Theater with Altitude column: The bachelor, his girlfriends and a dose of reality
What do you get when five married couples throw their best friend, Robert, a handsome bachelor who resists settling down, a surprise 35th birthday? The answer is a hilarious and touching evening of “Company,” the Vail Valley Theatre Company’s (VVTC) upcoming production of the musical comedy by Stephen Sondheim.You may not recognize our leading man, played by Vail Native, Lance Schober, without his familiar VVTC “Rocky Horror” costume. Excited to be out of the seven-inch heels, he says of this show, “I like the idea of telling a good story, being able to move people through laughter, excitement or pure horror (‘Rocky Horror’) … sorry I couldn’t resist!” “I’ve been married to my wonderful and patient wife, Lisa, for 13 years,” he said. “My connection to playing the role of Robert is a true love of my best friends who I would do anything in the world for. I am also enjoying watching each and every one of our local actors bring their talents to the surface, making this show a very real experience for the audience.” The girlfriendsMeet Marta, a fiery New Yorker; April, a flighty flight attendant and Cathy, a down-to-earth girl who would have married Robert, if he’d only asked. During a dynamite musical moment of the show, this trio confess to the audience that Robert “Could Drive a Person Crazy” with his carefree bachelor ways. Marta is played by local Manor Vail Sales and Marketing Director Nicole Whitaker, who has been acting since she was six years old and volunteering her time with VVTC since 2008. “I am passionate about showcasing the incredible talent in this valley and giving back to the community through our non-profit theatre company,” she said.Mallory Parks, who works as the sales and catering coordinator at The Four Seasons in Vail, makes her debut performance with VVTC as the enchanting flight attendant, April.”I’m just thrilled to be performing with this company,” she said, “and I hope my enthusiasm will inspire others to join us on stage in the future.”The simple beauty of Cathy is being brought to life by local land use planner and “Hardscrabble Bluegrass Band” singer, Jena Skinner, who has been performing with VVTC since 2006. “Just watching all of these amazing people bring this show to life … it’s just wonderful,” she said.’Unguarded Conversations’Meet the last of our married couples, “Joanne and Larry.” Joanne, played by VVTC veteran, Charis Patterson, brings a dark dose of reality to Robert’s bachelor-centric world. Her third husband, Larry, played by longtime local, John Tedstrom, is an all-around nice guy who adores his wife, despite her sarcasm and brutal honesty.”Joanne is not a likeable person a lot of the time, which makes her a challenging role to play. I can however relate to having extremely unguarded conversations when I’ve had too much to drink,” said Patterson, a performer since high school.Tedstrom got into theater years ago when his daughter, Anna, asked him to audition for “Peter Pan.””I got hooked on Captain Hook and have done shows every year since. Being on stage is 50 percent pure exhilaration and 50 percent sheer terror – and I’m addicted.”Both actors are married to their “first” spouses in real life. Patterson to her husband of 11 years, Mark, with their two beautiful daughters, ages three and five, and Tedstrom to his wife of 25 years, Carri, with their three children; Charlie, 22; Connor, 20; and Anna, a senior at Battle Mountain. It’s inspiring to see these local families support the actors in their households who volunteer their precious free time to bring live theater to the valley.Stay tuned to next week’s column where you’ll meet the incredible crew of “Company.” From the set and lights to the choreography, music and direction, the Vail Valley is quite lucky to have these local talents.