Students celebrate Las Vegas |

Students celebrate Las Vegas

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
HL Viva Vegas 01 TS 10-20-08

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” Fourteen-year-old Bailey Garton stands on a black box, singing “I Wanna be Loved by You” in a whispery voice.

Suddenly a fan blowing from below grabs her white halter dress and sends the skirt billowing skyward.

Giggling, Garton pushes the skirt down over the jeans she’s wearing underneath.

The Marilyn Monroe effect is exactly what play producer Annah Scully intended, though she laughs as she explains the car-tire-sized fan from Home Depot.

“We wanted to get two little (fans) but it’s seasonal, so we had to get this giant jet engine fan,” she said.

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Students were perfecting their transformation into Sin City characters during a rehearsal for “You Can’t Stop the Beat: Viva Las Vegas.”

Set to debut Saturday at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, the show is the Vail Performing Arts Academy’s fall musical review.

“The kids are all doing numbers that reflect the rat pack, Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Barry Manilow ” those kinds of numbers,” Scully said. “It’s been a history lesson for the kids because they have to learn a lot about that era, the ’50s and the ’60s, and then we do the modern Vegas too with the Blue Man Group, things like that.”

Colin Meiring, the show’s artistic director, knows quite a bit about Vegas. He was a dancer in a magic show in Vegas, and performed in Vegas-style shows on cruise ships. In choreographing “Viva Las Vegas,” Meiring kept much of the glitz and glamor of the strip in tact.

“I think the choreography is really ambitious for that age group and that’s been the most fun: To see kids being challenged and out of their comfort zone and being able to pull it off,” he said.

In the show, two acting hopefuls, Vicky (Anna Galer, 14) and Nathan (Collin Idzikowski, 13) win a trip to the Casino Vilaro, where they get to perform with the legends of Sin City. A classic Vegas wedding wraps up the show.

The numbers range from flashy group dances complete with showgirls to smaller acts with Vegas characters and their backup dancers.

Garton said her Marilyn Monroe costume helps her get into character.

“It’s her signature outfit,” she said. “The wig’s a little itchy, but it helps me get into character. I feel like Marilyn Monroe when I’m wearing this, so I can act like Marilyn Monroe.”

To get the Elvis look, 16-year-old Charlie Barry straps on a white polyester jumpsuit bristling with gold medallions.

“I guess I do more of a younger Elvis,” the Battle Mountain sophomore said. “Because as he got older, he had more of an accent.”

In one of the numbers, two students fox-trot across the dance floor as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. They pull off some dazzling lifts that leave 13-year-old Kayla Strahan suspended in the air.

“It’s like you’re flying,” she said.

Fourteen-year-old Blaize Olle, who plays Fred Astaire, is among the growing number of boys gravitating to the Vail Performing Arts Academy. He plays football for the Berry Creek Wildcats when he isn’t dancing.

The Vail Performing Arts Academy offers performance opportunities for students ages eight through 18. More than 70 children will perform in “Viva Las Vegas.” Through the show, Scully hopes to raise $10,000 for the Vail Performing Arts Academy and the Vilar Performing Arts Center Community Performance Fund. That fund covers fees local groups pay to use the Vilar.

“It’s a wonderful cause, because without that particular fund, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy that venue,” Scully said.

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or

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