Vail Performing Arts Academy’s 20th anniversary show presents best of two decades
If You Go ...
What: Vail Performing Arts Academy’s 20th Anniversary Extravaganza.
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15.
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, 68 Avondale Lane, Beaver Creek.
More information: Buy tickets at the door, at vpaa.org or at vilarpac.org. Also, Vail Performing Arts Academy is signing up cast and crew for the spring production “Pop Lock and Break.” It’s a hip-hop show. Go to vpaa.org.
On a summer day 20 years ago, Annah Scully saw her two kids doing what kids do in the summer — nothing, or nuthin’, and to paraphrase former Denver Nuggets coach Doug Moe, nobody does nuthin’ better than a kid on summer vacation.
Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law clearly states that bodies at rest tend to stay at rest until an external force acts upon them. Scully’s kids were the bodies at rest, and she was the force acting upon them.
Scully is one of the great forces of nature enjoyed by our spiral arm of the universe, and that’s why she launched the Vail Performing Arts Academy.
“I was just trying to get my kids off the couch,” she said.
That Annah Factor has been applied to Vail Valley kids for two decades. On Saturday and Saturday at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, VPAA celebrates 20 years of teaching kids stuff they really need to know — confidence, communication, composure — with the Vail Performing Arts Academy’s 20th anniversary extravaganza.
The extravaganza features the best production number from each of those 20 shows. It seems like a lot of music, but really isn’t, explained Colin Meiring, VPAA’s artistic director.
Their usual musical productions have 16 to 20 songs, and the 20th anniversary extravaganza has 20 songs, 10 songs per half, and each half runs about 45 minutes with an intermission. This is a story about the performing arts; you’ll have to do your own math to figure out how long the show lasts.
Wrapped around the songs will be comedy commentary by emcees Grant Maurer and Finn Dippy, who are hilarious. They’re including some outrageous stories of stuff that happened along that 20-year trail, how each show almost blew itself up — as they always do — and how the show goes on, as it must.
600 kids per year
The VPAA slogan seems accurate. It really might be “the most important stage in a child’s life!”
From Scully’s two beloved offspring in 1995, Anthony, then 11, and Maria, then 7½, Vail Performing Arts Academy now reaches more than 600 students per year.
“They start to get an idea of what’s possible,” Meiring said. “I like to think we’re getting better. That’s why the kids are better. It’s the same talent pool as always, but we’re getting better, more efficient and more organized.”
Many go on to become professionals, some professional performers and most others professionals in an infinite variety of other vocations.
Rachel Weiss started as a shy 8-year-old. Now she’s studying at Cambridge University in Oxford, England. Weiss is among the 1 percent of Americans who apply to be accepted to Cambridge.
Sean Pack is in Los Angeles writing music scores for movies.
Alec Mauro and Thomas Litchev are attending Interlochen, a performing arts school in Michigan.
Jonathan Windham is based in New York City working as a dancer. He just landed a role in a Broadway production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”
The list is long and impressive.
Safe to be creative
The thing is, kids learn to express themselves in a safe environment — free from judgment and ridicule.
“People underestimate how important it is for a kid to express themselves safely,” Meiring said. “If everyone can express themselves in a safe environment, we’ll have much less deviant behavior.”
It’s also safe because they’re around other kids like them.
“Performing arts kids can slip through the cracks,” he said. “Math and science kids get plenty of attention. You’ll see some improving test scores among performing arts kids, and that’s always good.”
By the way, that first summer was also the summer the Vilar Performing Arts Center opened in Beaver Creek. Vail Performing Arts Academy’s production of “Grease” was one of the first VPAC shows. As you might imagine, the shows were sold out.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935.
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