THE GLENWOOD SPRINGS HOLIDAY VAUDEVILLE SHOW – Written by the cast; Directed by John Goss. Produced by The Glenwood Springs Vaudeville Show company (915 Grand Avenue, Glenwood Springs) through January 13. Tickets available at 970-945-9689 or gvrshow.com.
For those of you who miss Heritage Square Music Hall, here is your surrogate. The crew in Glenwood Springs bring the heart and soul of vaudeville back to life with their songs, skits, magic tricks, and their famous dog act. It’s a two hour olio of fun and frivolity full of fabulous folk.
Let’s talk about the people on stage. Starting with old-timer Tom Erickson who has been there since the beginning 15 years ago. A talented comic actor and singer, Tom entertained at the iconic Crystal Palace in Aspen before moving to the GSV show when it opened. Teagan Brown is the kid in the company and a magician who baffles with close-up effect tricks with cards and a pretty amazing Metamorphosis escape routine on their small stage. Michael Scarpetti adds humor and musical charm to numerous numbers while Tim Veazey accompanies everything on the piano. The cast of women includes Madeleine Miller who did a hilarious rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas ending in a strait jacket. Nattia Trout is an alum of Candlelight Dinner Playhouse and Performance Now who does a mean Barbie doing rap. Ella Yates is the ingenue in the skits and gives the show a quiet moment by playing her harp for a Christmas song. Every one of these players are excellent singers and dancers with that certain flair of professional confidence that experience and talent adds to a performance.
All of this mayhem is wrangled by John Goss, owner and operator of the Vaudeville theatre. A most talented and personable leader of the pack, John serves as the host, the narrator, the preshow entertainment, the concierge, the overseer of the kitchen activities, the adaptor of songs, the developer of skits and the owner of Rio, the vaudeville dog. John is an alum of BDT Stage (we had a nice chat about the brilliance of his friend and mine, Wayne Kennedy) and, you can tell by his enthusiasm, brings his A game to every performance. He and Rio have one of the funniest routines in the show in which Rio becomes John’s head and John becomes Rio’s hands while eating spaghetti. You have to see it to believe it and I still can’t figure out how they do it.
This is a dinner theatre with a twist. John gathers a set amount of food from various restaurants across Glenwood on Fridays before the weekend, based on his experience with what patrons will probably want to eat (?). You order when you arrive just like at any ordinary dinner theatre; it’s warmed in the kitchen and served quickly by the wait staff and performers. It’s a very slick operation that ingratiates them in their community by using local restaurants instead of the expense of creating their own kitchen. And the food is delicious. He must have to get a LOT of meat loaf as it was outstanding – this from a connoisseur of meat loaf.
The theatre also owns one of the twelve still-working orchestrian organs which were originally used to provide musical background for silent films in the 20’s. John demonstrated its versatility as part of the preshow entertainment. It looks like an organ and sounds like an orchestra. I’m not even going to ask how they got it in the “attic” above the stage.
I was laughing too hard to take a lot of notes but just as an example, they built a number around “Ghost Reindeers in the Sky.” The gents from the Lollipop Guild (puppets) came out to entertain. There was Sebastian the Lobster from LITTLE MERMAID singing an adaptation of “Under the Sea” changed to “ADHD.” I remember a funny rap battle between Barbie and Ken against Woody and Buzz from TOY STORY. A very cute tap number with Teagan and John as toy soldiers and a Scary Santa number to the music from Carmina Burana remain in my memory. The fun is definitely PG rated; there were a large number of kids in the audience thoroughly enjoying themselves. An example of the humor: Knock Knock! Who’s there? Yule. Yule Who? Yule know when you open the door!! This gives you an idea of the variety and versatility of this cast. They are all Entertainers with a capital “E.”
This winter don’t just drive through Glenwood Springs on your way to Aspen. Slow down, spend the night, and take in this unique and delightful vaudeville revue. You’ll leave with a smile on your lips and a glow in your heart.
A WOW factor of 8.5!!