Christmas Carolers for Stage North’s A Christmas Carol

Quote of the Day: Here we come a-caroling among the leaves so green. Here we come a wandering, so fair to be seen. Love and joy come to you and to you glad Christmas too. And, God bless you and send you a happy new year!

The Christmas Carolers, looking all "sugar and spice and everything nice" as we warm up for our opening night performance with Stage North's A Christmas Carol

The Christmas Carolers, looking all “sugar and spice and everything nice” as we warm up for our opening night performance with Stage North’s A Christmas Carol.

Here's Joy doing her Maria von Trapp impression as she warms up the Christmas Carolers.

Here’s Brainerd area Voice Teacher Joy Ciaffoni doing her Maria von Trapp impression as she warms up the Christmas Carolers.

My sister Joy and I are directing the children’s choir for a local production of “A Christmas Carol.” Stage North is a brand new theatre company, started by Gary Hirsch and Kevin Yeager. They invited us to lead the music in their debut production, and we’re having a ball working with these girls. They are fun-loving, energetic, creative, kind, and talented. We have a few songs where they can let their personalities shine. For “Some Things for Christmas” and “Nuttin’ for Christmas” many of them wrote their own lyrics. We are the pre-show music, entertainment at intermission, and come in for the final number “We wish you a Merry Christmas” and curtain call. I think they’re having fun and getting some good performance experience as well.

During the down time, the entire first act and most of the second act, we hang out in our own space, the old cafeteria. The theatre is located in the former Franklin Junior High School. I brought in three of my theatre boxes and a bag of props for each group. They are in three rows for the performance, and that is their group. They are making up their own plays, inventing games, interacting with each other, making friends, and watching the performance via a dropcam on my laptop. To read more about our antics behind the scenes, go to my website Play off the Page. To see more photos, go to my Play off the Page Facebook page.

If you’re in the area, we perform Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 2:00 and 7:30, and Sunday at 2:00 and 7:30. Call 218-232-6810 for tickets.


American Composers Forum Seeks Participants for National Composer Night Out

This is a special press release post for composers and musicians who would like to participate in National Composer Night Out  in May, 2015. I’m including the info that Danielle Cristal sent me on the event with links to apply on their website.

American Composers Forum Seeks Participants for National Composer Night Out Applications Available Now to Participate in National Celebration of New Music

Saint Paul, Minn., Nov. 17, 2014 – Beginning today, composers and community groups can apply to participate in American Composers Forum’s (ACF) National Composer Night Out, a campaign designed to connect composers and communities throughout the United States physically and virtually in a tapestry of new music events. National Composer Night Out, in honor of ACF’s 40th Anniversary, will take place on Thurs., May 14, 2015.

American Composers Forum invites composers, performers, producers and new music fans to participate in National Composer Night Out (NCNO) in two ways: host an event of their choosing in their community and/or submit an audio file with a short sound bite of a new musical piece. The application deadline to host an event is Jan. 9, 2015, and the deadline to submit a sound bite is May 1, 2015. Submissions are accepted via the National Composer Night Out webpage.

National Composer Night Out will have events ranging from professional composers conducting concerts to small gatherings of new music lovers. Spearheaded by ACF, a national organization located in St. Paul that nurtures the creative spirit of and provides opportunities to composers, all NCNO events will take place on the same evening as part of a nationwide initiative.

Also to mark ACF’s 40th Anniversary, a local celebration will take place in St. Paul on May 14, 2015. During the event, participants who submitted sound bites will have their names, sounds and images seen and heard via video projection at the party and will also be shared widely on social media.

“We’re expecting composers and communities nationwide to participate and celebrate National Composer Night Out in honor of our 40th Anniversary,” said John Nuechterlein, president and CEO of American Composers Forum. “After 40 years, America Composers Forum is now, more than ever, providing, nurturing and fostering the creation of new music and the people who create it.”

One of the nation’s premier composer service organizations, the Forum provides composers at all stages of their careers with valuable resources for professional and artistic development. ACF’s 1,800 members include composers and performers, presenters and organizations that share the Forum’s goals, and individuals and institutions with an interest in supporting new music.

Applications are now available online for American Composer Forum’s National Composer Night Out. The NCNO campaign is designed to celebrate ACF’s 40th Anniversary, while raising awareness and fostering a sense of community nationwide for composers and others who create new music. For more information about how to participate, visit the National Composer Night Out page on the American Composer Forum’s website.

About American Composers Forum

The American Composers Forum enriches lives by nurturing the creative spirit of composers and communities. ACF provides new opportunities for composers and their music to flourish, and engage communities in the creation, performance and enjoyment of new music. With a national presence, the Forum fosters the demand for new music and helps develop the next generation of composers, musicians, and music patrons. For more information, visit

Review of A Christmas Story, the Musical at The Ordway in St. Paul, MN

Quote of the Day:  Either no one will go see this show, or millions of people will. said famous movie reviewers Siskel and Ebert when they first saw the movie A Christmas Story back in 1983. Roger Ebert says, “It’s Norman Rockwell meets Mad Magazine or The National Lampoon…Jean Shepard has a bite to him.” They talk about what makes this show so great, the true emotion that comes from those moments in childhood, the longing for a special gift, despite all the grown-ups saying, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” The brother who won’t eat. The mother who stretches her resources and imagination to get that child to eat, not use cuss words, or dress warm for winter! It is a slice of American life, the regular folks who go about their business, day by day, avoiding the neighborhood dogs and feeling on top of the world for winning a ridiculous leg lamp in a soda pop contest. (You can read more original reviews of the movie, see the review clip from Siskel and Ebert, and learn more fun facts about the show at A Christmas Story House website.)

Jake Goodman in A Christmas Story, the Musical. Photo by Christian Brown

Jake Goodman in A Christmas Story, the Musical. Photo by Christian Brown

A Christmas Story, the Musical sings with warmth, humor, and nostalgia at The Ordway in St. Paul. When you see a beloved movie come to life on stage, you want it to look and feel the way you remember when you watched the movie. And, this production does it. The addition of singing, dancing, and witty lines and choreography add to the experience. My favorite was the leg lamp dance. Oh, my! All the of children singing, dancing, and acting were marvelous. A standing ovation goes to young Jake Goodman who played Ralphie to a T. A capital T which stands for TERRIFIC! Really, he was the Ralphie you’d imagine with his own great talent and spark. All the parts were so well cast. I also loved Miss Shields, a hoot with larger than life personality.

Dieter Bierbrauer and cast in A Christmas Story, the Musical. Photo by Christian Brown

Dieter Bierbrauer and cast in A Christmas Story, the Musical. Photo by Christian Brown

If you want a fun, family night out with a holiday theme, go to A Christmas Story, the Musical at The Ordway in St. Paul, MN. Before the show, you can walk through Rice Park which is all lit up with holiday lights, including a blue tree! So gorgeous. The lobby is decorated in a vintage style to compliment the show, and when we were there, Lori Dokken played jazzy holiday tunes on the grand piano while people sipped drinks and took photos. Kids of all ages were there, some singing along to the music, many laughing and enjoying time together. This really is a terrific show that leaves you with a bounce in your step and a song in your heart. Playing now through December 28, 2014.

To read more of my reviews, visit my website, Play off the Page.

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt:  What was on the top of your wish list when you were a child? What are some of your holiday memories?

Review of The Cocktail Hour at The Guthrie Theater

Quote of the Day:  Watching this show makes me feel better about my own family, said a fellow audience member during intermission of The Cocktail Hour, playing now at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN through January 4, 2015. And, yes, you might feel a connection to your own family’s cocktail hour, dynamics, and interactions, for better or worse. It’s all relative.

Peter Thomson (Bradley), Kandis Chappell (Ann) and Rod Brogan (John) in the Guthrie Theater's production of The Cocktail Hour, by A.R. Gurney, directed by Maria Aitken with set design by James Youmans, costume design by Robert Morgan and lighting design by Philip S. Rosenberg. November 22, 2014 - January 4, 2015 on the McGuire Proscenium Stage at the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

Peter Thomson (Bradley), Kandis Chappell (Ann) and Rod Brogan (John) in the Guthrie Theater’s production of The Cocktail Hour, by A.R. Gurney, directed by Maria Aitken with set design by James Youmans, costume design by Robert Morgan and lighting design by Philip S. Rosenberg. November 22, 2014 – January 4, 2015 on the McGuire Proscenium Stage at the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

This is a nice shot of the set for The Cocktail Hour, by playwright A. R. Gurney, set by James Youmans. A woman who sat down behind me remarked, “Oh, I love plays with settings like this.” I thought, hmm, what are “those plays?” They are the ones where you sit in the audience and feel like you’ve been invited into someone’s living room. You half expect the hosts to turn to you and ask, “What would you like to drink?” (The Chef and I came in with our own cocktails in honor of the show’s title. Drinks are allowed in the theaters at the Guthrie.) We quickly find ourselves listening in on the private conversations of the family. Do you see the red book on the coffee table? It’s John’s new play script. Mm hmm. He’s come home to get his parents’ approval to have it produced. Although the names are change, it is a representation of their own family, it’s private and not so private interactions. The set-up is great, because you have Mom and Dad, older and uncomfortable with their playwright son who might expose too much. You have the favored older brother, who is in the play by name and admiration only. And, you have the dramatic sister who feels that she should have played a more prominent role in the script, and family, instead of always being the supportive cast member. (You will note that in the above picture, she is not included.) The audience burst out in laughter during many of the scenes. They were especially loud when Mom and Dad talk over each other and the kids look on, shaking their heads. We cringe a little as John has those intimate scenes with Mom and Dad, trying to extract the truth behind their behavior. They discuss the difference between T.S. Eliot’s play The Cocktail Party and John’s script The Cocktail Hour. “They’ll get them confused,” they say. No, they’re different. A cocktail party is social. Cocktail Hour is for the family. Ah.

The Cocktail Hour is for anyone who has ever been in a family and wondered where or how they fit in. Some people feel like they are so different that they must be a foundling, adopted, or somehow not the real child. Some feel overlooked. Some are presumed to be the favored one. And, everyone searches for acceptance. The Cocktail Hour is a humorous, and thoughtful, look at how families interact. This is a great show to watch with a sibling, other family members, friends or a significant other because you can’t help but talk about your own family dynamics, whether you had a traditional cocktail hour, or other traditions where you found everyone had a role, whether they wanted it, or not.

Enjoy a cocktail of your choice as you watch this story develop. You can discuss later if this family is more, or less, dysfunctional than your own. And, in the meantime, you’ll have a great night out with someone you care about, and those are the best gifts for the holidays, or anytime.

The Cocktail Hour and A Christmas Carol are both playing at the Guthrie Theater this holiday season. Visit their website for tickets and showtimes. Have a happy holiday season. Watch the eggnog intake, and keep your cool with the in-laws!

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt:  What’s your favorite beverage for cocktail hour, or when you just want to relax? What’s your role in the family dynamics?

Review of A Christmas Carol at The Guthrie, 40th Anniversary Production

The Guthrie Theater’s 40th Anniversary production of A Christmas Carol is delightful and witty with a story that makes you ponder life. I attended this performance with my three teenage sons and the Biker Chef. My boys said, “It’s fun, and funny, and makes you think.” We laughed. We sighed. We left with a good feeling in our heart. It is a reminder that not everyone has a large goose (or turkey) to place on their tables during the holidays. Many people struggle day by day. Some don’t believe in Christmas or Santa Clause or that anyone could truly have a change of heart and open their blast proof safes to provide for someone less fortunate. Greed rules the world and the need for power and control create hard hearts and tight fists and a wide gap between the Haves and the Have-Nots. But, those ghosts who are both amusing and terrifying point out what was important, what you’re not really seeing in the present, and what happens in the end if you die with your vault full, and your heart empty.

Full cast of A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN.
Photo by Dan Norman

I am so grateful that we have made a tradition of attending A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie Theater. We make a day of spending time with each other. We’re experiencing the story together. We talk about it and laugh again at the humorous parts. This production brings out the humor more than we’ve ever seen before. The dancing, the costumes, the lighting, the music, the story, the fine acting and storytelling all work together to create a special kind of magic that only live theater can produce.

To read more of my reviews for this show and others, visit my website Play off the Page.

A Christmas Carol, adapted for the stage by Crispin Whittell and directed by Joe Chvala, is playing on the Wurtele Thrust Stage at the Guthrie Theater through December 28, 2014. Be part of this 40 year tradition at the Guthrie and continue to make memories of your own as you spend time with those you love.

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt:  What are some activities you enjoy doing with friends and family? What are your holiday traditions?

Review of Singin’ in the Rain at Pequot Lakes, MN

Quote of the Day:  A few lines from the classic dancing musical Singin’ in the Rain.
“People?” I ain’t “people.” I am a “a shimmering, glowing star in the cinema firmament. Lina Lamont
If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, it makes us feel as though our hard work ain’t been in vain for nothin’. Bless you all. Lina Lamont


Cast of Singin' in the Rain, Community theatre production in Pequot Lakes, MN. Promotion photo on the Brainerd Dispatch.

Cast of Singin’ in the Rain, Community theatre production in Pequot Lakes, MN.
Promotion photo on the Brainerd Dispatch.

That second quote sums up what community theatre is all about. It is building community, the coming together. The cast and crew get to step out of their normal, humdrum lives for a few weeks. They got plenty of exercise doing this show with all the dancing. Great job! The people in the community get to leave their houses, and same old reruns on TV, on cold nights to watch friends, neighbors and relatives kick up their heels and entertain us for a few hours.

According to this article printed in the Brainerd Dispatch about Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts (GLAPA), many of the actors had never tap danced before. Wendy DeGeest, the choreographer, held some tap dance classes before auditions, so people could learn a little ahead of time. My sister Joy was in the production, and she said that they worked very hard to learn the steps. Their costumes are stunning. The chorus in particular has many costume changes, and they are all adorable. Well, maybe the one where they’re construction builders during the song “Make’em Laugh” isn’t exactly “adorable,” but it did make us laugh!

Joy Ciaffoni, chorus girl extraordinaire.

Joy Ciaffoni, chorus girl extraordinaire.

Although it is one of the best known and loved movie musicals of all time, you don’t often see it performed in community theater. It is a challenging show. The actors need to be good dancers, or work really hard at it during rehearsals. The musical score is difficult. You can’t really pull it off with just a handful of rehearsals and young musicians. The set is beautiful, and they have many big numbers. You need an accommodating stage, and lots of stage hands! In this production, director Gary Hirsch hired a local film maker to film a few black and white scenes that are projected during the show. The story is set in Hollywood in the late 1920’s when film is switching from the silent film to talkies. (Did anyone see the 2011 Oscar winning film The Artist? Also, a great show that depicts that transition.) The black & white film projection was one of my favorite parts of GLAPA’s production. And, of course, watching my sister perform is a highlight. She is in her element in the role of a dancer.

Singin’ in the Rain is showing again this weekend in Pequot Lakes, MN. Go to the GLAPA website for tickets and showtimes. You might just want to enroll in some tap dancing classes after you see this show!

To read more of my reviews and to keep up to date on entertainment, visit my website, Play off the Page.

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt:  Are you a dancer? What gets your toes tapping? Have you seen “Singin’ in the Rain” or “The Artist?” What did you think of the show?

Review of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas at CTC, 2014

Reed Sigmund as The Grinch. Photo by Dan Norman

Back by popular demand at The Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, MN, is The Grinch! (even though he hates all that singing and the noise, noise, noise, noise!) Old Max the dog returns each night with his suitcase packed full of memories as he retells the story of how the Grinch tried to steal Christmas. How he went down to Whoville, disguised as the gift giver in red, and Max himself wearing antlers and pulling a sleigh. The Whos do seem to be infatuated with the whole Christmas thing, the shopping, the buying, the crowds, and the stuff, oh the STUFF!

The Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis, and particularly director Peter C. Brosius, knows how to create the true Christmas spirit. How the Grinch Stole Christmas sparkles with magic and love. The show has original music by Mel Marvin. Victor Zupanc is the talented conductor. The music is wonderful, but it’s not the same as you hear in the animated version. They play “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch” as background music, which is fun. And, the Who’s have a new special song which is catchy and sweet. The costumes are so amazing, you can’t take your eyes off of them. The Whos, with their rounded shapes and boing-y hair, crack me up. We sat in the second row, so we were up close and personal, noticing every expression.

Full Cast of How the Grinch Stole Christmas at the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis. Photo by Dan Norman

To read more of my review, visit my website Play off the Page.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas is playing at The Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Nov. 11, 2014 – Jan. 4, 2015. They have a wide range of ticket prices and showtimes, as well as student performances. This is a show that will delight the young and old, the tall and the small. Perhaps, your own heart might grow a few sizes!

Go. Create. Inspire!

Shows for the Holidays

If our early snowfall hasn’t sparked the holiday spirit, perhaps some classic holiday shows will. From local theatre to the many offerings in the metro, performers and audience members alike have many opportunities to hear or sing their favorite tunes and watch the shows that warm our cold hearts and melt our frozen toes.

First, I’d like to give a shout out for Steerage Song by Theatre Latte Da. They are currently on tour and had a stop here at the Chalberg Theatre at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. I must have given it a good sales pitch because my three teenage sons accompanied me to the show, and they liked it! We talked about it afterwards, the story, the songs, the message. It’s a beautiful evening of song and story of the European immigrants in the late 1800′s to early 1900′s, what they brought with them and what they left behind. The actors needed to perform in many different languages and accents. We learned more of the heartache and hopefulness that their journey gave them. If it comes to your area, you won’t want to miss it!

Here in the Brainerd lakes area, a new theatre company has formed. Stage North will be presenting A Christmas Carol, adapted for stage by Michael Poller, on the stage at the Franklin Arts Center, Dec. 18-21, 2014. Gary Hirsch and Kevin Yeager are the creative team making this happen. For their debut production Gary will be directing, and Kevin is in charge of set design and most of the other details. They have asked me to direct a children’s choir that will be part of the show as well as providing music before the show and during intermission. Joy Ciaffoni is assisting me in directing. She is a voice and piano teacher in the Brainerd area. I don’t have a production photo at this time, so check back on my writer’s blog, Play off the Page, or follow me on Instagram or Twitter.

If you’re a big fan of old Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts that haunt him, and you’re in the Minneapolis, MN area, The Guthrie Theater is presenting their 40th annual performance of A Christmas Carol, adapted for stage by Crispin Whittell, November 13 – December 28, 2014 on the Wurtele Thrust Stage. We have made this show a family tradition and will be at the Guthrie to view and review it Nov. 22. I have a longer post on this at my writer’s blog, Play off the Page, including some wonderful production photos.

The Ordway Performing Arts Center in St. Paul, MN is presenting A (You’ll shoot your eye out!) Christmas Story, Nov. 29-Dec. 28, 2014. What a fun show to watch during the holidays. My previous post is the press release, so I won’t get into detail here of Jean Shepherd’s classic tale. But, if you’ve grown up chuckling at the innocence and antics of Ralphie and his obsession with the “Official Red Ryder® Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle,” you might want to get tickets! I’ll be in the audience to view and reivew this one on Dec. 5.

If you’re already “Christmas caroled out” by Thanksgiving, and you’re pining for summer, visit The Jungle Theatre in Minneapolis for On Golden Pond, Nov. 7 – Dec. 21, 2014. I hear that the matinees are already selling out! This is the first time the Jungle is staging this poignant play, which in addition to twin cities legends Bain Boehlke and Wendy Lehr, features a stellar cast and one of Bain’s distinctive detailed sets. I’m trying to figure out how I can fit this one in. I love this play and would be thrilled to visit the Jungle theatre again to see it.

If you’re in the Alexandria, MN area, visit their AAAA community theatre production of White Christmas, Dec. 12-21. The AAAA really knows how to do community theatre. I recently saw The Addam’s Family musical there, and they did a spectacular job!

These are just a few of the fabulous shows coming up during the holiday season. Whether you’re watching the grandkids in the church Christmas program, or playing your favorite CD, your mood just might lift as you’re planning your holiday meals and special times together with family and friends.

Go. Create. Inspire!

A Christmas Story coming to The Ordway in St. Paul, MN

I’ll be sharing press releases from time to time about shows coming up in the area and in the metro. This is from The Ordway in St. Paul, MN.

“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”

“Fra-gee-lay. It must be Italian!”

“Oh, fudge!”

The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts Presents

A Christmas Story, the Musical

Nov. 29–Dec. 28, 2014

Your favorite holiday movie is now your favorite holiday musical

We triple-dog-dare you not to miss it!

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Oct. 28, 2014) — The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts is excited to present its 2014 holiday show, A Christmas Story, the Musical. The Ordway-produced musical comedy will run Nov. 29–Dec. 28, 2014, for a total of 36 performances. Tickets are available now and can be purchased online at, by phone at 651-224-4222 or in person at the Ordway ticket office.


The cast features Gary Briggle as Jean Shepherd, Billie Wildrick as Mother, Jake Goodman as Ralphie, James Ciccarelle as Randy, Dieter Bierbrauer as The Old Man and Erin Schwab as Miss Shields.


The ensemble includes Jack Ahern, Carter Bannwarth, Lisa Bartholemew-Given, Olivia Lyn Coon, Jennifer Eckes, Mario Esteb, Joshua Feldman, Larissa Gritti, Amasia Gordon, Michael Gruber, Reid Harmsen, Annie Hoffman, Lillie Horton, Olivia Huber, Sophia Huber, Suzie Juul, Nike Kadri, Gavin Kimmel, Brad Madison, Julianne Mundale, Hope Nordquist, Aja Parham, Kersten Rodau, Jack Romans, Randy Schmelling, Carl Schoenborn, Rudolph Searles III, Jay Soulen, Madeline Sundheim, Linda Talcott Lee, Brent Teclaw, Austene Van and Tony Vierling. The production also features Oliver and Argyle, two rescue dogs and acting veterans trained by legendary animal trainer, William Berloni.


A Christmas Story, the Musical is the hilarious account of Ralphie Parker’s desperate quest to ensure that the most perfect of gifts, an Official Red Ryder® Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle, ends up under his tree this Christmas. Filled with nostalgia, quirky childhood innocence and all the best-loved scenes from the movie, this Ordway holiday production is a heartwarming event for the entire family.


“We couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to bring A Christmas Story, the Musical to life on the Ordway stage. The script is funny, charming and stays true to the classic movie that everyone knows and loves,” said James A. Rocco, Ordway’s vice president of programming/producing artistic director. “Fans of the movie will recognize all their favorite scenes, including the pink bunny pajamas, the leg lamp award, Ralphie’s Wild West fantasy, and of course, the infamous tongue stuck to the flagpole moment. The story has become a part of American culture, and the stage version builds on that with amazing music and extravagant dance numbers.”


Directed and choreographed by award-winning duo James A. Rocco and Sharon Halley, this uproarious holiday musical features a book by Joseph Robinette based on the classic 1983 holiday film and the writings of Jean Shepherd. The show also features music and lyrics by Tony-nominated team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, one of Broadway’s hottest young songwriting duos known for their work on James and the Giant Peach and the hit television show Smash.


The production’s creative team includes Jeff Rizzo (musical director), Raymond Berg (associate musical director), J Branson (scenic design), Wm. P. Healey (lighting design), Lynda L. Salsbury (costume design), Zach Williamson (sound design) and Robert A. Dunn (hair and make-up design).


A Christmas Story, the Musical opened on Broadway in November 2012, receiving three Tony Award nominations (Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score). The show was also nominated for two Outer Critics Circle Awards and six Drama Desk Awards.


For tickets and more information, visit



The Ordway is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading nonprofit performing arts centers and Saint Paul’s most elegant and inviting performance space. The Ordway’s Music Theater and soon-to-be completed Concert Hall attract diverse audiences with an array of productions showcasing the finest in American musical theater, world music, dance and vocal performance. Education and community engagement are integral to the Ordway’s mission, with major initiatives including the annual Flint Hills International Children’s Festival and Ordway Education programs that serve more than 50,000 students annually. The Ordway also sponsors the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, a charter high school with a professionally guided academic and artistic environment that trains aspiring pre-professional performing artists. Together with the Minnesota Opera, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and The Schubert Club, the Ordway is a member of the Arts Partnership and serves as the principal venue for their performances. For more information, visit





Production:                           A Christmas Story, the Musical


Based upon the motion picture, A Christmas Story (distributed by Warner Bros. and written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark) and upon In God We Trust; All Others Pay Cash (written by Jean Shepherd). Produced with permission of Warner Bros., Theatre Ventures and Dalphie Entertainment.


Dates:                                     Nov. 29 – Dec. 28, 2014


Times:                                    7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 29 – Sunday, Nov. 30

Tuesday, Dec. 2 – Sunday, Dec. 7

Tuesday, Dec. 9 – Sunday, Dec. 14

Tuesday, Dec. 16 – Sunday, Dec. 21

Tuesday, Dec. 23

Friday, Dec. 26 – Sunday, Dec. 28


2:00 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 30

Saturday, Dec. 6 – Sunday, Dec. 7

Saturday, Dec. 13 – Sunday, Dec. 14

Saturday, Dec. 20 – Sunday, Dec. 21

Tuesday, Dec. 23

Saturday, Dec. 27 – Sunday, Dec. 28


11:00 a.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 24


Accessible Performances

Thursday, Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m. (Open Captioned)

Saturday, Dec. 13, 2:00 p.m. (ASL/AD)


Piano music in the Marzitelli Foyer by Lori Dokken pre-show and during intermission for all performances


Theater Venue                       Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

& Location:                            345 Washington Street
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102


Ticket Office: 651-224-4222
Groups: 651-282-3111


Price:                                      $36-$110, subject to change


Book:                                      Joseph Robinette


Music and Lyrics:                 Benj Pasek and Justin Paul


Direction and                        

Choreography:                      James A. Rocco and Sharon Halley


Musical Director:                  Jeff Rizzo


Associate Musical

Director:                                 Raymond Berg


Scenic Design:                      J Branson


Lighting Design:                   Wm. P. Healey


Costume Design:                  Lynda L. Salsbury


Sound Design:                      Zach Williamson


Hair and Make-Up Design:  Robert A. Dunn


Production Manager:           Andy Luft


Technical Director:               Jason Allyn-Schwerin


Casting Director:                  Reid Harmsen


Stage Manager:                     Sharon Bach


Animal Trainer:                     William Berloni


Cast:                                       Gary Briggle, Billie Wildrick, Jake Goodman, James Ciccarelle, Dieter Bierbrauer, Erin Schwab, Jack Ahern, Carter Bannwarth, Lisa Bartholemew-Given, Olivia Lyn Coon, Jennifer Eckes, Mario Esteb, Joshua Feldman, Larissa Gritti, Amasia Gordon, Michael Gruber, Reid Harmsen, Annie Hoffman, Lillie Horton, Olivia Huber, Sophia Huber, Suzie Juul, Nike Kadri, Gavin Kimmel, Brad Madison, Julianne Mundale, Hope Nordquist, Aja Parham, Kersten Rodau, Jack Romans, Randy Schmelling, Carl Schoenborn, Rudolph Searles III, Jay Soulen, Madeline Sundheim, Linda Talcott Lee, Brent Teclaw, Austene Van, Tony Vierling


Producer:                               Ordway Center for the Performing Arts


Media Contact:                      Jessica Petrie


Review of The Addams Family at AAAA

Did you know that the classic TV sitcom has been turned into a musical? Well, it has, and it’s terrific. The songs are filled with kookie lyrics. The kids are growing up. Fester is in love…with the moon. And, Wednesday is in love. Horrors! Imagine that moment when you and your sweetheart were getting serious and thought it would be a “good idea” to get the families together for a dinner. You know how you just want them to act like “normal” people…”For just two hours, could you act like a normal family?” plead the young lovers.


The cast and crew of the AAAA theatre in Alexandria, MN did a spectacular job with the quirky and well-loved show. You have the meshing of the mainstream with the macabre. You have the characters and their quirks, on both sides of the cemetery. And, you have the delight of watching them co-mingle, or not. I thought that director Ben Klipfel had a fantastic cast. Really. The actors fit into those classic roles so well. David Christman who played Gomez was particularly well cast. He never slipped out of character or lost that exotic “Spanish” accent.

If you’re in the Alexandra, MN area, or close enough for a lovely fall drive past rotting fields and cemeteries, venture out and take in a kookie and spookie show! I feel I have a better understanding of the Addams’ after watching this musical. Really! Here they are living life their own way, without apology. To read more of my review, go to my website Play off the Page.

You can find showtimes and ticket information at the AAAA website or AAAA facebook page. You will have a spooktacular experience! Or, read a little more from the AAAA website:

“Like the television series, there is a bit of innuendo,” Klipfel said, “but, there is something in it for everybody, and it’s not scary but rather super fun, and very fast moving.”

The Addams Family features a regional cast, including David Christma (Gomez), Kara Gerdes (Morticia), Mackenzie Webb (Wednesday), Brody Uhlenkamp (Pugsley), Kevin Lee (Uncle Fester), Lindsey Roers (Grandmama), Chuck Grussing (Lurch), Alex Shockley (Lucas Beineke), Bill Dietzler (Mal Beineke), and Becky Byrne (Alice Beineke).  The Addams Family Ancestors are played by Ahndree Brown, Alex Johnson, Carolyn Giannone, Trinessa Spanswick, Holly Wallerich, Cole Mercier, Adam Frankel and Pete Woit.

The production features an original story by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa.  The Addams Family is based on characters created by Charles Addams.  The production is directed by Benjamin Klipfel with vocal direction by Rachel Capistrant.  Lindsey Roers provided choreography. Quincy Roers designed the set and lighting, and Hilary Ninman designed the props.  Costume, hair and makeup design is by Deb Long with assistance from Jamie Sandberg.  Dedra Zweig is the music technician.  Ailee Velazquez is the stage manager, and Rexford Sweetwater is the assistant stage manager.  Eric DeLong and Scott Giannone are the running crew.

The Addams Family musical runs October 24, 25, 31, and November 1 at 7:30pm, with Sunday matinees at 2:00pm on October 26 and November 2.  Tickets are available now at the box office and can be purchased over the phone with a credit card (320-762-8300) or in person at 618 Broadway Street in Downtown Alexandria.  Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for students and seniors.  There is a group rate of $13 for parties of 12 or more.

The Addams Family is sponsored by Integrity Title of Alexandria.