Beaver Creek’s Vilar Center offers varied holiday lineup |

Beaver Creek’s Vilar Center offers varied holiday lineup

Kris Sabel
Zach Mahone |

Editor’s note: Director’s Chair is a column where Kris Sabel, who is in charge of cultural programming for the Vail Valley Foundation, gives his take on shows at the Vilar Performing Arts Center.

In Beaver Creek, “Walkin’ in a winter wonderland” is more than lyrics from a favorite Christmas carol, it’s the perfect way to describe the holiday season.

As the calendar inches closer to the holiday season, families flock to the mountains to celebrate together and create long-lasting memories. We at the Vilar Center are honored to play a small role in your family’s holiday traditions by offering enriching cultural and entertainment opportunities that everyone can enjoy.

I’ve noted a bit more about why I’m excited about each of these events coming to the Vilar Center this holiday season. Pick one, two, three or all of them and I hope to see you at the theater! And don’t forget, Vilar tickets are easy to wrap and fit perfectly in stockings. What’s better than the gift of live entertainment?

• The holiday performance season kicks off with five-time Grammy Award winner Michael McDonald. A favorite of the Vail Valley, Michael has performed on our stage in a few different configurations over the years. I’m excited about this program because it will feature Michael in a more intimate setting — singing an evening of holiday favorites and, of course, his hits. Join us as we kick off the holiday season.

• Many of us grew up with holiday theater traditions, and “A Christmas Carol” is one of my favorites. There is a reason this show is such a timeless classic; no matter how many times I see “A Christmas Carol,” I get teary eyed and leave the theater feeling better about myself and the world. This production is a Broadway caliber show featuring 24 actors, live music, gorgeous scenery and costumes.

• The day after Christmas is a great time to let loose and have some fun after all the stress of the holidays. This year, get down with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. Shorty employs contagious hip-hop beats, rock dynamics and improvisation in a New Orleans jazz tradition. We’ve been trying to get Shorty to our stage for years and we jumped on this opportunity. The dance pit will be open, so come out and dance the night away.

• This fall, we hosted the world premiere of Pedal Punk by Cirque Mechanics. The show was spectacular so we are bringing it back for three performances this holiday season. This is a brand new show and it’s not often you get to experience the wonder of a Cirque show in an intimate venue like ours, so be sure to get your tickets early.

• Direct from the Great White Way comes a sequel to one of the most popular shows we’ve ever had: Neil Berg’s 101 Years of Broadway. I love the format of this show because it’s about great songs and great voices, and not just from one show but from a variety of Broadway’s best and most popular shows. For fans of Broadway, this is an evening not to be missed.

• I think one of the great things we can do with our families is experience the wonder and joy of live performance. It allows us to take a break from our TVs and video screens and reminds us that the best experiences are those that we can share with others. With that goal in mind, I strive to present one or two shows during the holidays that are great for kids young and old alike. I was recently introduced to Arthur Trace and we will be featuring his all-new show The Artful Deceiver — full of magic, illusion, art, comedy and lots of deceiving fun!

• I may have deluded myself into believing that three generations of my family love the music of Neil Diamond. And my granddaughter may feel differently as she gets older, but at least for now it’s fun to sing “Sweet Caroline” with her. While your family may not feel the same way I do, know that for most of us of a certain age, this music is etched in our memories and has been part of the soundtrack of our lives. So you decide whether to leave the kids and grandkids at home but I highly recommend Super Diamond: The Neil Diamond Tribute as a great way to start off the new year. This high-octane tribute show will astonish with their live interpretation of Neil Diamond, delivering a glittering, smoke-filled show you have to see to believe.

We hope to see you in our theater this holiday. From all us at the Vilar Center, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!

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