Thursday, November 30, through Saturday, December 23
Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse, 1828 Third Avenue, Rock Island IL
With the show boasting, according to the Washington Post, “a momentum and ebullience worthy of the Pixar era,” playwright Ken Ludwig's family-comedy version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas enjoys a run of morning and afternoon performances at Rock Island's Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse, this holiday delight's November 30 through December 23 sure to demonstrate why the Post added, “You might think the show itself was a product of Santa’s workshop.”
As the familiar holiday poem tells it, "'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse." But wait! In Ludwig's family comedy, a mouse is indeed stirring – stirring cookie dough, that is. Amos Mouse and his human friend Emily are still anxious about the yuletide season, because for some reason, their names were last off Santa's "naughty" or "nice" lists last year and the jolly old elf skipped their house entirely. But an elf named Calliope arrives to tell the two that Santa's lists were in fact stolen, and she now needs to whisk Amos and Emily to the North Pole in an attempt to save Christmas. Described by MD Theatre Guide as "a grand Christmas adventure filled with schemes, confrontations, mistaken identities, bravery, and all things naughty and nice," this charming yuletide treat continues a run of sensational comic plays by two-time Tony Award nominee Ludwig, whose famed stage works include the Tony-winning Lend Me a Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo, The Game's Afoot, as well as theatrical takes on The Three Musketeers and Treasure Island.
Helming and set designing 'Twas the Night Before Christmas for Circa '21 is venue favorite Ashley Becher, whose additional directing credits at the theatre include Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Seussical, and the current holiday hit A Christmas Story: The Musical. Her husband Bobby Becher serves as music director and plays the roles of Uncle Brierly and Sir Guy of Gisborne, while additional members of the creative team include: production manager Jeremy Littlejohn; stage manager Kendall McKasson; costume designer Bradley Robert Jensen; and sound designer Emmett Boedeker.
Emily is portrayed by Rachel Winter, a member of Circa '21s performing wait staff of Bootleggers who has also appeared in the theatre's family shows Grace for President and Junie B.'s Essential Survival Guide to School, with 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' pair of Amoses – Amos Mouse and Amos of Kansas – played by Bruce Hall in his Circa '21 debut. The cast is completed by a pair of performers currently appearing in A Christmas Story: The Musical: Cara Chumbley, from the venue's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and Nathan Gallop, a co-star in this summer's Jersey Boys at the Timber Lake Playhouse.
'Twas the Night Before Christmas will be presented at the Rock Island dinner theatre from November 30 through December 23, with scheduled 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. show-only performances on Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and noon brunch performances on Sundays. Admission to the show-only productions is $10.50-12, the brunch shows are $20-25, and the special Girl/Boy Scout Day performance on December 2 is $11 per person. For more information and tickets, call (309)786-7733 extension 2 and visit Circa21.com.