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New comedy festival coming to Aspen

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyErin Foley is one of the comedians slated for the upcoming Rooftop Comedy Festival in Aspen, May 30 and 31.
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ASPEN, Colorado ” A new comedy festival, The Rooftop Comedy Festival, is taking place May 30 and 31 at The Wheeler Opera House in Aspen. The festival, in partnership with RooftopComedy, will feature six public events and more than 30 comics.

“Rooftop and the Wheeler culled through the entire roster of comics associated with Rooftop’s Web site and came up with just over 30 that we thought could really shine in this first festival,” said Wheeler Executive Director Gram Slaton. “Next came figuring out the arrangement of shows, and then which comics for which shows. It’s always a lot of work, but it’s also a labor of love for both parties. And everyone who’s coming really wants an Aspen shot, which means they’ll all be at the very top of their game.”

RooftopComedy estimates about 2,500 stand-up comics have material posted through its Web site. Individual stand-up sets will vary between 10 and about 22 minutes, depending on the comic. “As in any festival situation, there’s always the chance that not all of the talent is going to appeal to every patron, but the good news is that you only have to wait a few minutes and a completely different new face will be onstage for you. But we really think we have the possibility of a festival that scores high with every player,” Slaton said.

Comedy fans can find a full variety of sample clips for each comedian performing at rooftopcomedy.com.

Four of the shows will have Emcee duties performed by members of Aspen’s thriving stand-up comedy community. Alexa Fitzgerald, Beth Brandon and Todd Hartley have been selected to fill these slots.

“Alexa, Beth, and Todd have all performed on the Wheeler stage, so they were a perfect fit for the festival. Each will get a mini-set, and of course perform as host for the show’s run of comics,” Slaton said. “It’s part of our commitment to establishing this new festival as being as much for locals as it is for the comics and the entertainment industry.”

A limited number of “Independence Pass” lanyards, which will provide first-seating access to all six shows, will be sold for $65 each, with a special discounted price of $55 each for inclusion in room packages and as stand-alone purchases for Roaring Fork Valley residents. The Wheeler has teamed up with Stay Aspen Snowmass and the Aspen Chamber Resort Association to promote special rooms-and-passes packages for out-of-town patrons, available directly from the Aspen Groups division of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, at 800-673-5043, or via the web at rooftop.bookaspensnowmass.com. Locals wishing to take advantage of the Independence Pass discount will need to purchase in person at the Wheeler’s Aspen Show Tickets box office, with proof of local residence.

Tickets for individual shows ($15-$30) will be put on sale during the week of the festival, as available.

The Wheeler Opera House is Aspen’s oldest year-round performance venue, and was the setting for many of the centerpiece events for the HBO/U.S. Comedy Arts Festival over its nearly two decades of existence, including shows by and tributes to such names as Monty Python, The Simpsons Live, Don Rickles, George Carlin, Goldie Hawn, Dave Chappelle, Lewis Black, Kathy Griffin and more.

For more information, please call Wheeler Opera House Executive Director Gram Slaton at 970-920-5790, or e-mail him at grams@ci.aspen.co.us.


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