“Happy Days – A New Musical” coming to VCHS

Popular television series brought to life a generation later through Vail Christian High School students

“Happy Days – A New Musical” will be performed at Vail Christian High School Thursday through Saturday.
Vail Christian High School/Courtesy photo

Get ready to see Richie Cunningham and friends, Potsie Weber, Ralph Malph, The Fonz and the rest of the gang at Arnold’s restaurant as “Happy Days – A New Musical” takes the stage at Vail Christian High School this weekend.

Around 45 high school students comprise the cast and crew in this spring’s performance, and they have been working on their lines, staging and dance moves since January.

“I chose ‘Happy Days – A New Musical’ because it’s lighthearted, nostalgic, colorful and has a large ensemble cast with amazing dancing,” said VCHS theater director Melinda Carlson.

“Happy Days – A New Musical,” is based off of the ABC hit television series about teenage life in the 1950s. It aired 11 seasons, from 1974 to 1984. When asked if any of the students were familiar with the series, Carlson said they had no idea.

“They watched episodes and began to look at the 1950s culture. It took a while for them to understand the corny characters and all the nuances of the 1950s. All the regular characters are a part of the show with the same personalities,” Carlson said.

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The musical plot line follows the story of the impending destruction of Arnold’s, the beloved restaurant where everyone hangs out. The whole town is devastated and determined to save it.

Carlson said that theater is an integral part of the experience at VCHS.

“Theater is important at VCHS because it gives the students the opportunity to not only work on singing, acting, dancing and stagecraft skills but it also grows self-confidence, teamwork, self-discipline. It also gives them a creative outlet,” Carlson said. “Even in a school the size of VCHS, it offers community building among all grades. Some of these students would not know each other, apart from the work they do to create a show.”

A few of the other musicals VCHS has done in recent years include “Mary Poppins,” “Cinderella,” “Freaky Friday,” “Footloose” and “Newsies.”

The students are excited to be able to perform without pandemic restrictions.

“We did a small online version of ‘Footloose’ the year COVID struck. We were in dress rehearsals on March 13 that year, but managed to create a small version for families to view through the help of choreographer Meredith Kirkham,” Carlson said.

The next musical at VCHS was “Newsies” and it was a full production on stage, but the students performed in masks.

“It had to be postponed once due to COVID exposures, but we were able to do three of the four performances last year,” Carlson said.

COVID restrictions or not, these students have been dedicated and committed to the creative process.

“Most of them are multiple sport athletes, as well as AP students. Even with rigorous schedules, you will see multifaceted students which says a lot for who they are as people,” Carlson said. “‘Happy Days’ truly is all the things people remember. It’s corny, fun and just makes you feel good.”

Performances start at 7 p.m. on Thursday and continue Friday and Saturday night with a matinee at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and children not in school yet are free. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at

If you go…

What: “Happy Days – A New Musical”

When: April 21-23, shows at 7 p.m.; matinee show at 2:30 p.m. Saturday April 23

Where: Vail Christian High School

Tickets: $15 for adults, $10 for students and children not in school yet are free.

More info:

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