Vilar Center dances, laughs and sings its way into ’04 |

Vilar Center dances, laughs and sings its way into ’04

Staff Reports

In most cities, a 550-seat theater the size of Beaver Creek’s Vilar Center for the Arts would feature the Elk’s Club rendition of &quotOur Town,&quot and &quotBingo Madness&quot every Thursday. But, here in the Vail Valley, Vilar’s intimate size never means small-time acts.From the Broadway smash &quotRent&quot to hit songs like &quotI’ll Be&quot and &quotI Could Not Ask for More&quot from Platinum recording artist Edwin McCain, the Vilar Center continues to be the &quotlittle theater that could&quot in 2004.The reason the Vilar Center is able to bring the best to such intimate audiences at prices averaging $40 has much to do with the initial funding to build the theater from Alberto Vilar and the Beaver Resort Company.Now, heading into its fifth season, upcoming shows like bluegrass legend Sam Bush and lounge jazz phenom Peter Cincotti are made possible by generous donations. Currently, only one out of every four dollars needed to run the Vilar Center come from ticket sales. The rest of the bounty comes from corporate donors like West Star Bank and Colorado Mountain Express, and private donors such as Susan and Harry Frampton and Marlene and John Boll.Just having the funds doesn’t guarantee the fun, according to the Vilar Center’s Shelley Woodworth. Acts like the Montana Repertory’s &quotA Streetcar Named Desire,&quot nationally recognized comedians like Richard Jeni, and the hotter-than-ever Lord of the Dance (all on this winter’s lineup) won’t always play such a small theater no matter the price.&quotThey love the mountains,&quot Woodworth says of the big names who sign up to play at Vilar. &quotPerformers used to working big cities like Chicago, New York and LA come here and are treated like royalty. Who doesn’t like to get away from it all up here in Beaver Creek?&quotNot only do performers love Vilar’s intimate size, so do theater goers looking to catch a rising star like this winter’s visit by singer/pianist Peter Cincotti. On the same label as Elton John and with critics calling him the &quotnext Harry Connick Jr.,&quot now is the time to catch this shooting star in such an intimate environment. Woodworth admits this may be the last year they are able to afford him at all.Continuing this winter’s live music lineup are Michael Feinstein, who reviewers call the &quotgreatest interpreter of Gershwin,&quot the unmistakable croaky drawl of singer-guitarist Leon Redbone, Grammy Award-winning, mandolin virtuoso Joshua Bell and the progressive country-rock blend of renegade singer/songwriter Steve Earle.For those craving Broadway’ theater, don’t book a flight to the Big Apple, the Vilar Center is bringing the national touring companies to town to present &quotRent,&quot &quotGrease&quot and Michael Flatley’s &quotLord of the Dance.&quotThe dance and &quotCirque du Soleil&quot style shows of the Peking Acrobats and the colorful dance troupe Diavolo also hit Vilar this winter. Throughout the winter, Colorado-based performers join the fun presenting more affordable shows, including &quotThe Nutcracker,&quot &quotAn Evening on Broadway,&quot and &quotWintersong.&quotOnce these acts dance their ways on and off the Vilar Stage, it’s off to a few laughs with social commentators and comedians Richard Jeni, Louis Black and Chicago’s-own Second City’s interactive comedy, &quotMy Cousin’s Wedding,&quot which follows a overwhelmed couple through the typical wedding antics of doing the &quotChicken Dance&quot to being sat at the loser’s table.The Vilar Center’s Winter 2003-’04 season continues Saturday, Nov. 29 with &quotA Celtic Celebration of Christmas.&quot Local residents looking to save a few bucks can purchase tickets to five shows and get one show free by ordering tickets between Nov. 17 and Dec. 16.Call 845-TIXS for ticket sales and a complete schedule, or log onto www. Erik Vienneau

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