Curtain in the air: Christmas musicals, plays fill local theaters | La Sentinelle – Local scene

David N. Dunkle for the Sentry

Screenwriter David Berenbaum hit a vacation home in 2003 when he created the screenplay for “Elf,” a fish-out-of-water comedy starring Will Ferrell that almost immediately took its place in the air. Christmas of American culture.

Nearly two decades later, “Elf” maintains a strong hold on the public imagination, airing multiple times each December with seasonal staples like “A Christmas Story”, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street” . This story, about a lost elf seeking his true origins in New York City, even widened its reach with a popular music production that is currently on stage at Allenberry Playhouse.

The musical, which runs through December 19 at the historic Monroe Township Theater near Boiling Springs, premiered on Broadway in 2010, with a score by Matthew Sklar (music) and Chad Beguelin (lyrics). The musical, adapted from Berenbaum’s original work by Bob Martin and Thomas Meehan, differs from the film in some ways, including the narration of Santa Claus rather than Papa Elf and a less Scrooge portrayal of Buddy’s real father, Walter. Hobbs.

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The musical, which follows the adventures of a life-sized elf named Buddy as he searches for his real father in New York City, has proven to be a lasting success for adults and children alike, even in the uncertain environment. and masked created by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Dustin LeBlanc, whose production company Keystone Theatrics is hosting shows in Allenberry.

“We’ve been full for the whole race for about two weeks now,” said LeBlanc. “Ha!”

LeBlanc believes the family “Elf” is here to stay.

“This multigenerational appeal is hard to find in a Christmas spectacle,” he said. “Even a standard like ‘A Christmas Carol’ doesn’t necessarily appeal to children. But ‘Elf’ has it all. The kids were very entertained and having a good laugh, but the book is also very smart and witty and has jokes and clips that adults will enjoy. He has this perfect formula.

Christmas productions

Speaking of “A Christmas Carol”, it’s still alive and well in the Midstate Theater.

Carlisle Theater’s Players on High will give a steampunk twist to Charles Dickens’ classic at the West High Street Theater from December 16-19.

After a year of downtime due to the pandemic, Open Stage also brought back a live-action version of the hauntingly popular Christmas Eve folk tale of a Victorian-era miser, once again putting the dreaded Nicholas Hughes in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. “A Christmas Carol” runs through December 23 at the Professional Theater in downtown Harrisburg. This new reimagining of the poignant story of Dickens’ redemption is adapted by Stuart and Rachel Landon of Open Stage.

“We missed to present ‘A Christmas Carol’ in person last season,” said production artistic director Stuart Landon. “The theater is fueled by the public-artist relationship. Our audience missed our artists. (This show) is the perfect opportunity to catch up with your favorite characters and get back to the theater.

Open Stage is unleashed at Christmas this year, with multiple shows and concerts.

This weekend, four people named Carol will sing about their feelings about the holiday season in a program called “Christmas is Canceled” (which may provide a clue to their general take on the subject). The Carolin ‘Carols will perform at 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with tickets at $ 11.

These two concerts will follow performances of another Christmas event, a solo comedy called “Who’s Holiday”, which will also be offered on Sunday, Wednesday and December 17, 18 and 22. The production stars Rachel Landon as Cindy Lou Who in an adults-only version of Dr. Seuss’ story on the Grinch.

Figgy Pudding, a jazz-rock fusion group featuring the musical talents of Anthony Pieruccini, Jeremy Blouch, Cory Paternoster and Mike Krall, will also be added to “Who’s Holiday”. These concerts, also priced at $ 11 per ticket, will start at 9:30 p.m. on December 22 and 23.

For more information on show times, tickets, and COVID-19 precautions, visit the Open Stage website at

Musical tour

The Hershey Theater is hosting another touring production of a Broadway hit later this month, when “The Prom” arrives for a week-long stay at the Derry Township Auditorium.

“The Prom,” set to open on December 28 and run through January 2 at the 1,900-seat theater, is a musical about Broadway stars who inject themselves into small town politics with results mixed. The show features music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, and a book by Beguelin and Bob Martin. Yes, it’s the same creative team behind “Elf the Musical”.

Ticket prices for “The Prom” range from $ 19 to $ 86.

The show is based on an actual event from 2010, when a prom in Mississippi was canceled by the school board rather than allowing a young lesbian couple to attend, one of them in a tuxedo. With the help of the courts and celebrities such as NSYNC’s Lance Bass, conductor Cat Cora and rock band Green Day, the ball finally took place, although most of the students attended another ball hosted by the parents in a secret place.

The show rewrites history a bit, including moving the location to a high school in Indiana and rearranging the timeline of certain events to create a more compelling ending than what happened in real life.

“The Prom” ran for just over 300 Broadway performances in 2018-19, and apparently did not recoup its $ 13.5 million investment. This national tour was supposed to start in February but was delayed by several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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