Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Looking Back on the 2011 Holiday Dinner Theater Show, Dec. 2nd  and 3rd

The three sold-out performances of the Harmonizer’s 2011 Holiday Show were each fantastic.  Great music. Good food. Enthusiastic audience. Holiday warmth.  Lots of laughter.

Shows were Friday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, Dec. 2 at 12:30 and 6 pm at First Baptist Church on King Street in Alexandria.  The chorus wore toy or elf outfits again, and Jack-in-the-Box, (Terry Reynolds) was back again. He shared the spotlights with Jingle, the Marketing Elf (Ken White), and Miss Fanny Bright, Jingle’s assistant (Amy Roots). Their lines helped explain the theme “Commercialization of Christmas.”

As usual the show managed to “fit” all of our holiday songs into the act. YeEd believes the script for the first two sets was developed by Scipio Garling and Josh Roots. The final set featured the chorus performance of several classical men’s choral pieces. There were several standing ovations during the weekend --- “Do You Hear What I Hear,” “Little Drummer Boy,” and “Hallelujah Chorus.”  Terry Reynolds organized the non-singing “monks” who did a flip-chart routine while the chorus sang “Hallelujah” and brought the house down.  The “monks” were applicants, FRIENDS and some chorus members.

The helicopter pilot managed to land his craft right at the feet of Director Joe!

The traditional audience sing of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” also was a fun time for the audience and our singing waiters. Some of our guys prepared suggested “responses” and had a list on the table, which added to the laughs. As usual, the chorus members served the lasagna meal and keep the customers glasses filled and delivered a platter of holiday cookies and treats. The serving went the best-ever. Fun to see “the ground crew” with green and red signal lites keep things flowing (Craig Kujawa). Phil Ashford coordinated the waiter sign ups. Thanks to the kitchen crew of Keith Jones, Gary Plaag and Bob Echman and the staff at the church. 

Beside the chorus songs, our new group, TBD, sang twice and won the audience.  Some quartets composed of members from the chorus also sang to help carry the theme of the show. Joe Cerutti and Scott Kahler produced a number of pre-recorded advertising messages and various members acted out the ads.  These were all really crowd pleasers including Tenor in a Can, The Used Reindeer Lot, Sleigh Grease, Elf Retirement Home.

Some surprises for the weekend:  (1) the number of kids in the audiences, (2) the success of the silent auction at each show, (3) how we turned the hall of the church into Santa’s workshop, (4) the amount of cookies people ate [thanks to the guys for bringing home-made cookies].

Santa and Mrs. Claus (Bruce and Ginny Minnick) were for sure a hit with the crowds.

The chapter used the show to help promote Singing Valentines too and collected emails in exchange for adding customer names to a drawing for a free Valentine.

Ian Poulin headed up the ticket sales.  Bob Mattes was producer.  YeEd suspects he will provide a comprehensive list of thank-yous later. The tech crew ran the show smoothly.  It was good to see Max Kieba and Dennis Ritchey back to help Scott Kahler and Mike Kelly.   Dixie Kennett was in charge of lighting.  Bert Phillips was back in town and came to the show Friday nite was put to work serving too! Actually, all weekend there were a lot of formerly active Harmonizers in the audience. Great to see them all!!

There was a good bit of work to haul in and set up for the show. The tech rehearsal was on Wednesday nite. Earlier that day a crew helped team leader, Bob Blair, set up risers and hauled a couple truck loads of holiday decorations to the church. Then a dress-rehearsal was Thursday nite with time to run thru the whole show, speaking parts and stage times. Friday more materials were hauled in like food and paper supplies for table setting.  Roger Day headed up a crew of about 15 guys, and several FRIENDS including  FRIENDS president, Sandy Stamps, who worked most of Friday to set the tables, decorate the stage, place all the colorful boxes guys had wrapped and brought to the church.

The FRIENDS group offered holiday merchandise for sale to the audience when they arrived.  Drew Fuller headed up the silent auction.

Director Joe was really pleased with the performances all weekend including the various soloists, actors, assistant directors, quartets and tech crew.

Also fun to see and meet so many family members and parents and co-workers of the chorus singers in the audience during the weekend.

Until next time – editorjack!

(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record of the great things going on with the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.)