Backstage tunes out musical |

Backstage tunes out musical

BRECKENRIDGE – When the Backstage Theatre presented “Zorba” as last year’s big summer musical, no one knew the board would take Zorba’s philosophy to heart.

“Zorba’s whole philosophy as a person is the less you have, the freer you are,” actor Michael Amouck said in an interview about “Zorba” last summer.

So, in an effort to free itself from an endeavor that often costs $20,000 and takes 18 weeks to rehearse, the Backstage Theatre’s board of directors canceled this year’s summer musical.

“It had become quite a burden,” said artistic director Jeremy Cole.

Originally, the musical was a three-way collaboration between the Summit School District, the town of Breckenridge and the Backstage Theatre, but the Backstage has carried the production for the last three years. The board was in charge of constructing huge sets, paying expensive royalties, staging 18-week rehearsals with 40 to 50 actors and hiring a director, a choreographer and the orchestra for each production.

And that was only the beginning of the challenges. The Riverwalk Center’s cement floor isn’t ideal for jumping or leaping while dancing because a dancer could shatter a leg. All of the scenery has to be on stage throughout the musical because there isn’t any wing space. The lighting is tricky because it’s set up for an orchestral setting, and on top of it all, it’s difficult to find male singers or operatic voices – not to mention people who want to put vacations on hold to rehearse all summer, Cole said.

The board queried community members, and though most said they would be sad to see the summer musical go, only one person sent an e-mail asking the Backstage to keep the production.

But, the show may go on in the future; the musicals are not permanently canceled. The board may revive the shows in the summer of 2004 – with some changes. It may produce smaller-cast musicals, actively involve more community members to play roles backstage – instead of center stage – and pursue a collaboration with the Breckenridge Music Institute’s orchestra, Cole said.

The musical financed the Backstage’s scholarship program, which allows fourth- through 12th-graders to study music, art, dance and theater outside of the school system. This year, the Backstage will rely on My Dinner with the Backstage (see related story) to finance the scholarship program.

For those who will miss the musical, Zorba left his words of comfort last summer: “Life goes on. We had this moment, and we will have other moments.”

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at

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