Steamboat Springs While driving on Amethyst toward Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, I could hear the guitar chords of the Los Lonely Boys concert wafting up the valley through my open car window. A free concert, and I wasn't dancing in the front?
Much to my initial regret, a friend unknowingly bought tickets to Perry-Mansfield's performance of "Sweet Charity," thereby thwarting my attendance at one of the highlights of my summer: the Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series.
After unsuccessfully trying to exchange the tickets for the Saturday performance, we drove to Perry-Mansfield and ignored the badgering text messages and phone calls from friends at the Los Lonely Boys concert.
I hadn't been to a Perry-Mansfield performance in years. The Julie Harris Theater has lost some of its grandeur, but none of its charm or, as I would come to learn, its intimacy. "Sweet Charity" featured recent Steamboat Springs High School graduate Emily Stockdale as the lead. I've seen her in previous productions, but I had no idea the quiet girl who sat behind me in calculus could belt a song like that.
Amongst the boarding students, a few familiar faces from the slopes or on the sports field graced the stage. The talent - both local and visiting - showed skills in dance and musical theater well beyond their years. The occasional glint of stage lights off dental braces was the only reminder that these actors were high school-aged students.
I was blown away. "Sweet Charity" was truly a professional work and a caliber of performance that seemed to overpower the precedent set for any Perry-Mansfield show.
And even afterwards, when we met up with friends who had attended the free concert, I had no regrets about missing Los Lonely Boys.
Now, I understand my friend's urgency in buying tickets weeks ahead of the performance - the 150-seat theater fills up quickly, because every seat is a good one.
- Erin Gleason