It really is the “most wonderful time of the year” as Upper Canada Playhouse debuts the new Leisa Way Christmas musical, Mistletoe Magic, November 30-December 17.
This show, making its debut at the Playhouse, promises to delight audiences of all ages, with its merry blend of the traditional songs of Christmas and the introduction of music from classic Christmas movies.
“My idea for this show was be keep the iconic songs that everyone knows and loves,” said the show’s creator, Leisa Way, “but also to include music from such films as Rudolph the Movie, Polar Express, A Charlie Brown Christmas and Frozen.”
Leisa Way is a diminutive powerhouse of vocal talent, whose versatility is evident from productions like last season’s Across the Pond and tributes to Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline. She brings a love of Christmas music and a rich blend of traditional and more recent music to this production.
“There are some special readings during the show, that are dear to many hearts. But there is a bit of a country feel to this production as well,” Way said. “I think it will have a strong audience appeal. There’s even a Hanukkah number.”
Featured in the show are artists like Elvis, Charlie, Lucy and the gang, Elf and even Dolly Parton.
“I had some fun creating a Christmas version of 9 to 5 for this show,” Leisa laughed. “But we also include some of her truly beautiful and moving Christmas songs as well.”
She praises vocal director Bruce Ley’s arrangements of many of the songs. Expect some striking and gorgeous costumes in this show and members of the Wayward Wind Band taking on several roles in the production. And, Way added, expect a visit from Santa himself, a Santa who will be both a surprise and a delight for local audiences. Mistletoe Magic is also adapted for several scheduled lively student matinees.
“For the children’s shows, we bring in special jokes and tongue twisters, and we cut out the slower pieces,” Way laughed. Sharing the stage with Leisa Way for this Christmas debut is the Wayward Wind Band, made up of Bobby Prochaska, Fred Smith, Nathan Smith, Bruce Ley (who is also the arranger and vocal director) and Sam Cino.
This very talented group of musicians (among them they play bass, fiddle, acoustic guitar, drums, harmonica, mandolin and piano) are also accomplished singers, who will be providing lead and back up vocals for Mistletoe Magic.
“These are incredibly talented people and a joy to work with,” Way said. “We all have a strong on stage rapport and share a great sense of humour.”
Way laughed that those two qualities have certainly been “tested” as the group just two weeks ago completed a 28 city tour of Way’s phenomenally popular Oh Canada, Of Thee We Sing (also a Playhouse debut). They unpacked those tour bags, promptly repacked the new tour bags and headed for Morrisburg.
“There’s a lot of joy in putting a show like Mistletoe Magic together,” Way said. “People will love the music. We celebrate what’s really important about Christmas in the music and songs,” she said. “Christmas is the gifts given from the heart.” Contact UCP for tickets to Mistletoe Magic, running November 30 to December 17.