Beaver Creek: Through the innkeeper’s eyes |

Beaver Creek: Through the innkeeper’s eyes

Sarah Mausolf
Beaver Creek, CO Colorado
Theo Stroomer/Vail DailyCelia Smith and classmates perform the song "Receive the King" during a rehearsal for "Miracle on Bethlehem Street" Tuesday at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” Because Vail and Beaver Creek are packed with hotels, perhaps it makes sense to tell the nativity story from the innkeeper’s perspective.

Remember how Joseph and Mary placed baby Jesus in a manger because “there was no room for them in the inn”?

The musical “Miracle on Bethlehem Street” is a fictional story about the innkeeper who turned them away. Students from The Vail Academy will perform the musical Thursday night at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.

In the musical, Benjamin decides to create a luxury inn complete with valet camel hitching and a fig on every pillow to accommodate the people flooding into Bethlehem to take a census.

“I love the music in it and I love the story theme about it,” musical director Christi Howell said. “You don’t get the innkeeper’s take on things very often.”

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Within the context of Beaver Creek, the story takes on an added layer of humor. During a brainstorming session about what to name the inn, one of the innkeeper’s staffers cries: “I got it: What about The Ritz-Carlton of Bethlehem? Not exactly roughing it.”

For students in the show, the story offers an opportunity to reflect on their characters’ motivations.

Eleven-year-old Caleb Chastain, who plays the innkeeper, said his character’s major flaw is his selfishness.

“If I was him, I would probably do the same thing [run a luxury inn] but I wouldn’t be turning away people like Joseph and Mary,” he said. “I would be like, ‘OK, I’ll let you in but you just have to pay a little more than you’re offering’ or something like that.”

Chastain sings “Dollars and Census,” one of many clever tunes in the show. The female lead, 13-year-old Paris Baker, sings about a dream she had foreshadowing the coming of the Messiah.

In total, the show stars about 115 students ranging from ages 3 to 14. Along with the musical, students from Vail Christian High School, St. Clare of Assisi and several local churches will sing Christmas carols.

Inside the Vilar auditorium, children squealed with delight as a maroon curtain swept open, revealing a backdrop that looked like a scene from “Aladdin.”

With palm trees, sand and a street market, the rented backdrop channeled downtown Bethlehem.

For the first time, The Vail Academy students will perform their Christmas show at the Vilar Center. In past years, they put on shows in the school gymnasium.

The new location means the show will be more elaborate than in past years.

“First of all, you’ve got lots of lights and a bigger stage,” Howell said. “It’s such a bigger scale. It’s such a good experience for the kids to be on a stage like the Vilar. How many times are they going to be able to be on a stage like this and have this experience?”

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or

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