Vail Performing Arts Academy presents ‘Young Broadway’ in Beaver Creek
If You Go ...
What: Vail Performing Arts Academy’s “Young Broadway.”
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek.
When: 6:30 p.m. today and Saturday.
Cost: $15 reserved seating.
More information: Go to http://www.vilarpac.org, http://www.vpaa.org, or call 970-845-TIXS for tickets. They perform selections from “Matilda,” “Aladdin,” “Boy from Oz” and “Spring Awakening.” Students ages 8 to 18 sign up for VPAA’s spring program, “Jump, Jive, and Wail!” a tribute to the doo-wop ‘50s. Visit http://www.vpaa.org.
The Vail Performing Arts Academy’s latest production is a tribute to children both present and past who may best be described as “spirited.”
“Young Broadway” is a review of scenes and selections from the most popular shows on Broadway. It features selections from “Matilda,” “Aladdin,” “Boy from Oz” and “Spring Awakening.”
“The songs are all about children misbehaving in the most wonderful ways,” said Colin Meiring, one of the show’s directors.
This production sees 70 kids participating, which is a lot of … energy. Yeah, that’s what it is.
“Instead of having to discipline, I just play the songs and make them sing it. Then ask them ‘Did you understand what you just sang?’” Meiring said, laughing.
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“Matilda,” for example, is about revolting children — not children who are revolting, but children who revolt.
The Division 1 kids, ages 8-12, sing things like “When I Grow Up.”
From Aladdin they perform “A Friend Like Me” and “One Jump Ahead,” which is about people doing things they’re strictly not supposed to.
The “Boy from Oz” brings the music of Peter Allen to the stage in a jukebox musical.
“Spring Awakening” asks questions loaded with adolescent angst, such as, “Does she like me?” “Did my parents tell me the truth?” “Am I misinformed and am I the only one misinformed?”
There’s a son who’s failing school and has to tell his father, a chat that doesn’t go all that well.
That son in “Spring Awakening” is Alec Mauro, who plays Moritz.
“We’re being rebellious on stage. Who wouldn’t want to do that, rebelling against parents, teachers and the adults around you?” Mauro wisely asks.
Mauro and Peer Carnes do a “Spring Awakening” number about what happens in the spring when a young man’s fancy turns to love — or something like it.
Vail Mountain School sophomore Mauro is Moritz, whose best friend is Melchior, played by Carnes, which works out well because Mauro and Carnes are good friends in real life.
“Moritz is kind of a basket case,” Mauro said, smiling.
‘CONFIDENCE TO BE WHO I WANT TO BE’
“Spring Awakening” is a period piece, a coming-of-age story written in 1891 and set in Germany, although the emotions ring true with modern teens, Mauro said.
“It’s set in the late 1800s, but kids today are still going through the same things,” he said.
There is humor in coming-of-age. Also a lot of emotion and uncertainty.
“The cast has been working hard to bring that to the stage. We’re being kids, going through what kids go through,” Mauro said.
Anabel Johnson plays Frau Bergman in “Spring Awakening.” She’s Wendela’s mom and lies to Wendela about how babies get started. Wendela gets pregnant, caused both by lack of reliable information coupled with the more traditional method — coupling.
This causes issues — the kinds of issues you can imagine in 1890s Germany.
“There are a lot of flawed teenagers,” Johnson said.
Of course it’s not all gloom and misery. “Purple Summer” celebrates the good things in life.
Johnson has been performing on stage since she was 7 and has been with Vail Performing Arts Academy for three years.
“It gives me a lot of confidence to be who I want to be,” she said. “Colin and Annah Scully are great to encourage me to keep acting, singing and dancing.”
DITCHING THE COMFORT ZONE
The younger performers are presenting numbers from “Matilda” and “Aladdin.”
Beka Gerschenoff is Matilda’s principal, Miss Trunchbull, who’s a big meany.
“I’m a really mean principal. I yell at them and don’t give them any freedom,” Gerschenoff said laughing.
Miss Trunchbull walks in to find Matilda rolling through her multiplication tables. Matilda (Chloe Hornbostel) is not showing off, she’s just being who she is, and she is really, really smart.
Gerschenoff is good at being bad. She was the mean lady matchmaker in “Mulan,” and has had the cranky role in several productions, which is OK with her.
“I guess I’m really good at being mean, but it’s the opposite of my personality. I try not to be mean to people,” she said.
This is her fourth year with Vail Performing Arts Academy and she has appeared in 11 shows.
“It has helped me get out of my comfort zone. I really like it.”
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.