‘The Entertainer’ returns to Beaver Creek
Editor’s note: Director’s Chair is a weekly column where Kris Sabel, executive director for the Vilar Performing Arts Center, gives his expert take on shows not to be missed.On Feb. 5, 1998, Oscar-winning pianist/composer Marvin Hamlisch walked out onto the stage of the recently-completed Vilar Performing Arts Center for the inaugural performance at the newest venue in Beaver Creek. Thirteen years and numerous hits later, Hamlisch will once again make that walk on Wednesday as “The Entertainer” makes his triumphant return to the Vilar Center.This very special and intimate evening promises to be historic in more ways than one, as Hamlisch is only one of two people ever to be awarded Grammy, Emmy, Oscar and Tony awards plus the Pulitzer Prize. He shares this distinction with Richard Rodgers of Rodgers & Hammerstein fame. All of these awards speak to the breadth and scope of his talent and body of work. This performance will be a rare opportunity to spend an up-close-and-personal evening with the artist and the man. He will share the stories behind many of his most famous works, along with his thoughts on the business and his career. Just in case you need to be reminded of the magnitude of his career work, Hamlisch composed the score and won the Tony and Pulitzer Prize for the Broadway hit, “A Chorus Line.” He also wrote and adapted the soundtracks for many memorable films, including “The Sting,” “The Way We Were,” “Sophie’s Choice,” and “Ordinary People.” Currently, he holds the position of Principal Pops Conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, the Seattle Symphony and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.The Vilar Center is the perfect venue for a concert like this. Hamlisch is a warm and genuine person with a great sense of humor. For those in the audience, I imagine the feeling will be much like he came to our homes to spend the evening just with us. Joining him on the Vilar Center stage will be Mark McVey, who made his Broadway debut as Jean Valjean in “Les Misrables.” McVey has been a guest artist with symphonies around the world as well as with the Boston Pops, making his Carnegie Hall debut with Hamlisch. Along with providing the vocals for many of Hamlisch’s songs, I imagine we are likely to hear him sing “Bring Him Home” from “Les Misrables.” Rounding out next week, we present James Hunter on Friday night. If you’re not familiar with this talented artist, I strongly encourage you to check out his British R&B and soul sounds on our website. He makes the music come alive and I swear you’d think you were listening to Sam Cooke. I feel confident that this show is going to be one of those hidden gems that we present. I fell in love with his sound about five seconds after listening to his album “People Gonna Talk.” It was one of those rare albums where I loved every song, listened to the album straight through in one sitting and then listened to it in my car for the next several weeks.