Cole Porter in the valley
BEAVER CREEK – With all the national acts coming through the Vail Valley this winter, now it’s the locals’ turn. This weekend, the Vail Valley Theatre Company presents its annual “Evening on Broadway,” with this year’s theme being the music of Cole Porter in a World War II nightclub setting.Last year, the first night sold out so quickly that they added a second, said Beth Swearingen, director and choreographer of the show. This year, two nights are slated for the Vilar Center, and Swearingen said they expect similar big turnout.”It’s such a great community event,” she said. “Most people will recognize all the songs, and we’ve got a great cast it really showcases a lot of wonderful local talent.”
A fundraiser for the theatre company, “Evening on Broadway” will feature about 35 performers, plus a five-piece band. Also performing as part of the show will be about 20 members of the Vail Performing Arts Academy. The young performers, who range in age from 8-17, will do their own versions of some Porter numbers, Swearingen said.Now in its fifth year, the “Evening on Broadway” show was the creation of David Priboth, a member of the theater’s board. Swearingen came on three years ago as director and choreographer, while Bob Finnie took up the duties of music director. They then added a live band.”That’s been a great touch that really pumped up the energy,” Swearingen said. One of the most interesting things, she said, is that audiences get to see members of the community performing, even if they had no idea they were performers.”They come out to support people they didn’t know could sing and dance it could be the local bank teller or the person who teaches your kids,” she said.
The choice of Cole Porter music this year was a natural for the event, Swearingen said.”He’s one of the most influential composers of the 20th century, and it’s just great, upbeat music,” she said.Sets and costumes will match the 1940s nightclub theme.”That and the music are very reminiscent of a time and place,” Swearingen said. “Everyone’s reaction to Cole Porter is that they love him. It’s feel-good music with beautiful melodies and witty lyrics.While visitors to the valley are welcome to attend this weekend’s performance, she said there’s always the hope that community members will see the show and want to try it themselves.
“We hope that anyone who comes out might say, ‘Hey, I can do that next year,'” she said.Cole Porter – an American legendAmerican composer Cole Porter was born in Indiana in 1891 and reached his heyday in the 1930s with a string of hit shows include “The New Yorkers,” “Gay Divorcee” and “Red Hot and Blue.” Other notable shows include “Kiss Me Kate” and “Anything Goes.” Some of his best-known songs include “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “Let’s Misbehave” and “De-Lovely.”
Porter died in 1964. The most recent film of his life was made in 2004, with Kevin Kline portraying Porter in “De-Lovely.”If you goVail Valley Theatre Company and Vilar Center for the Arts present “An Evening on Broadway: Now, That’s Cole”7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 11 and 12
Tickets are $55 and can be purchased by calling 845-8497 or online at vilarcenter.org.Alex Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14625, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado