Editor's note: Director's Chair is a column where Kris Sabel, who is in charge of cultural programming for the Vail Valley Foundation, gives his expert take on shows not to be missed at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.With snow falling more days than not, and lots of families in town for the holidays, it's hard not to get caught up in the spirit of the season. At the Vilar Performing Arts Center, our staff has been hard at work to put on a huge lineup of shows, and we've welcomed seasoned fans and newcomers alike for performances as varied as Popovich's Comedy Pet Theater, Golden Dragon Acrobats and Michael Bolton.This season, which marks the 15th anniversary of the Vilar Performing Arts Center, celebrates the milestone with one of our biggest headlines to date coming up on Jan. 17 - "An Evening of Sit Down with Robin Williams & David Steinberg." Adding to that, we have a season full of other recognizable names and heavy hitters, including Smokey Robinson's Up Close & Personal Tour, Lewis Black and the Beach Boys. Landing performances of this size is a testament to what we've worked to build during the past 15 years - not just a state-of-the-art facility, but a reputable venue worthy of the best talent in the industry today.With that, I come to tonight's performance, which may be less recognizable to the general public than the Beach Boys or Robin Williams, but one that should not be overlooked. Those who know me know that every season I have a small handful of shows for which I am especially passionate, and I do my best to convey this passion as I have conversations with community members stressing why they absolutely have to attend this show or that show. I often struggle with how to express in words just how incredible a performer will be in our hall, if fans will give him/her a chance. Linda Eder, who performs tonight at 7:30, rose to fame in the Broadway production of "Jekyll and Hyde," but she is an artist who is most successful for the magic she weaves on the concert stage. With 14 albums to date, her style spans Broadway, standards, pop, country and jazz, and it is no exaggeration to call her one of the greatest contemporary voices of our time.Her presence and poise on stage are unmatched, her intonation is impeccable and she is as emotionally driven and engaging as she is consistent and precise. Taking cues from her voices of inspiration, Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand, evidence of their influence is there, but Linda Eder brings to stage a performance that is uniquely and spectacularly her own. As I mentioned, words do not do justice when trying to convey what makes Linda Eder's voice so remarkable, so I encourage you to look her up on YouTube and spend a few minutes with her versions of the classics, such as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," as well as some of her favorites from "Jekyll and Hyde" and "Man of La Mancha." Her voice has a lasting effect, and I guarantee that if you take a chance on this show, you will be amazed. Tickets to Linda Eder are available online (vilarpac.org) and through our box office (970-845-TIXS). With our winter series in full swing, we have some incredible shows coming up and we hope to see you here soon. I'll see you at the show!
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