And you thought you had trouble getting ready for Christmas this year!
In Upper Canada Playhouse’s delightful Christmas production, Dear Santa, Santa is an Elf on the Edge with Christmas eve just around the corner.
His work shop elves are complaining, a pushy sleigh salesman is touting the virtues of rocket power over reindeer, his house keeper is in a tizzy, the chief of staff is in a pickle and the choir cannot sing! To say nothing of a stowaway on the North Pole Express, and a special Christmas wish that Santa desperately wants to fulfill.
With only three days left until Christmas eve, why it’s enough to turn a man’s beard white!
Dear Santa, by renowned Canadian playwright, Norm Foster, opens at Upper Canada Playhouse on November 24, with several school matinees and evening shows. “It’s a show filled with tons of laughs, wonderful live music, a really good story, and lots of Christmas cheer for children and adults alike,” says director Donnie Bowes.
Bowes has put together a stellar cast of performers for this final production of the 2011 season at the Playhouse. And joining the professional actors on the Playhouse stage will be 30 local elementary students from Morrisburg and Iroquois, who will perform as the choir and take on the roles of four of the elves.
“We are right in the thick of things getting the show ready,” says Bowes. “It’s working out well having local kids in the cast. We have two separate choirs which means everything has to be rehearsed twice, but the kids are on top of it and enjoying the experience.”
Dear Santa welcomes back some familiar and favourite performers to the Playhouse.
Doug Tangney is playing Santa Claus in the production and looking forward to the role.
“Santa has the joy of life in him,” Tangney said at a recent press conference. “But in this play, we also get a chance to see him as vulnerable with all the wonderful chaos going on all around him. He’s a magical person, yet filled with humanity. Santa is forever and I am playing in the spirit of this special being.”
Tangney’s Santa will have a lot to cope with.
Susan Greenfield, Santa’s housekeeper is suffering from “unrequited love” and it’s seriously disrupting her duties. The object of her affections is Algernon, North Pole Chief of Staff, who “never notices her of course,” says Jamie Williams who plays the harried Algernon.
Timm Hughes, as Lou Flapdoodle, has landed at the North Pole determined to drag Santa into the 23rd century with a new rocket powered sleigh: Lou simply can’t take no for an answer.
Richard Bauer, as Bozidar, is a mad cap Russian, whose confusion over English is not helping the elf production lines operate any more efficiently. And even less so now that glue supplies have “dried up.”
Meredith Zwicker is both Piffle the Elf and musical consultant for this song and dance filled production. “There was music in the play orginally,” Swicker says, “but Liz (Gilroy) and I have added some extra songs, ones we think really highlight the outstanding skills of people in this cast. The music is such a lot of fun.”
Liz Gilroy, besides working on the music, also has the key role of Kitt, a young stowaway, who has come to the North Pole for reasons of her own with a very special letter to deliver to Santa. Her arrival just makes the chaos at Santa’s workshop even worse.
New to the cast and the Playhouse is Travis Seetoo, an accomplished singer, dancer and musician. “It’s great to be in this play as YeGads, a sort of elf wrangler. Foster has created such a wonderful realistic, imaginary world in this play,” says Seetoo, “and music is a big part of it. I am loving it here at Upper Canada Playhouse.”
Audiences will love the energy, the humour, the excitement of this Norm Foster Christmas classic.
“There is much in this show that demonstrates Norm’s real understanding of kids, of what it is to want to be part of a group, yet also needing to be proud of being different. There is so much variety in Dear Santa,” says Donnie Bowes.
A bright, imaginative and wondrous set helps bring Santa’s Workshop to life (even to files marked Elves Pensions and Naughty and Nice). No matter what your age, Dear Santa is guaranteed to bring the joy of the season to your heart.
Dear Santa runs until December 18 at Upper Canada Playhouse with evening shows and a number of matinees. For ticket information call 613-543-3713 or contact uppercanadaplayhouse.com