Timeless ‘Saturday Night Fever’ takes Vail Mountain School stage through, when else, Saturday night | VailDaily.com

Timeless ‘Saturday Night Fever’ takes Vail Mountain School stage through, when else, Saturday night

Daily Staff Report
newsroom@vaildaily.com

VAIL — Saturday Night Fever debuted 41 years ago, but the messages of love, family, peer pressures and what is expected still vexes teenagers. And though Bay Ridge, New York is a far cry, far away from Vail, the students at Vail Mountain School found much to connect with in their spring production.

On Saturday night, April 7, the show takes the stage at Vail Mountain School's Abuisi Theater. The production features nearly 20 students in grades 9-12, and an abundance of bell-bottoms, sequins, and some of the era's most memorable hits.

You know the story

You know the story: 19-year old Tony Manero is an Italian American growing up in the city. He works in a paint store, but he's a dancer—and he's really good. His parents call him Anthony, which is emblematic of a pull toward tradition and the old world ways of hard work and foundational faith that they idealize in Tony's brother Frank, who is a priest.

But Tony has other ideas. He sees dancing as a way out of Bay Ridge, but also out of what he sees as a stagnant relationship with his dance partner, Annette, that is further complicated by her unrequited love for him.

Enter Stephanie. She's also breaking out of Bay Ridge, but has the talent and drive to do so, and is well on her way off Long island and onto its more glitzy neighbor, Manhattan. And while she has caught Tony's eye, she couldn't care less about a neighborhood boy who could drag her back across the East River.

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Then there's the matter of a dance competition, which tempts Tony with a cash prize and validation of his talents. But he believes that to win, he needs to dance with Stephanie, and thus begins the chase, which turns into "just coffee" and goes from there. A crisis of faith, teenage pregnancy, and an accidental death add to the drama, and the rest, so to speak, is history.

Something and Someone New

This show is also the debut for the new VMS Theatre Director, Tony Bender, who joined the school this year. Tony moved to Vail from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and holds BA in musical theatre from DeSales University. He has worked as a stage actor, a voice actor, and a production manager for professional theatre companies. He's also an experienced director and teaches playwriting.

"I'm really impressed by the talent I've seen in the students. They have really stepped up and worked hard to make this show shine," Bender said. "VMS offers theatre as a major class that is a part of the academic curriculum, and this is one of the aspects that drew me to the program. Every other school I've worked with treats theatre as an extracurricular, outside of the normal schedule, but we have time nearly every day for rehearsals, and that makes a real difference."

Bender announced next year's VMS theatre offerings at a parent meeting on Tuesday night. They include: "Annie" for the middle school, "Chicago" (high school edition) for the upper school musical, and "The Laramie Project" for the upper school standard. Bender is also directing "Grease," this year's VMS middle school musical, which takes the stage May 3-5.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

If You Go

What: Saturday Night Fever

When: Thursday, Friday & Saturday, April 5-7, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Vail Mountain School, 3000 Booth Falls Rd. Vail, CO 81657

Tickets: $15

Information: Tickets available in advance at http://www.vms.edu/tickets or at the door night of show

Cast

Tony- Cameron Bill

Stephanie- Christie Spessard

Annette- Sophia Nisonoff

Pauline- Alicia Chavez

Bobby- Scott Hintz

Joey- Nico O’Connell

Double-J- Shane Cole

Gus- Julian Nisonoff/Finn Sapp

Pete- Alicia Chavez

Monty- Graham Spessard

Candy- Hayley Bill

Frank/Frank Jr.- Jordan Harrison

Fusco- Finn Sapp/Graham Spessard

Linda- Amanda Dirvonas

Flo- Audrey Howell

Doreen- Mika Leith

Jay- Julian Nisonoff/Finn Sapp

Cesar- Shane Cole

Maria- Alicia Chavez

Gabriel- Devin Yarde

Live Band

Bora Basyildiz, Castor Hetfield, Peter Littman, Nathan Rouaud