Santa is certainly busy this month, but even he needs to take a break now and then. And why not do it with live theater? In honor of The Big Red Guy, and with help from the directors, we take a look at two promising holiday-themed local openings: “Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings” at CenterStage Clovis Community Theatre; and “Miracle on 34th Street,” at Reedley’s River City Theatre Company:
‘FOREVER PLAID: PLAID TIDINGS’
The director: Scott Hancock.
The run: just four performances over this one weekend: 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30; 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, Clovis Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 808 4th St., Clovis.
The plot: “Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings” is a semi-sequel to the incredibly popular “Forever Plaid.” The four plaids (Adam Kitt, Darren Tharp, Brandon Crane, and Kyle Dodson) return to earth for a second time and (at first) are not quite sure why. Through song and self discovery, they realize that they are here to do the Christmas show they never got to do while they were still alive.
The best-known song: There are so many to choose from, but Hancock’s favorite is “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”
The biggest “Christmas moment” in the show: The emotional send off the Plaids give the audience. If that doesn’t get you in the Christmas spirit, what will?
The wildest color combination in the show: Definitely the “Mambo Christmas,” a treat for the eyes and ears.
The toughest harmony to sing: None of them are easy, but the 50’s TV ad the Plaids sing for the Mercury Monterey is probably the hardest.
The moment you don’t want to miss by taking a bathroom break: For certain, the Ed Sullivan routine. It’s the comic highlight of the show, running the full “Ed Sullivan Christmas Special” (with over 25 special guests) in just under three minutes.
What review would Santa give this show? “I think Santa would absolutely put the Plaids on the “Nice” list and leave them something special in their stockings,” Hancock says.
‘MIRACLE ON 34th STREET’
The director: Joseph Ham
The run: Opens 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, at the Reedley Opera House, 1720 10th St., Reedley. Runs through Dec. 17.
The plot: There’s a kindly old gentleman who happens to believe he’s Santa Claus. What’s his name? Kris Kringle, of course. After landing the role of Macy’s official Santa, a role he’s particularly well suited for, he ends up in a mess of trouble when a spiteful coworker tries to get him committed. Eventually, he finds himself in a New York State courthouse, where it’s down to a court case that will determine his sanity and, more importantly, his authenticity.
The best-known line of dialogue: A phrase often repeated throughout the story, “Faith is believing in things when common sense tell you not to.”
The sweetest “Christmas moment” in the show: When young Susan Walker, who has spent most of the show skeptical of Kris Kringle, tells Mr. Kringle that she knows that everything will work out because she really does believe in him.
The best product placement: Macy’s gets its flagship street address in the title. You can’t beat that.
The most profound anti-commercialism moment in the play: After being fired as Macy’s Santa for sending shoppers to other stores to get better deals, he’s then asked to return to his post because it turns out that Mr. Macy actually loves the idea. But Kris refuses to take part in that kind of commercialism, stating that “We’re so busy trying to make things go faster and look shinier that we’ve lost the spirit of giving from the heart!”
The moment you don’t want to miss by taking a bathroom break: the doozy of a legal trick that wins Kris Kringle the court case. For those that know the story, don’t spoil it!
What review would Santa give this show? “He would give it 10 out of 10 candy canes,” Ham says.” A definite must-see Christmas treat!”
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