The cast of the Duncan Sheik/Steven Sater musical "Alice by Heart," developed last year at Theatre Aspen. (Photo by Aubree Dallas)

Theatre Aspen Extends Summer Season, Adds New-Play Fest and Youth Offering

The summer season will run shows in rep a week longer, making room for a new TYA series and a festival of new plays.

ASPEN, COLO.: Theatre Aspen has announced the lineup for its 32nd season, which will be extended by an extra week this summer and, for the first time since 2008, will run four shows in repertory. The company has also announced a new Theatre for Young Audiences series and the launch of a new-play incubator, the Aspen Theatre Festival, for the late summer.

In a statement, executive artistic director Paige Price said, “Last summer we featured lots of variety with a dash of bawdiness. This year we’re doubling down on that and adding some drama…We’re also responding to our patrons, who have told us they want a longer season.”

The season begins with a new revival of the musical Cabaret (June 26–Aug. 15), directed and choreographed by Theatre Aspen regular Mark Martino. Paul Black will design the sets and lighting, with costumes by Kevin Brainerd and musical direction by Eric Alsford.

Martino will also direct Peter and the Starcatcher, the popular Peter Pan prequel by written by Rick Elice (July 15–Aug. 21). The play-with-music will again feature Black on sets and lights and Alsford on music direction, with costumes by Annabel Reader.

Running Aug. 5–22 is Jon Robin Baitz’s family drama Other Desert Cities, directed by Sarna Lapine. Sets will be by Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams, with lighting by Black and costumes by Brainerd.

The new TYA series, to be presented on weekend mornings, begins with Junie B. Jones the Musical, adapted by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich from the Barbara Parks book series (June 29th–Aug. 15). The creative team comprises Tom Ward (sets), Colin Riebel (lights), Lora LaVon (costumes) and director and choreographer Devanand Janki, whose choreography for the original Off-Broadway production garnered a Lortel nomination. Jonathan Gorst will serve as musical director.

The company’s new Aspen Theatre Festival runs Aug. 23–28, featuring new plays and musicals being developed for the stage.  A world-premiere reading of The Agent by Scott Martin will kick off the weeklong festival; the play is described as “a new romantic comedy about the romance and disillusion of trying to break through to fame in Hollywood,” and will be directed by multiple Emmy winner Jay Sandrich. And a new musical, Finn the Fearless by Andrew Butler and Andrew Farmer will also be presented in a developmental workshop, directed by Kent Nicholson.

Though it wasn’t part of the summer festival, Theatre Aspen initiated its new-play efforts in May of 2014 with the Duncan Sheik/Steven Sater musical Alice By Heart, directed by Lear deBessonet and choreographed by Chase Brock, presented at the Wheeler Opera House.  Theatre Aspen also produced a reading of Some Lovers, a musical by Burt Bacharach, with a book by Steven Sater.

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