Spreading holiday cheer, earlier and earlier each year | TheUnion.com

Spreading holiday cheer, earlier and earlier each year

The cast of "Frankie Tonini's Holiday Variety Show" at Off Broadstreet Theatre, from front left to Lyra Dominguez, Tony Lauria, Kris Stepanian, Jan Kopp and Nancy Keith.
Submitted photo |

For me it began Nov. 1. I was driving to work, changing stations on the radio, when I heard it. Christmas music.

I hadn’t even put the Halloween decorations away yet, or thought about which side dishes I’ll be making for Thanksgiving, but there it was — the holiday marketing machine infringing on my favorite season, fall.

I accepted long ago that I must turn a blind eye to the abundance of Christmas in retail stores prior to Thanksgiving (which is difficult to do if you wait until the last minute and try to track down costumes at Kmart late on Halloween eve).

Even Mother Nature is against me this year, with temps so warm that beloved fall weather favorites such as the smell of pine trees in the cool mornings, pumpkin bread (or anything and everything baked with pumpkin) cooking in the oven and evenings spent warming up by the wood stove just don’t make sense.

But hey, if I can’t beat them, may as well join them. And what a better way to welcome the holiday season than an evening of music and laughter?

Off Broadstreet Theatre opened its holiday production last week, and as always, it promises to spread lots of cheer.

“Frankie Tonini’s Holiday Variety Show” stars Tony Lauria as an inept musical magician. His goal is to stage a holiday variety show that speaks to his vision that the “world is filled with beauty, mystery and love,” according to John Driscoll, owner of Off Broadstreet Theatre.

Mix in two negative assistants from a temp agency, Kris Stepanian and Lyra Dominguez, along with two dingy guardian angels, Jan Kopp and Nancy Keith, and another entertaining evening ensues.

“‘Frankie Tonini’s Holiday Variety Show’ is a mixture of improbable magic and mayhem with the guardian angels scrambling to make Frankie’s illusions work, while trying to change the attitudes of the stumbling block assistants,” according to Off Broadstreet.

Driscoll’s use of holiday songs such as “Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Santa Baby” and “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” combined with favorites such as “I Hear A Symphony,” “Where The Boys Are” and “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” can probably help anyone, including me, accept and ease into the holiday season.

And if not, just remember there is Festivus for the rest of us.

“Frankie Tonini’s Holiday Variety Show” is 8:15 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 21. Admission is $25.

To make reservations, call 530-265-8686.

Features Editor Brett Bentley can be reached at bbentley@theunion.com or by calling 530-477-4219.

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