Over the last three weeks, I've introduced you to the entire cast of the Vail Valley Theatre Company's (VVTC) upcoming production of the musical comedy, "Company." Now it's time to meet the creative minds working behind the scenes to bring this show to life for the Vail Valley. As a member of the cast, I can tell you we are very lucky to have this talented bunch at the helm of this poignant, funny, touching show.
Well-known local performer, Beth Swearingen, is the artistic director of "Company." Originally from Connecticut, she had a professional theater career in NYC for several years before moving to the Vail Valley, where she works as a musician, dance teacher, fitness instructor and mostly Mom to her kids, Naomi and Jonah.
"I had my first experience with VVTC about 19 years ago and have directed and choreographed numerous productions for them since," Swearingen said. "I actually have VVTC to thank for meeting my wonderful husband Kerry, and some of my closest friends."
Making her debut in a directorial position, assistant director is Connie Kincaid, co-owner of local boutique real estate firm Vail Property Brokerage, Inc. as well as a dancer, teacher and choreographer. She has performed with VVTC since 2007, and been a board member since 2009. A Vail Valley local since 1993, she says of volunteering her free time to local theatrer, "I am passionate about the performing arts and showcasing the incredible and diverse talent this small valley has. I can't wait to fill seats in the audience the next two weekends."
The musical director, and man behind the onstage baby grand piano, is Taylor Kundolf, local musician and teacher at Vail Christian High School. His first production with VVTC was 17 years ago, helping some of the performers learn their music when his wife, Rayla Kundolf, directed the musical "Working."
Kundolf loves anything Sondheim and was excited to work with Swearingen.
"I have a very high regard for Beth Swearingen and when she asked me to be her musical director, there was no way I could refuse," he said.
Fights, meltdowns and drunken rants
The all-encompassing roll of production stage manager is filled by the VVTC's board president, Kaylee Brennand. She is in charge of, well, everything and everyone at all times during the course of the production. Yes, it's a huge job, and we are extremely lucky to have a pro in this position. Brennand has been with VVTC since its inception.
"I am passionate about live theater," she said. "It is what I have made my profession, and I feel it's important to volunteer my free time to local theater. I have to thank everyone who supports our not-for-profit theater company, through sponsorships, donations and ticket sales."
David Mayer, originally from Mich., is the set designer. His job is to create set pieces that inspire and compliment the artistic director's vision of the production. Mayer works as a graphic designer and sign maker in real life, and got involved with VVTC during last year's production of "Rocky Horror."
"Live theater is truly a magical art form," he said. "It brings together everything; writing, acting, music, singing, dancing and art and design. It's important to make such a magical thing available to our community, to any community."
Denver native, Dean Davis, is the lighting designer and technical director for the show.
"It's my job to make sure everyone on stage is seen in their best light and can strut their stuff on a safe set." Davis is the facilities manager for the Vilar Performing Arts Center.
"I am amused by the exaggeration of the characters' nerve-wracking faults and how their neuroses play out in their married relationships," Davis said. "The marital karate fight, the bride's hilariously frantic meltdown, and of course, there is Sondheim's epic drunken rant."
From the set and lights to the choreography, music and direction, the Vail Valley is quite lucky to have these local talents behind the scenes collaboratively creating what is going to be a fun night of live theater for the Vail Valley community. This show does contain adult content, so it's best to leave the little ones at home.
Didi Doolittle is a Vail Valley realtor and an actor on the side.