Friday, December 23, 7 p.m.
Adler Theatre, 136 East Third Street, Davenport IA
Lauded by the Orlando Sentinel as "a magical time" and "an utterly charming, topnotch production," the touring entertainment Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical is set to delight Quad Citiians right before Christmas, its December 23 staging at Davenport's Adler Theatre treating family crowds to a live version of the beloved stop-motion-animated television special that has charmed audiences for generations.
In 1964, the hour-long television classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer made its network television debut, and this timeless tale has subsequently been delighting audiences across the country for almost 60 years. Its story tells the tale of a young Rudolph, who, because of the appearance of his bright, shining nose, is excluded from the reindeer games. He flees Christmas town and meets up with new friends Hermey the Elf and Yukon Cornelius, and after finding the Island of Misfit Toys, the young reindeer journeys home. But with a snowstorm of epic proportions threatening Christmas, Rudolph has to summon his courage, rescue his family and friends, and help Santa save the holiday.
As with A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the stop-motion-animated Rudolph no longer airs just once annually but several times during the Christmas and holiday season. It has been telecast every year since 1964, making it the longest continuously running Christmas TV special in the United States. The 50th anniversary of the television special was marked with a series of postage stamps featuring Rudolph issued by the United States Postal Service in November of 2014. A special exhibit was also mounted at the Masterworks Museum in Bermuda, where the original puppets are housed.
With the stage version of the much-loved yuletide treat praised by the Chicago Daily Herald as "a gleeful musical take on the holiday favorite," the show's producing partner Jonathan Flom says, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical is a tree-mendous way to experience this family tradition and stays true to the iconic television special." Projections, costumes, and characters are faithfully brought to the stage against a backdrop of nostalgic set designs, including a jay-dropping 12-foot tall Abominable Snow Monster, while the professional cast brings high energy to classic songs and dialogue.
Irresistible and loveable puppets, meanwhile, highlight the charming roughness from the television show’s stop-motion effects. Flom says, “The familiar story elements from the television special are addressed with a talented cast and puppeteers who help recreate the magic on stage. Since the special itself is a classic musical, the stage show does not feel at all like an adaptation, and audiences are surprised and delighted when they see performances of songs such as 'Fame & Fortune' and 'Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree' that are heard but not performed in the TV special."
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer makes its touring stop in Davenport on December 23, admission to the 7 p.m. show is $35-65, and tickets are available by calling (800)745-3000 and visiting AdlerTheatre.com.