‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’
Motown madnessWhat: The Vail Performing Arts Academy presents “You Can’t Stop the Beat Goes Motown,” a stage treatment of classic Motown hits.Where: Vilar Center, Beaver Creek.When: Saturday and Sunday at 6:30 p.m.Cost: Adults $25, students and seniors $15. All proceeds benefit the VPAA and the Vilar Community Performance Fund.
For the third edition of the Vail Performing Arts Academy’s “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” executive director Annah Scully and artistic director/choreographer Colin Meiring wanted to choose a theme that would reach across generations in an effort to make audiences of all ages want to jump up, dance and sing along.”Every year, we try and give it a new twist,” Scully said. “It’s sort of funny to have Motown in the mountains of Vail, but it works. These are all the Motown hits my generation grew up with, and we passed it on to the generations after us, so everyone can really get into it.”About 50 kids between 8 and 18 make up this year’s “You Can’t Stop the Beat” cast; together, they’ll recreate a 1960s live broadcast of “American Soul Express” by counting down hit songs of the era, belting out each number and hoofing along in a dance showcase. Memorable hits include “ABC,” “Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch,” “My Guy” and “Respect.”
“These kids have taken advantage of everything the valley has to offer and beyond,” Scully said. “For such a little place, we have a big pool of talent, and we’re excited to have as many great kids as we do.”Aiding and abetting these talented kids onstage are two seasoned pros: Local piano-pro Tony Gulizia and Donna Huntley, a Broadway vet with a distinguished 30-year career.”Tony should be in Vegas headlining – I don’t know how we keep him here,” Scully said. “And Donna Huntley is the real deal; the opportunity to combine our talented group with her professional talent is going to be amazing.”Meiring performed with Huntley on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and a chance reconnection lead to an artistic collaboration.”He’s working with young people and, a lot of the time, the arts have been taken out of schools – (people) forget using creativity and imagination is a powerful tool,” Huntley said. “You have to hone in on those skills and appreciate the individual creativity of each child. I love to be a part of that, and believe me, that’s all coming out in this show.””She managed to get time off from Broadway and is going to blow our minds with her true Motown soul,” Meiring said. “It is such a rare treat for our local talent to perform and learn from this Broadway star.”
Huntley has worked with professionals and amateurs alike all across the world – but some casts can be more difficult than others.”I was in Washington, D.C., working with third-graders recently – which was very interesting,” Huntley said. “Their attention span is quite short. You just have to be really patient and allow for some misteps. You know, one says, ‘can I go to the bathroom,’ and they all gotta go.””Every now and then, though, you find that one kid that wants to work a little harder. They’re the diamond in the rough, and you work a little more with them, ’cause you know you’ll hear about them later.”Arts & Entertainment writer Ted Alvarez can be reached at 748-2939 or email@example.com.Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado