Dramatists descend upon Beaver Creek | VailDaily.com

Dramatists descend upon Beaver Creek

Andrew Harley
Special to the Daily Above: Donal O'Kelly presents "Catalpa" at the Beaver Creek Theatre Festival on Friday, June 25. Right: "43 Plays for 43 Presidents" shows June 23-26.

What’s in a festival?

The Beaver Creek Theatre Festival features four days of thespian-related fiesta.

Would a play at any other locale be as dramatic?

The Beaver Creek Theatre Festival runs from June 23-26 with the main stage at the Vilar Center. The off-Vilar portion of the festival plays at Allie’s Cabin and Beaver Creek Plaza.

“We’re looking for a signature event. Our (the Vilar Center’s) merger with the Vail Valley Foundation has allowed us to put on these festivals. With a dance and music festival, it seemed natural to choose a theater festival, to help put the Vilar Center on the map as a reputable performing arts venue and to round out the summer’s cultural offerings in the valley,” said Vilar Center Marketing Director Shelley Woodworth.

The shows

The Beaver Creek Theatre Festival, in its third season, will be showing such productions as “Catalpa,” “43 Plays for 43 Presidents,” “Yellowman,” “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” and “Open-Air Family Theatre.”

The Vilar Center regrets to announce that Kevin Kline’s “The Best of All Possible Words” has been canceled due to the fact that Kline will be in Paris during the month of June filming MGM’s remake of “The Pink Panther” – co-starring Steve Martin and Beyonce Knowles.

“Catalpa” marks the return of actor/playwright Donal O’Kelly to Beaver Creek. O’Kelly received resounding praise after debuting his production of “The Hand” in 2003.

“Catalpa,” with the aid of a musician, delves into the true story of six Irish prisoners lost at sea and their rescue.

“He (O’Kelly) integrates humor into rhythms and rhymes with storytelling,” said Woodworth.

“43 Plays for 43 Presidents” tackles two-minute biographies on each American president. The show is produced by Chicago’s Neo-Futurists and Beaver Creek Theatre Festival veterans.

“This show will have some humor with some seriousness, I’m sure there will be a lot of criticism and some praise,” said Woodworth.

The Neo-Futurists will also put on “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind,” which is an attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes, the order of which is up to the audience. A full house means pizza for all.

“Yellowman” is a production by Curious Theatre Company of Denver, which tells the story of a light-skinned African-American man, a darker-skinned African-American woman and their shared friendship. Curious Theatre Company brought “Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America” to Vilar Center in December of 2003.

“The play is set in the South and portrays a section of society we don’t usually get to see here,” said Woodworth.

The Beaver Creek Children’s Theatre has put together productions geared toward children of all ages. “Open-Air Family Theatre” is a free event held each day of the festival at 11 a.m. at the Beaver Creek Plaza.

“The idea of the Open-Air Theatre is to get kids involved in theater; the next generation of theatergoers and actors,” said Woodworth.

The Beaver Creek Theatre Festival was moved to June this year – it was held in August last year.

“We’re trying to extend the summer months and operate destination events. We hope to generate some early-season traffic in the valley a week before the Bravo! season starts,” said Woodworth. “Prima (the marketing coalition that produces Bravo!, the Vail International Dance Festival and the Beaver Creek Theatre Festival) is trying to make the Vail Valley a more attractive cultural destination.”

Tickets go on sale on Monday, April 12, and can be ordered in advance by calling 845-8497.

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