Inspired by Breckenridge, new musical pays homage to 1980s ski movies
Breckenridge Backstage Theatre’s newest musical, “Totally Awesome 80s Ski Town, USA,” is ready for its world premiere as the theater troop’s newest offering hits the stage tonight.
The musical stands as a salute to goofball ski movies of the 1980s, and draws inspiration from popular movies like “Ski Patrol,” “Better Off Dead,” “Hot Dog The Movie” and even “Footloose,” said artistic director Chris Willard, adding that it mixes elements of 1980s nostalgia with fall-out-of-your-seat laughter and dancing in the aisles.
The show is an original musical co-written by Charlie Schmidt and Cory Wendling, and as its title suggests, the show takes place in “Ski Town, USA.” It’s a fictional place, but Breckenridge is credited with inspiring the creation of the show.
“Cory and I came up with the idea for the show after having worked at the Backstage Theatre for the past 10 years,” said Schmidt in a news release. “We both love and appreciate the town so much, and both of us kind of consider Breckenridge a second home.”
In fact “Totally Awesome 80s Ski Town, USA” was written in part during the commute between Breckenridge and Denver.
“We almost had to pull over when we landed on the ’80s villain because our voluntary movement went numb after all the laughter,” Wendling said. “We realized at that point that we had a story to share with the town we adored so much.”
The story follows Billy Tanner, an orphan and a drifter, as he wanders into a seemingly quiet ski town but ends up getting more than he bargained for when he gets mixed up in adventure. The musical brings in a greedy oil tycoon, a girl and perhaps most important, Tanner’s demons from his hilariously tortured past.
House parties, epic ski races, Norse gods and foreign-exchange students are all included, along with a soundtrack inspired by the ‘80s.
“The instrumentation changes greatly from song to song in attempt to span the musical stylings of Huey Lewis to Guns n’ Roses and everything in between,” Wendling explained.
The show kicks off with two special evenings.
Tonight, the performance will include a special champagne opening with champagne toast led by the cast and creative team with a talkback after the show.
Then from 6-7 p.m. March 2, Broken Compass, Breckenridge Distillery and Breckenridge Brewery will host a “Meet the Brewer” fundraiser for the Backstage Theatre in the Breckenridge Theater lobby.
Admission for the fundraiser is $15 — or $10 for anyone dressed in ‘80s gear — and will include samples from the breweries and distillery.
The fundraiser will be followed by a special “Local’s Night” performance, but that show has since sold out. Tickets for the fundraiser are still available, however, and can purchased at the door.
“Totally Awesome 80s Ski Town, USA” runs through March 31 with shows every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Breckenridge Theater, 121 South Ridge St. For more, BackstageTheatre.org.
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