Tuesday, October 23, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 33

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on December 6th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 40 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 40

Central Coast holiday shows to kick off the season


We’re a week into December, and it is indeed beginning to look a lot like Christmas. But forget decorating the tree just so or purchasing the perfect gift—the real question is what forms of community holiday merriment should one partake in?

There’s too many festive shows and only so much time, so we at the Sun and New Times humbly took it upon ourselves to highlight a few of the greater region’s merriest offerings that are sure to put a smile on even the scroogiest of faces.


The Holiday Extravaganza

The holiday season means it’s once again time for the Great American Melodrama’s Holiday Extravaganza, an annual multi-play production in Oceano. Daniel Schultz, artistic director for the theater group, said the holiday production is their most popular show for the entire year.

The Great American Melodrama in Oceano will once again put on their traditional holiday show, featuring a rendition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, as well as a 30-minute vaudeville.

“We do three shows in one,” Schultz explained. “We do a A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, which is a Christmas favorite for everyone. And we of course do our famous vaudeville show as well.”

In addition to the standard favorites, the Melodrama will perform a new Cinderella musical, which Schultz described as a “fractured fairy tale” set to familiar classical music tunes.

“It’s an irreverent retelling of the Cinderella story all told through music,” he said. “There are beautiful costumes, and it’s just super funny.”

A Christmas Carol runs about 45 minutes, Cinderella about 25 minutes, and the company’s vaudeville act runs for another 30 minutes. Schultz said all of the material is also family friendly. He said some of the actors have been participating in the annual holiday show for more than 20 years.

“It’s great because we’re sold out for almost every show,” Schultz said. “We have families who come every single year, and we get to be a part of their holiday tradition. Even though it’s the holidays and it’s frenzied with people running around and trying to buy presents and a lot of people being stressed out, we still get to put a smile on their faces.”

Glad tidings

The Great American Melodrama’s Holiday Extravaganza runs through Dec. 31. Daily show times vary; visit americanmelodrama.com/calendar for times and ticket sales. Tickets cost $25 to 29. The Melodrama is located at 1863 Front St., Oceano. More info: 489-2499.


A Christmas Story

It’s not really Christmas until you hear little Ralphie waxing poetic about wanting a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. That’s why San Luis Obispo Repertory Theatre is bringing A Christmas Story (showing through Dec. 23) back for the fifth time, but this year the narrator, aka Big Ralph, is being portrayed by Don Stewart, a teacher and actor with the Pacific Conservatory Theatre (PCPA).

“As a director I don’t want to do the same thing,” said Kevin Harris, show director and managing artistic director for the theater. “The narrator really sets the tune for the show directly and communicates with the audience. Don has this wonderful, intimate nature about him.”

Time and time again, SLO Repertory Theatre’s audiences return to fill out the seats for A Christmas Story, Harris said.

“It’s such a privilege to work on a story that’s so universally loved,” Harris said. “It really encourages people to think about their own lives.” 

Holiday nostalgia

A Christmas Story will be showing at the SLO Repertory Theatre through Dec. 23. Tickets range from $20 to $38. Visit slorep.org for more information.


The Snow Queen

If ballet is your thing, but you’re tired of the same old Nutcracker year in and year out, consider Ballet Theatre San Luis Obispo’s rendition of The Snow Queen.

When the snow queen (Michelle McLaughlin, pictured) changes Kay for the worst, his best friend Greta must save him in Ballet Theatre San Luis Obispo’s production of The Snow Queen.

Debuting at the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center Dec. 15, 16, and 17, this balletic interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale is sure to delight.

Here’s the gist: A hobglobin or “the devil himself” gets a mirror that makes the viewer turn ugly and evil on the inside. Cue the mirror falling down to Earth where shards of it pierce people, including young Kay, changing their hearts for the worse. With Kay in a vulnerable state, he is snatched by the evil snow queen, leaving his best friend Greta to go on a quest to save him.

“It’s magical,” said Theresa Slobodnik, company artistic director. “It’s a story of perseverance and faith. It’s a beautiful story for Christmastime.”

The power of friendship

Ballet Theatre San Luis Obispo’s The Snow Queen will show Dec. 15, 16, and 17 at the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center. Tickets range from $26 to $44. Visit pacslo.org for more information.


Christmas Ghost Stories

Halloween isn’t the only day to get scared out of your mind. Partake in some creepy tales this Christmas just like our friends across the pond. Gather round on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. for a reading of local author Mark Onspaugh’s Christmas Stories: A Collection of Winter Tales at Coalesce Bookstore’s chapel in Morro Bay.

“It’s a pretty old tradition,” Onspaugh said. “It’s very British. Dickens sort of set the pace. It’s cold and windy. Everyone’s huddled around the fire and that lends itself to storytelling.”

There won’t be a fire at this event, but expect some spooky candlelight along with cookies and cider for this theatrical reading of tales of the Christmas ghosts, Jack Frost, and Santa fighting Dracula. 

Is that you, Santa Claus?

Local author Mark Onspaugh will read from his book, Christmas Stories: A Collection of Winter Tales, at Coalesce Bookstore’s chapel in Morro Bay on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. Admission is free. This event is for ages 13 and older. Books will be available for purchase and signing along with complimentary cider and cookies. Call (805) 772-2880 for more information.


Sun Arts and Lifestyle Writer Rebecca Rose and New Times Arts Editor Ryah Cooley are full of Christmas cheer and mulled wine. Contact them at rcooley@newtimesslo.com and rrose@santamariasun.com.

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