Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Things to do in Aspen (Besides Skiing) – Community Theatre’s a Hit!

The Producers (1968 film)
The Producers (1968 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ok, I know the buzz around Aspen last weekend revolved around all of that great snow arriving just in time for the lifts to open for the season, but this did not overshadow some of the other much-anticipated things to do in Aspen in November.

One of those other things to do in Aspen before the ski season begins in earnest, is to take in the Aspen Community Theatre’s annual fall production. We did this for the first time last year and were so thrilled with the experience that we just had to do it again.

Last year, I was going to do a post about the theatre’s presentation of the romantic love musical,  “Crazy For You, but I got lazy and didn’t write the post, This year, I was determined to hammer one out.

This Year’s Community Theatre Show – “The Producers

I had heard of this irreverent comedy (winner of a record twelve Tony awards) by Thomas Meehan and renowned director, screenwriter, composer, lyricist, comedian, actor and producer, Mel Brooks, but I had not seen it nor had I really known what it was about.

As it turns out, “The Producers” relates the exploits of a has-been Broadway producer who links up serendipitously with a timid, stuck-in-a-professional-rut accountant who has a lifelong dream of being a Broadway producer. They hatch a plot to raise more money than they can repay to their little old lady patrons by producing a “guaranteed Broadway flop”.

Their plan is to find the lousiest, most offensive script and an awful director to produce the most notorious Broadway dud ever. So, they stumble upon “Springtime for Hitler”, a nutty celebration of the Nazi Germany’s trampling of Europe, written by a psychotic former Nazi, Franz Liebkind. They then convince the colorful and Roger De Bris, the worst director in New York, to direct the show and they are off and running.

Not surprisingly, given Brook’s satirical sense of humor, the “flop” turns into a raging success, their scheme fails and they land in prison for their misdeeds where they end up continuing the scam by producing shows with their fellow inmates.

In the process of all these misadventures, and despite their differences, the two men become friends.

My Review of the Aspen Community Theatre's "The Producers"

Just for fun, since I didn’t end up writing a post for last year’s production, I thought I’d take a look at last year’s review notes to get some ideas for this post:
  • “Sets were amazing

  • Acting and singing were superb – a few Crystal Palace alumni

  • View from the balcony was ok

  • Music was fantastic

  • Wasn’t familiar with the play, but recognized a lot of the songs.

  • Crowd loved it – very local and professional at the same time – typical Aspen stuff”
Ok, not very fleshed out, I know, but it’s amazing how this outline describes our Aspen Community Theatre experience this year as well!

Once again I was reminded that, as with other activities and events found in Aspen (like bike racing, skiing, music, science, etc.), the talent found here goes well beyond the size of the town. While many in the Aspen Community Theatre cast have professional acting credentials, even the amateurs always seem to rise to the occasion!

Overall, I did not find this year’s show as funny as last year’s, and some of the scenes, though amusing at first, felt too long. I think that was just due to the material itself (despite being written by Mel Brooks). The acting, singing, choreography, sets, lighting and music, however, were at least as good.

Now that skiing is back for the season, I will be doing a lot of that, of course, but I’ll also avail myself of the other things to do in Aspen during the winter, like attending the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and Aspen Physics lectures, music and ballet performances, the X-Games, art museum exhibits, readings and talks by prominent contemporary writers, and more.

Yes, there are other things to do in Aspen besides skiing, and Aspen Community Theatre shows certainly “fit the bill”
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