Never-ending childhood adventure in Vail
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL – Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Captain Hook and the rest of the crew are flying to Neverland, aka the Gerald Ford Amphitheater in Vail, Monday and Thursday night. The Children’s Theatre School is performing “Peter Pan,” the beloved children’s story about a place where children can fly (and magically refuse to grow old) and life is a never-ending adventure.
Gretta Assaly, the director of the musical, has done everything in theater during her career and chose to come to the valley to specifically work with children.
“They have developed and grown like little flowers,” she said. “The children learn singing, acting, choreography, and how to move on stage.”
Children from East Vail to Dotsero – and even some from Florida and Georgia – are taking part in this year’s family-friendly production, Assaly said.
“(The kids) sing songs from Peter Pan all day at rehearsal and continue on their carpool home,” she said. “Consequently, some well-rehearsed parents have joined their children onstage.”
Since everyone wants to be the star, each night the main roles will be performed by different children. Anabel Johnson and Camryn Woodworth, for example, each play Peter. Johnson and Woodworth said not a lot of people understand how much work goes into a musical like Peter Pan. The main characters spend a lot of time rehearsing and practice “flying” with the help of their lifting personnel, that is, their dads.
“Strong dads in black who are covered with clouds will pick us up so it really looks like we are flying!” said Amanda Lingle, who plays Wendy.
Most of the kids say they participate in the theater group because they like being with their friends who share the same interests.
“The best part about all of it is that you are making great new friends and you will always have a good time,” said James Quenon, who plays Michael.
For Quenon, the tight time frame has been tough.
“Truly the most challenging is learning all the lines and dancing in under a month,” he said.
Even if they aren’t in the main star cast, each child has an important role in the production. Hannah Heckman and the Kurronen sisters are helping out as chorus members and as the costume designers under the direction of Diana Donovan.
By far the most challenging role is that of glittery Tinkerbell, played by Jasmine Hartman-Budnik and Amanda Boyd.
“The hardest part about being a fairy is that you get really tired of running all over the place,” Boyd said. “We have to fly all over too.”
“We have to do it … because Tinkerbell doesn’t talk. That’s hard for me!” Hartman-Budnik agreed, laughing.
With songs like “What Happens When You’re Grown Up” and “You Gotta Believe,” this musical makes you want to dance. The show is a little under two hours long with exciting scene changes and it holds your attention. This production is not your average grade-school play. These kids pride themselves on being very professional and really making sure that the audience is having a great experience.
“All of the kids have put in so much work, and people should expect a lot of great acting and crazy costumes,” said Shannon Overcash, the intern director. “We hope you come to the shows.”