The Christmas Schooner

November 25, 2009 10:21:03 AM PST
A piece of Chicago history comes to life onstage through The Christmas Schooner.The heart-warming original musical, created by two Chicago theater veterans, tells the story of a brave Michigan shipping captain who sails Christmas trees across Lake Michigan to the German immigrants in Chicago. Playing through December 20 at the Theatre in the Center theatreatthecenter.com in Munster, The Christmas Schooner has quickly become a beloved Chicago holiday classic. The musical follows Peter and Alma Stossel, two 19th Century pioneers, who are full of energy and dreams. With the help of Peter's young son Karl, and his father, Gus, from the old country, Peter decides to take Christmas Trees from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan across the icy waters to post-fire Chicago.

Full of glorious music, charming dances, and the lively spirit of the sailing crew of The Molly Doone, The Christmas Schooner is a timely and stirring reminder of the value of family, the importance of tradition, and our obligation to celebrate the living while honoring our ancestors.

Author John Reeger and Lyricist Julie Shannon are both very familiar faces in Chicago theater. They have collaborated on three musicals together, the best known being The Christmas Schooner. The musical has provided audiences entertainment throughout over 100 productions around the United States. This includes a twelve year run at Chicago's Bailiwick Theater. The show received its European premiere at Theatreworx in Bristol, England.

An award winning Chicago Actor, Reeger has starred in dozens of productions at not only Theatre at the Center (Hello, Dolly!, A Christmas Story), as well as at Drury Lane Oakbrook, Marriott Theatre, Court Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Northlight Theater and Steppenwolf Theater. Along with her collaborations with Reeger, Shannon has written and recorded albums for children with storyteller Rives Collins. Their album Let's Fill up the House with Stories and Songs has won a Parents' Choice Award.

New orchestrations will also be provided to Theatre at the Center's production of The Christmas Schooner by Larry Blank, a composer, orchestrator and conductor based in Los Angeles, New York and London. His career has found him working with some of the more respected names in theater, film, television and music. Additionally, he orchestrated 8 songs for the Tony Award winning orchestrations for the Broadway production of The Producers. He also wrote the orchestrations for five songs for the film Chicago and additional orchestrations for Thoroughly Modern Millie on Broadway.

The cast of The Christmas Schooner features Brandon Dahlquist as "Peter Stossel", Cory Goodrich as "Alma Stossel", Peter Kevoian as "Gustav Stossel", Daniel Coonley as "Karl Stossel", Kevin Barthel as "Rudy", Ron Keaton as "Oskar", Jeff Diebold as "Steve", Mitchell Rose as "Young Karl", Audrey Billings as "Martha", Amy Brophy as "Kate", Katrina Kuntz as "Enid", Kellie Cundiff as "Olive", Livvie Goble as "Mary Claire Daugherty", Jennifer Buhrow as "Rose", Liam Byrnes as "Young Boy" and Peter Vamvakas, John Leen, Adrian Fontanilla, Peter Durkin and Michael Glazer as "the Sailors".

Chuck Gessert is the show's Director; the Choreographer is Matt Raftery and the Music Director is Bill Underwood. The design team for The Christmas Schooner is Scenic Designer Jack Magaw, Costume Designer Sally Murray, Lighting Designer Guy Rhodes, Wig and Makeup Designer Kevin Barthel, Props Designer Libby Fandrei and Sound Designer Barry Funderburg. The Stage Manager is Rita Vreeland with ASM Jason Wroblewski. Technical Director is Ann Davis.

Founded in 1991, Theatre at the Center is a year-round professional, equity theater at its home, The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana. Theatre at the Center is located off I-80/94, just 35 minutes from downtown Chicago.

For information and tickets, call the box office at 219.836.3255 or www.Tickets.com at 800.511.1552 or visit www.TheatreAtTheCenter.com.

The Christmas Schooner
Theatre at the Center
1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana
Through December 20
219-836-3255


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