Broadway’s newest superstar coming to the Beav
Vail CO, Colorado
Editor’s note: Director’s Chair is a weekly 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.
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” My guess is that you, the reader, fall into one of the following categories when asked about Duncan Sheik. You either say, “Who is he? What does he do?” or “Oh yeah, he’s the one-hit wonder who sang that song ‘Barely Breathing’ a few years ago,” or finally “He recently wrote the score for the Tony Award-wining musical ‘Spring Awakening’ … I didn’t know he had a band!”
Duncan Sheik is a singer, songwriter and composer and Broadway’s newest superstar ” and much, much more. With five albums, two Tony Awards and several Grammy nominations, Sheik is one of today’s hottest musicians. I encourage you not to miss his performance Monday evening at the Vilar Performing Arts Center.
I truly believe this will be one of those incredible concerts that the Vilar Center has become famous for. Monday’s show will be the last stop on Sheik’s very special mountain tour, which has included performances in Park City, Utah; Boulder and Aspen. Between his Aspen and Beaver Creek shows, he’ll be at the Grammy Awards, where he’s nominated for Best Musical Show Album for “Spring Awakening.”
Based on the controversial 1891 play by the German playwright Frank Wedekind, “Spring Awakening” focuses on the sexual maturing of youth in a sexually repressed society. Ancillary topics in the original play are just as touchy today as they were in the 19th century: abortion, masturbation, rape and homosexuality. The show’s contemporary rock score has been compared to that of “Rent.”
Here is what Clive Barnes of the New York Post had to say about the show: “The good is rare enough in the theater, but the excellent is … well, just excellent … the gritty, groundbreaking ‘Spring Awakening’ gave an unexpected jolt of sudden genius to wake up the hidebound Broadway musical.”
In addition to several selections from the show, Sheik also will be performing works from his five albums and hopefully some new things not yet available on compact disc. The performance will feature Sheik on guitar and vocals backed up by piano, drums, female vocals and a string quartet. This is definitely an acoustic-style show, and the Vilar Center is the perfect venue for this type of performance.
As a singer-songwriter, Sheik is known for insightful lyrics about life affairs, especially in the matters of relationships or lack thereof. I am most familiar with his album “White Limousine,” which was produced independently. Sheik’s comments on the album give a glimpse into his thinking as an artist: “Because this record was essentially finished before there was any partnership with a record label, I was able to write and record these songs to satisfy a specific set of aesthetic and conceptual criteria of my own choosing as opposed to trying to satisfy the commercial needs of a corporation. This was liberating because there wasn’t even an unconscious attempt to record these songs for what I now believe to be the wrong reasons.”
Sheik has come a long way since he started out as a guitarist in Lisa Loeb’s band. Rumor has it he didn’t sing in the band because he didn’t think his voice was good enough. Well, his voice is smooth and seductive, and I can’t wait to hear it fill the theater with his heartfelt and insightful songs.
I hope to see you at the Vilar Center!
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