Vail Performing Arts Academy performs “Showstoppers!”
Whether you admit it or not, there’s at least one showtune out there that will get your foot tapping. The kids with Vail Performing Arts Academy (VPAA) know that for a fact, and they served a slew of Broadway hits with “Showstoppers!” at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Nov. 17, and Sunday, Nov. 18.
The show featured 19 performances of some of today’s hottest tunes from the stage. “The Greatest Show” from the film “The Greatest Showman” was the first song of the evening, featuring a large dancing ensemble. “A Million Dreams” from the same film followed.
“You’ll Be Back” from “Hamilton” came next, featuring Tanner Essex as a caricature King George in a can-can line with his royal, sequined subjects.
“Everlasting” from “Tuck Everlasting” followed, before the kids donned poodle skirts and leather jackets for a rendition of “All Shook Up,” a song from a biographical musical of the same name recounting the story of Elvis Presley.
“Best Day Ever” from “SpongeBob SquarePants” came before “In Summer” from “Frozen” (and a witty joke about the overkill that is “Let It Go”). “Love is an Open Door” from the same movie was performed next.
“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from “Toy Story” and “Apex Predator” from Tina Fey’s “Mean Girls” came before “When He Sees Me” from “Waitress. The song featured four young women (Quinn Kelley, Cate Maslan, Hallie Moore and Savina May) singing tight harmonies that many performers their age would have struggled with.
“Mamma I’m a Big Girl Now” from “Hairspray” came next before a medley of songs from the movie “La La Land.” The award-winning “City of Stars” was performed before Essex and Katie Keith performed an impressive dance number to the show’s jazzy soundtrack.
“Mamma Mia!” came next, complete with jumpsuits and neon colors straight out of the 70s, when the music was originally written.
A harmony-rich version of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” from Carole King’s biography-musical was performed by some of the young women before “Sparking Diamonds” from “Moulin Rouge!” put performer Caroline Dewell nearly 10 feet in the air in costume as Marilyn Monroe.
The show closed with “Naughty” from “Matilda” and “One Night Only” from “Dreamgirls” to “remind the audience that VPAA is a one-night-only showstopper.”
Perhaps the best part of the show was what it represented—that children can and will perform some of the most famous and illustrious showstoppers from the stage and screen with the same passion of the original performers.
The goal of VPAA and the “Showstoppers!” performance was to “make more complete people,” according to the VPAA staff.