The Christmas Express rolls into Playhouse

MORRISBURG – The legendary Christmas Express train ought to be halting at the small town of Holly. But, sadly, it hasn’t pulled into the little station for years. And as the Christmas season draws ever nearer, it appears that the Express will, once again, steam through the village of Holly without stopping.

Upper Canada Playhouse is celebrating the season with a delightful and heart-warming production of Pat Cook’s family play, The Christmas Express. The show will run from November 30 right up until December 21. The show is directed by Playhouse artistic director Donnie Bowes, and the beautiful set has been designed by John Thompson.

The Christmas Express focuses on the lives of some of the ordinary people living in the town of Holly as December 25th approaches.

Train station manager Hilda, and her assistant Satch, haven’t seen a customer in days. In fact, the two of them are just waiting for “the city big wigs” to send them official word that the Holly Train Station is going to be closed, and they will both be out of a job.

They’re not alone in worrying about a sad future.

It seems that almost everyone in Holly has reason to be glum this Christmas season: any Christmas spirit is in very short supply.

That is until a very mysterious gentleman carrying a very mysterious hand bag arrives on a train that absolutely no one can recall pulling into the Holly Station.

His name, he says, is Leo. And suddenly the most magical and unexpected things begin to happen all around him. The town of Holly is in for a Christmas where dreams just might possibly come true.

The Christmas Express at the Playhouse features a large cast of 10 talented actors and singers, performing the roles of the townspeople. Returning to the Playhouse is Linda Goranson, last seen in The Great Kooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby, who will be taking on the part of Hilda. Joining her, in the role of the mysterious Leo, is Daniel Michael Karpenchuk, who was Kris Kingle in the Playhouse production of Miracle on 34th Street.

Sweeney MacArthur is Satch, the wise-cracking station assistant, while Stephanie Folkins and Tom Tifflin are a feuding couple, Donna Fay and Jerry, who are stuck in Holly.

Jess Vandenberg takes on the role of an ambitious local news reporter, while Stephanie Pitsiladis plays Myrna, the town’s beleaguered choir director. Zach Counsel is the village mailman and Duff MacDonald, the local train station inspector.

Joining the cast is a young local actor.

Jamie Wilson of Williamsburg will appear in the role of Deborah, a girl searching for her lost father.

No Christmas production would be complete without wonderful music and spirited dancing, and the Playhouse is offering both live on the stage during The Christmas Express. Tom Tifflin is the musical director, with Jess Vandenberg directing choreography.

There will be some special student matinees of the play, as well as a number of public performances afternoons and evenings.