With a Christmas phantom, an epic battle between a Rat King and a Nutcracker and a modernized take on a classic, the 2011 holiday season has a show for everyone. As the winter holidays quickly approach, many families celebrate with a trip to the theatre to enjoy old favorites and discover new ones as well. Several of the local venues feature holiday shows this year that will attract diverse audiences.
A Tuna Christmas
Set in the mythical town of Tuna, Texas, A Tuna Christmas at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater takes on a humorous approach toward the holidays. The 21 Tuna residents must overcome a number of “Christmas crises,” such as a phantom destroying lawn decorations.
“The play is set during the week leading up to Christmas, and although it is riddled with broad humor and over-the-top characters, the show has a huge heart,” says Michael Kevin Baldwin, one of the actors in A Tuna Christmas. “It gets at our fundamental human desire to be acknowledged and loved.”
Baldwin stars alongside Mark Lainer, and together the actors play all 21 characters.
“At first, audiences will enjoy watching the two actors as they strive to keep up with all the character changes, but then they will forget that, and will enjoy the humor and individuality of the denizens of this tiny Texas town, as they try to celebrate Christmas as best as they can,” says Lainer.
The show, directed by Patrick Flick, plays from Dec. 2-30 in the Margeson Theater at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center. Tickets range from $20-38 and are available online at http://www.orlandoshakes.org or by calling (407) 447-1700.
No holiday season is complete without The Nutcracker. From Dec. 15-18, the Orlando Ballet will feature students and professional dancers in its rendition of The Nutcracker at the Bob Carr Theater. With original choreography in the second act by Artistic Director Robert Hill, the show will add an exciting twist to the beloved classic.
“The best audience for The Nutcracker is anyone who is young at heart and wants to enjoy a lovely experience in the theater with terrific dancing and a wonderful production,” says Hill.
To supplement its family series, Orlando Ballet also offers The Nutcracker, 60 Minutes, which selects the most vibrant moments from the full production and condenses them into one act. This series also includes activities in the lobby geared to children, such as face painting, lecture demonstrations by ballet students, story telling and photo opportunities.
“The Nutcracker is a great production and a lot of fun around the holidays. It is a great way to spend time with family, and the music helps you get in the holiday spirit,” says Dierdre Miles Burger, Director of the Orlando Ballet School.
Tickets for the show are available at http://www.orlandoballet.org or by phone at (407) 426-1739.
A Nutty Nutcracker Christmas
Presented by the Orlando Repertory Theatre, this rock & roll musical is “by no means the Nutcracker Ballet,” says Artistic Director Jeff Revels. A Nutty Nutcracker Christmas is a modern-day version of the classic, told from the point of view of Clara’s brother Fritz. With a video game premise, a female Nutcracker and original music by Ralph Covert of Ralph’s World, A Nutty Nutcracker Christmas will appeal to families with boys and girls.
“Audiences can expect an energetic adventure and fun music that will stick in your head in a good way, along with bright costumes and scenery that captures the spirit of everyone’s dream holiday,” says Revels. “It gives a different perspective to a familiar story, so you will get a little familiarity but you will also get something brand new.”
A Nutty Nutcracker Christmas will be playing at the Orlando Repertory Theatre on Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 10-Dec. 18. Tickets are available at http://www.orlandorep.com or by phone at (407) 896-7365.
Article by: Valerie Mose