Best of Broadway series returns to Vilar Performing Arts Center at Beaver Creek
Special to the Weekly
Jan. 16-17: “Kinky Boots”
Feb. 7: “RENT”
March 24: “Musical Thrones”
March 27: “Let It Be”
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek.
More information: Visit www.vilarpac.org.
While New York City may outshine the Vail Valley when it comes to bright lights and bustling streets, that doesn’t mean the mountains can’t enjoy a taste of big-city entertainment as Great White Way makes its way to Beaver Creek this winter.
The Vilar Performing Arts Center’s Broadway series returns for another year with crowd-pleasing shows that include the 2013 Tony Award winning, heart-warming “Kinky Boots,” the 20th anniversary of the Broadway staple “RENT,” the thoroughly silly “Musical Thrones: A Parody of Fire and Ice,” and The Beatle’s homage “Let It Be.”
The series officially kicked off in December with Neil Berg’s “100 Years of Broadway” and continued in early January with “Broadway’s Next H!t Musical.” With four more shows to come, executive director Duncan Horner says the 2017-18 season will be one of the theater’s biggest musical seasons to date.
“The interest in Broadway transcends generations and, as such, brings the community together in a unique way,” Horner said. “Broadway also puts us on the map — not all venues can accommodate such huge productions, but even though it’s operationally challenging, the Vilar manages to pull it off, and as such extends its appeal and audience base.”
The beauty of watching a Broadway show on the Vilar Center stage is that there’s no bad seat in the house. Spectators from the back of the theater to the front row won’t miss a word, a facial expression or a twirl the entire show.
Lance Bordelon, who plays the lead character Charlie in “Kinky Boots,” expects the intimate setting to create a unique performance in what is already an emotionally moving musical.
“‘Kinky Boots’ is such a high-energy show, and it’s infectious,” Bordelon said. “It’s a show that focuses on the message of acceptance, but is also extremely rich and multi-layered. So far we’ve been to more than 30 cities on this tour, and we’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response.”
“Kinky Boots,” accompanied by a heartfelt and joyful score by Cyndi Lauper, tells the story of Charlie Price, a young man who reluctantly takes over his family’s struggling shoe factory.
However, Charlie’s world is changed when he meets Lola, a fabulous drag queen looking for a sturdy new pair of heels. Together, they find new inspiration for the factory, and learn about true friendship, acceptance, loss and love.
The show’s infectious music, emotional range and toe-tapping dance numbers (performed on sky-high heels, of course) have earned it numerous awards for Best Musical since the show premiered in 2013. Bordelon said he thinks the appeal of the show lies in the fact that audiences can often relate to “Kinky Boots” message.
“It’s not a preachy show at all, but there definitely is a message. Because you’re laughing and having a good time, you don’t realize it’s happening,” Bordelon said.
Amidst showstopping numbers such as “Land of Lola,” and heartfelt duets such as “Not My Father’s Son,” Bordelon said he’s seen the show make a deep impact on audiences from Ohio to New York.
“After the show, there’s always someone who wants to get something off their chest,” Bordelon said. “One mother came up to me crying after a show and told me that her son had just come out and that she was having a hard time with it. She said, ‘The show reminded me of how much I love my son and who he is.’ That’s why I think it’s so important to take a show like this on the road.”
“Kinky Boots” comes to the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Jan. 16-17 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $88 and $108.
From Alphabet City to the Northern Kingdom
The Broadway series continues on Feb. 7 with “RENT,” the 1996 rock opera that became a runaway hit.
Amidst riffs of electric guitars and high-energy dance numbers, “RENT” still manages to stay fresh two decades later. The story follows the lives of seven New York City artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out, reminding audiences to measure their lives with the only thing that truly matters — love and friendship.
“RENT” debuts at Beaver Creek on Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $88 and $108.
While “RENT” urges audiences to measure their lives in “Seasons of Love,” the “Musical Thrones” reminds everyone that “winter is coming.” Fans of fantasy and comedy will enjoy this silly, hysterical Broadway rendition of the very-serious, Emmy Award-winning “Game of Thrones.” Created by brothers Jon and Al Kaplan, the show brings all of the most beloved and most hated Game of Thrones characters to life with the help of a ballad or two.
Horner said the show is appealing both to fans of the shows as well as those less familiar with the series.
“(‘Musical Thrones’) walks you through what the show is all about in a very clever and amusing way,” he said. “It’s certainly more efficient than sitting through hours of televised episodes. Don’t blame me, though, if this triggers some binge watching.”
“Musical Thrones” comes to the Vilar Performing Arts Center on March 24 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $38.
Finally, the Broadway season closes out with “Let It Be: A Celebration of the Music of the Beatles.” The show imagines what would have happened if the Fab Four had reunited 10 years after their breakup. Audiences will get to experience Beatlemania and relive the glory of Beatles classics such as “Hey Jude,” “Back in the USSR” and more. Catch John, Paul, George and Ringo on the Vilar Performing Arts Center stage on March 27 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $58 and $78.