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VMS opens ambitious theater program

The namesake characters from "The Sun and the North Wind," part of Vail Mountain School's "You're Missing the Point," ultimately prove that the greatest strength is often found in a gentle approach.
Special to the Daily |

VAIL — Tell theater director and teacher Greg Jones to break a leg, and he’ll tell you about the kid who fell on his head, so he has that covered.

Jones is Vail Mountain School’s new theater teacher and program director, and he is launching an extremely ambitious program: Six productions during the nine-month school year. They open Friday when third- through fifth-graders present “You’re Missing the Point.” The curtain goes up at 5:30 p.m. today and Saturday. Admission is free.

If you’re starting a program, start strong, Jones says.

“When I saw how enthusiastic the kids were, we decided to stretch the program to the entire nine months of the school year,” Jones said. “I’d rather get it right the first year.”

Jones was visiting Vail for Oktoberfest a year ago and decided he wanted to move here. He was talking to some local folks and learned Vail Mountain School was looking for a theater director.

Theater educator

Jones had been working at The Rice School, a Houston public school, integrating the arts into their curriculum.

Among other things, he learned that when math students use both sides of their brains, their math scores go up. He also learned that when elementary school kids incorporate a little theater into their lessons, literature becomes a joy and not a job.

He has a background in education, which is good.

He also has years as a professional actor, singer and dancer, which is better.

He spent two years on the soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

“I’m neither bold nor beautiful,” Jones joked. “I don’t know how I got on that show.”

He has done television, film and theater, and lots of commercials. After he graduated from Ole Miss, he went to work as a singer for Disney Tokyo. That’s where all his Los Angeles and Hollywood contacts came from.

They’re all theater people

Typically in schools you have a group of theater people. At VMS, all the people are theater people, the same as they’re all ski racers and science fair geeks and …

“These kids do a lot of different activities,” Jones said. “Part of the uniqueness of VMS is that these kids are extremely committed. I love performing and could do it 24/7. We’re having a great time.”

Today and Saturday’s performances will be “You’re Missing the Point,” a collection of three fables. With each fable there’s a moral and a point, but the characters don’t quite get it.

In December, the VMS upper school presents Neil Simon’s “God’s Favorite,” a play about the Old Testament character Job.

In January, the middle school will present “Charlie’s Aunt” by Brandon Thomas. It’s a hysterical farce set in the 1920s.

March sees them open their musical season with “When Love Takes Over,” featuring contemporary music from the 1980s until now.

April is the school edition of “Avenue Q.”

May is the kindergarten through second grade production of “Easy as 1-2-3.”

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


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