Not Another Christmas Letter! Isn’t Your Typical Holiday Musical
By: Ellis Nassour
The Nightmare Before Christmas isn’t just a movie. It’s what you get when you open your mailbox and find one of those long, drawn out Christmas letters, sometimes even from someone you like, that go into great detail about what has transpired in their lives – month by month by month by month.
So, even though the holiday season got off to an early start just before Halloween, ring them bells as things are getting really humbug crazy now. The perfect anecdote is Stomping Ground Theatre and Gwen Arment’s “holiday” gift to all the Scrooges out there: Not Another Christmas Letter! – by Laura Bergquist (music) and Paul Cozby (book, lyrics, additional music).
Performances run through December 20 at historic Metro Baptist Church (410 West 40th Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues – across from Port Authority Bus Terminal).
Cozby describes this anti-holiday romp as “an original musical comedy unfolding in a series of comic and, yes, actually, heartwarming vignettes. Four actors bring 46 characters to life, celebrating everything that drives us crazy about Christmas . . . and why we love it anyway.”
Bergquist music directed Allegiance, and Jane Eyre; Off Broadway’s Daddy Long Legs and Jane Austen’s: Emma, as well as Sense and Sensibility at Chicago Shakespeare and Old Globe.
Former journalist Cozby is communications director of production company Fellowship for Performing Arts. He was associate producer of Rooms: A Rock Romance (directed by Scott Schwartz) and worked with Bert Draesel and Nancy Leeds on The Dancing Princess, a musical based on Judith Gwyn Brown’s children’s book — a finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Center National Musical Theater Workshop.
The actors are Laura Darrell (Vineyard/Signature’s OCC-nominated Kid Victory [Outstanding New Off –Broadway Musical] by John Kander and Greg Pierce [co-starring with Karen Ziamba, Jeffry Denman, and Blake Zolfo]; Rob Richardson (Clinton; Jekyll and Hyde, revival; A Tale of Two Cities); Bret Shuford (Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour; Amazing Grace, Disney’s The Little Mermaid); and Catherine Walker (a Phoebe in the Tony-winning Best Musical, A Gentleman ‘s Guide to Love and Murder, the Ragtime revival, Mary Poppins).
Nick Demos is director/choreographer, with music direction by Brett Kristofferson.
Stomping Ground is a non-profit “creating a home away from home for the socially conscious – the creative artist who wants to make the world a better place, the writer whose work needs to be heard; and the individual who faces discrimination because of skin color, gender, sexual identity, economic status or religion.” Arment has segued from a musical stage career to teaching master classes and co-producing (including the Tony-nominated Come from Away).
Tickets for Not Another Christmas Letter! are $25 and available at www.StompingGroundNYC.com, where you’ll find performance schedules and more information.