boy meets girl. Girl also meets boy. They are very attracted to each other, but girl is already involved with a ‘semi-sadistic’ dentist. Boy meets plant. Plant grows large and hungry, makes boy famous. Plant then . . . I don’t want to give away the ending, other than, “BURRRP.”

Show Dates: at the Theatre Aspen Tent are:
June 28, 30
July 1, 2 5, 7, 12, 14, 17, 18, 26, 28
August 2, 4, 5, 15, 16

Tickets: can be purchased at:
Wheeler Box Office (970) 920-5770 (*subject to $4.00 telephone order fee per order)
Or at the Theatre Tent on evening/day of performance

Call Theatre Aspen for directions or any further information 970.925.9313

A Few Backstage Shots

Beautiful Kate (Audrey) with my husband, Dave (Should I be worried?)

Jamie (Seymour) getting into character

Bobby (the Voice of Audrey 2) holding up the fort

Lee Sullivan, Audrey 2's Puppeteer and Stumbling Wino (in the show, that is)

Anastacia, Felicia and Adrienne (the exquisite Urchins)

David Thomas (Sound Designer), me and Mark Martino (Director)

Seymour, our Fearless Leader. (And, yes, we're all aware of the irony that she's Stage Manager on a show with a 'Seymour' as one of the lead characters.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bears…Oh, My!!!

With the winter thaw come reports of bear sightings throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. The sightings continue clear through the fall.

After sleeping for several months, black bears awaken with the spring and typically spend two weeks drinking water and warming up their bodies before they start eating normal amounts of food. Then a few of them invariably lumber into town in search of toothsome treats.

On a warm summer evening several years ago, a friend of ours left the patio door of her second-story condo open while she slept. She came into the kitchen the following morning to make coffee, and discovered a bear rooting through her fridge. (As you can imagine, she went to Starbucks for her coffee.)

2007 was a record year for bear/human conflict in the Roaring Fork Valley. A June frost, followed by a hot and dry early summer, killed off the bears’ natural food supply, leading them to raid residential trash cans and refrigerators, and fruit trees in downtown Aspen. Twenty-five of the critters were tranquilized and relocated.

As a rule, the animals are not aggressive—they’re certainly not man eaters. But they’re hungry. And big. Expert estimates of the weights of the bears seem to vary widely. Conservative measurements put the average weight of the animals at around 300 pounds. However, the degree of sexual dimorphism exhibited by the species makes accurate accounts difficult. The largest black bear recorded was a male shot in Wisconsin in 1885. The bear was 802 pounds, far heavier than would be expected.

Following are a few safety tips:

It’s best not to hike alone. Bring a partner with you. If you do chance upon a bear, don’t run. If you can’t help yourself and feel you must bolt, be sure you’ve chosen a hiking partner who runs slower than you. (Get it? Runs slower than you?)

But seriously, folks…

When hiking, it’s a good idea to wear little bells on your wrist. The sound of the bells will alert a bear that you’re coming.

It’s also prudent to bring pepper spray, in the event you come face to face with one.

Most importantly, learn to recognize the difference between baby bear scat (poop) and adult bear scat. Baby bear scat generally has berries and small tufts of fur in it. Adult bear scat has little bells and pepper spray in it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Earthbeat Choir’s First of Summer Concert Series

Earthbeat, performing at the United Nations
The Earthbeat Choir opens its Summer Concert Series this morning on the Main Stage at the (111th annual!) Strawberry Days Festival in Glenwood Springs. The tunes performed will include several written by the Choir, and a medley of Eagles hits.

Earthbeat, a non-profit organization, has been presided over by its maestro of ten years, KC Johnson. His mission statement: “The Choir embraces a diverse group of children, in which the magic of music flourishes. Where kids feel safe to start where they are and rise to their full potential as singers, songwriters & creative artists, because there is a creative artistic spirit in every child waiting to be released.” He further states: “Whenever an event in our world touches our lives and hearts, you can rest assured that the Earthbeat Choir will be moved to write a song....The inspiration that compelled us to write the song, ‘"Don't Look the Other Way"’ was the Columbine tragedy. It was written with the children, staff and musicians of the Carbondale and Basalt Summer Music Camps.”

The Earthbeat staff this year includes graduates from past Music Camps. Dave and I, having had the privilege of performing with K.C. and the Choir over the last ten years, have watched many of these kids blossom into brilliant young adults. Two kids (Kids? HA! – let me rephrase…) Two young men, both monster musicians, will accompany the choir this year. Van Wampler (who just turned 19!) (and received bagpipes as a birthday gift from his grandparents - how cool is that?) will be on keyboards. Dominic Franklin will provide a strong backbone as the drummer. Oh, and, yeah. Dave and I will be there on guitar and bass. Speaking of which – we’d better get a hustle on. We have a 9:45 soundcheck; the show has a 10:45 downbeat.
Other scheduled Earthbeat concerts are:
July 19 - Burning Mountain Days – New Castle – time to be determined - noonish
July 27 – Carbondale Mountain Fair – Carbondale – time to be determined - noonish
August 16 – Basalt River Days - time to be determined - noonish
If you’d like to reach KC for further information, please call him at (970) 618-8103.

By the way - While at the Festival, take time to browse the many booths. You’ll find all sorts of treasures created by local artisans, as well as major ‘good eats.’ BBQ ribs, corn dogs, funnel cakes, ice cream, tacos, tamales, spanakopita, etc, etc, etc. Cotton candy! Oh, man. I am so all over it.

Other acts appearing today on the Main Stage are:
Big Daddy Lee & the King Bees at 2:30
Atomic Brass Project at 3:30 - With two of Denver's best vocalists and a five piece horn section, they are sure to keep you movin' all night long!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

For Those of You Who Tuned in on Monday…

…apologies. Other than the fact that Nevin didn’t win the Tony (what’s up with that?) (but he was one of only three nominees – that’s definitely worth a great deal), the party was spectacular. The food (everyone brought something) was delectable. Seymour, as promised, cooked up a giant batch of her famous Sloppy Joes, which may now have the official title of, “Seymour’s Famous Sloppy Tonys.” The guests, mostly Theatre Aspen cast and crew, were relaxed and jovial. I think this was a ‘first day off since who knows when’ for most of us.

I had several cocktails. My camera, taking this personally, decided to render most of my photos… less than noteworthy. Here are a few that (kinda sorta) turned out:

Seymour, the Chef du Jour

Jamie La Verdiere (Seymour in 'Little Shop of Horrors') and his wife, Christiane Noll
Kate Fahrner (Audrey in 'Little Shop')

Gordon Stanley (Mushnik in 'Little Shop')

Tom Erickson (Orin in 'Little Shop')
Chowhounds Kate, Kyle Gavell (Master Electrician) and Stephanie Riddle (Sound)
Me and Stub '007' Allison (Pre-Production TD) threatening each other with handguns

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Theatre Aspen – Front Paige News

Paige Price, Theatre Aspen’s new Artistic Director, will be appearing tonight on the 62nd Annual Tony Awards with her husband, Nevin Steinberg. Nevin and his partners at Acme Sound are nominees for Best Sound Design of a Musical, In the Heights. Paige and Nevin are expected to walk the Red Carpet at approximately 6:30 p.m. She says she’ll be wearing “a vintage dress (a satiny gown with chiffon panels on the bottom, sure to wrinkle!)” from the store It’s A Wrap in L.A.

CBS-TV will broadcast the event live from Radio City Music Hall, 8-11 PM ET. Red Carpet arrivals will begin at 6:30 p.m. (4:30 MT)

Seymour, New York-based Stage Manager Extraordinaire who has been PSM with Theatre Aspen for years, is hosting a party today in celebration of the event. (Incidentally, Seymour wishes to extend her thanks to Creighton and Mardell Burkholder for lending her their gorgeous home while she’s in Aspen.) Cast and crew of this summer’s shows will cheer Paige and Nevin as they ‘hit the carpet’ and as Nevin (cross your fingers, everyone) picks up his Tony. My husband and I, musicians in the band for Little Shop of Horrors, will be there.

Tune in tomorrow for photos and introductions to the Theatre Aspen gang!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Springtime in Aspen

Nothing in the world compares to Springtime in Aspen.

If you arrived here from out-of-town on Monday, your experience could have gone something like this: Negotiating the curve onto Main Street, you cruise slowly (Actually, slowly is all you can do – there’s a 25 MPH speed limit.) along the road, gazing at a profusion of wildflowers and flourishing lawns. Victorian houses in myriad hues, cottonwoods and evergreens line the avenue. Words like, “green,” and phrases such as, “blue skies” suddenly have new meaning for you, as you realize you’ve never seen greener greens or bluer skies. Banners strung across the road announce various festivals and events. Aspen Mountain looms to your right, much more awe-inspiring in real life than you ever would have expected from photographs you’ve seen of it. A crystal blue heaven stretches above you; an occasional white cloud ambles on by. The air is silk on your bare arms. Scents of florals and French pastries come to you, as subtly soft as a first kiss.

The sun is hot. You’re looking forward to a few laps in the pool at your Aspen destination. You dash from your car to pick up a copy of the Aspen Times. A headline announces, Ski Aspen Mountain this weekend.


The article (which appeared in the June 9 edition) reads: “With an average of 3 feet of snow still covering the upper slopes of Aspen Mountain, the Aspen Skiing Co. will open the top of the mountain to midday skiing this weekend. Seven runs and some 45 acres of mostly intermediate terrain will be served by the Ajax Express lift, the Skico announced Monday. Those with an Aspen/Snowmass Premier, Silver or 6-and-under passes can ski or ride for free. All other Aspen/Snowmass passholders will be charged a discounted rate — adult passholders pay $19, youth and senior passholders pay $17 and child season passholders pay $12. Adult single-day tickets will be $29 per day, youth and seniors will pay $26 and children’s tickets will be $18. Tickets will be sold at the Aspen Mountain ticket kiosk on gondola plaza from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, beginning Thursday. Regular summer rates will be in effect for foot passengers.”

Warm as the weather has been, we still had snowfall in town as recently as last Wednesday. This weekend, we expect mostly clear skies with temperatures in the 80s.

Of course, you never know. Could rain and thunder, could hail, could snow. Could tornado, for crying out loud. (My husband and I, in Loveland on May 22, had the experience of a lifetime as we watched a tornado tear on through, perhaps only a mile from us.) (But, please rest assured. Odds of a tornado in Aspen are . . . um . . . astronomical.)

There’s a phrase we’re all familiar with in these here parts: “Don’t like the weather? Wait ten minutes.”

Having lived here for more than twenty years, I know this (to some degree) to be true.

Having lived here for more than twenty years, I also know this to be true. . . . Nothing in the world compares to Springtime in Aspen.

This Weekend’s Events
Food & Wine Classic – June 13-15 at Wagner Park
Hudson Reed Ensemble presents a play “Speed-the-Plow’ at the Black Box Theatre. Tickets are $20, available at the Wheeler Opera House and
Live Music at Belly Up:
The Hollywood Stones
- June 14 -Tickets (general admission): $35 VIP Tickets: $150, $250 (SOLD OUT), $750 (SOLD OUT), $1,000, $5000 and $10,000. Doors: 8 p.m. for VIPs; 10 p.m. (general admission) Showtime: 10:30 p.m.Rolling Stones cover band plays a Best of the Stones live concert in a benefit for the Children’s Heath Foundation’s Lunch for Life Initiative and Food & Wine’s Grow for Good campaign. Tickets include dinner prepared by award-winning chef Michel Nischan, fine wines and cocktails.
The Radiators - June 15 - Tickets: $23 in advance, $25 day of show Doors: 8 p.m. Showtime: 10 p.m.The long-standing kings of New Orleans-infused swamp rock and rhythm and blues return to Aspen for a second appearance during their 30th anniversary tour.
Mick Fleetwood Blues Band - June 15 - Mick's Uncorked Tour features a full concert in the intimate setting of Fanny Hill Amphitheater in Snowmass Village plus showcases his Private Cellar Wines. Doors open: 5pm. Showtime: 6:15pm. All tickets GA. VIP: $125; Lawn: $50