Eagle County students take the stage
Upcoming student theater productions
• Eagle Valley High School presents “High School Musical” March 12, 13, 14 at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium.
• Vail Performing Arts Academy presents “Jump, Jive & Wail!” March 14 and 15 at 6:30 p.m. at Homestake Peak School in Edwards.
• Vail Mountain School presents “When Love Takes Over” on March 19, 20 and 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the school auditorium.
• Vail Mountain School presents “Avenue Q”: School Edition on April 30, May 1 and 2 at 6:30 p.m. and May 3 at 2 p.m. in the school auditorium.
• Battle Mountain High School presents “Anything Goes” April 2, 3 and 4 at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium.
• Vail Christian High School presents “Musical Review” tentatively scheduled for April 24 and 25 at the school’s auditorium.
Nearly 300 local students across four different high schools, and the Vail Performing Arts Academy, are preparing for annual spring musical performances.
With auditions held as early as January, the student talent, stage hands, directors, choreographers, set builders and volunteers have spent hundreds of hours preparing to showcase the best of local student theater.
Featuring musical reviews from the ages, classic period pieces, modern drama, puppets, sketch comedy and original dialogue, here is a roundup of Vail Valley student musical theater productions taking place this spring:
“High School Musical,” by Eagle Valley High School, March 12, 13, 14 at 7 p.m. in the EVHS Auditorium
Under the direction of director Cathy Strickler and musical director Pat Sheehy, 46 Eagle Valley High School students, including five stage crew, have spent their Monday through Thursday evenings rehearsing the popular on-stage adaption of the Disney hit “High School Musical.”
The plot features a shy female transfer student who excels at science and math and the captain of the boys basketball team as they try out for the lead of their high school’s musical. As the auditions go on, characters tackle and defy a rift in typical high school stereotypes as a story of resisting peer pressure, overcoming rivalry and transcending the status quo unfolds.
“This is basically the story of high school,” Strickler said. “These kids are living it and we are going to perform it. You have your divas in the theater program, jocks, jealousy and competition for friendship. They students really identify with the message and that is reflected in their performance.”
“Jump, Jive & Wail!” by Vail Performing Arts Academy, March 14 and 15 at 6:30 p.m. at Homestake Peak School in Edwards
The Vail Performing Arts Academy hosts its annual spring showcase in a lively tribute to various popular Broadway tunes from the 1950s and 1960s in a production called “Jump, Jive & Wail!”
The program features 50 Performing Arts Academy students ages eight to 18, and will touch on iconic numbers from “Grease” to Elvis in a revue-style format derived from the mind of Colin Meiring, the academy’s director for 13 years. There are no particular acting scenes and each piece will be entirely dedicated to high-energy song and dance.
“It’s a hodgepodge that comes from my experience in a number of performance environments,” Meiring said. “People always love it. We’ll do popular songs like ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat,’ ‘Twist and Shout,’ ‘Only You.’ The revue format lets us do some of people’s favorites.”
“When Love Takes Over” by Vail Mountain School, March 19, 20, 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the VMS Auditorium
“Avenue Q”: School Edition by Vail Mountain School April 30, May 1 and 2 at 6:30 p.m. and May 3 at 2 p.m. in the VMS Auditorium
Vail Mountain School’s recently appointed theater director, Greg Jones, is demonstrating his ambition this spring by bringing two separate productions to the east end of the Vail Valley.
The first is a musical review “When Love Takes Over,” and features 40 students. The night will dive in to 1980s hits such as “Africa,” “Red Balloons,” “Love Shack” and “Come On Eileen.” The songs are tied together by on-stage dialogue penned by Jones.
“What I am looking to do with this show is to show off more students and their talents,” Jones said. “In each song you will find a different lead.”
The second production, “Avenue Q”: School Edition is an age-appropriate adaption of the original “Avenue Q” that beat “Wicked” for Best Musical at the 2003 Tony Awards. The coming-of-age plot features a character trying to find his purpose after graduating college with a degree in English. Told with on-stage characters and puppets, the Vail Mountain School performance will feature 12 to 15 students.
“It is a show that sort of challenges us to think about how politically correct our society has become,” Jones said. “It pokes fun at that.”
“Anything Goes,” by Battle Mountain High School, April 2, 3 and 4 at 7 p.m. in the BMHS Auditorium
Having debuted on Broadway in 1934, the classic period piece “Anything Goes” will be revived by 55 Battle Mountain High School students with leadership from director/producer Sheresa Wilbanks, assistant director Kaylee Brennan, choreographer Meredith Steinke and set building by Cooter Overcash and David Meyer.
The musical takes the audience aboard an ocean liner bound from New York to London where eccentric scenarios play out around various couples and their evolving romance for one another. Wilbanks and crew have opted to go all in on some of the edgier moments of the play to allow the audience a snapshot of life in the ’30s.
“It is going to be a show of a lifetime, it really will be top-notch with song and dance and a full set,” Wilbanks said. “It’s comedic. It’s a lot of dance. It is a fun approach seeing how our culture has grown from the 1930s.”
“Musical Revue,” by Vail Christian High School. Tentatively slated for the evenings of April 24, 25 in the VCHS Auditorium
After a one-year hiatus from spring musical production, Vail Christian students Larkin Smith, Rachel Keith and Rocky Walder are spearheading a return journey to the stage under the direction of Melinda Carlson.
Having recently completed auditions, the aforementioned students along with 20 others, will host a unique night of musical theater presented in sketch comedy format similar to that of the program introductions at the Tony Awards.
Two comedic emcees will introduce performances from shows such as “Pippin” and “Bring It On.”
“We used to have a pretty lively theater program. It was just last year that nothing really came up,” said Smith, a Vail Christian senior. “This year we want to bring it back and do some shows that are out there that the valley hasn’t seen before.”
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