An evening of sin in little known places; an Evening on Broadway
BEAVER CREEK “-Of all the Broadway performance companies that tour through the Vilar Center from the most cultured areas of the United States, Eagle Valley is itself home to a slew of hidden talent.
Throughout the years, some of Broadway’s classics ” “Cabaret,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Oliver,” etc. “-have been subject to several artistic mutations in various performances.
However, has anyone ever thought long and hard about all the sin involved in some of these numbers? The Vail Valley Theatre Company has. The company has taken some very recognizable hits and has assigned an actor to embody each of the seven deadly sins to pair with the numbers.
“There’s a lot of sin in Broadway. Unfortunately, we don’t have Brad Pitt in our version,” said Charis Patterson, performer and board member with the Vail Valley Theatre Company (VVTC) as well as the brainchild behind the sinful twist of this weekend’s “Evening on Broadway” at the Vilar Center.
“This is the fourth year we’ve done this benefit,” Patterson said. “We had to make it fresh every year. Last year, we heard several people say it was one of the best shows the Vilar had all season. For a local company, that’s fantastic. We’re not a Broadway company. Anyone can become involved.”
The VVTC has been active for about 20 years, but four years ago, Dave Priboth had the idea to incorporate a Broadway performance into the company’s repertoire and the Vilar Center wove it into its winter lineup of professional acts last year with “Not Your Father’s Broadway.”
“The first year we didn’t have time to do much but get it done,” Priboth said. “After that, it’s been a collaboration of a whole lot of people. After the first two years, it was a box office success and an artistic success. Kris Sabel (Vilar Center director) was very instrumental. He’s the guy I went through to see if we could do it at the Vilar and not pay what “Lord of the Dance” pays.
He was very encouraging. The first two years, the makeup of the show was much more well-known Broadway music. Last year we decided we needed to update and change the format some.”
This weekend’s performance will benefit the theater company and the Buckman Blount Community Performance Fund and will feature live music led by Splendido regular Bob Finnie. More than 50 performers from VVTC, plus several from Vail Performing Arts Academy and the Academy of Dance will put their talents on display.
“That in itself is a really exciting aspect of this show,” said Beth Swearingen, director of “Evening on Broadway” and formerly a Broadway actress herself. “It’s representing a coming together and working together of three of the major local nonprofits. I think the major change was bringing in live music. We’re no longer limited to the constraints of what’s on a track. Live music brings a whole new energy to the stage. The sky is the limit.”
We’ve all heard of the seven deadly sins. By way of Broadway numbers, Don Watson will act as greed, Caroline Butler as lust, Simone Carlen as pride, Lance Schober as envy, Suzanne Foster as anger, Dallon Flint as sloth and Diana Honey-Kiss as gluttony.
“There are a lot of really high energy, winning numbers. Without giving away too much, we’ve taken seven characters that embody each of the sins and we play them off of Broadway shows,” Swearingen said. “It’s so varied. If you look at something like ‘West Side Story,’ the whole plot is about anger and lust. We started with a list of songs we thought fit into that concept, then we built the show around those.”
The end of stage fright
When we witness a performance, especially something derived from Broadway, often times many of us are possessed with a feeling of,
“Wow. That’s something I could never do.”
This isn’t the case with the Vail Valley Theatre Company.
Performers in “Evening on Broadway” consist of children to grown men and women who have daytime identities as office workers and restaurant staff.
“What I really hope people come away with aside from having a really good time is a recognition of all the talent that is right here in this valley,” Swearingen said. “Also, the feeling that, ‘Hey it’s community theater. That’s something I could be a part of.’ There’s a few of us who are ringers. But this production is made up entirely of talented people from all walks of life ” from attorneys to waiters.”
Everyone’s got some hidden talent. The talent from these local companies, however, has earned a spot in the package of Vilar Center performances that includes internationally renowned jazz musicians plus theater and dance companies straight out of New York and Chicago.
“We feel the quality of this performance is such we can include it in our regular schedule,” said Vilar Center spokeswoman Shelley Woodworth. “It’s not just community theater. It’s a step higher than that. Putting it in with our regular Broadway series is something we’ve been doing for years and something we feel proud to do.”
Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or firstname.lastname@example.org.