Merry & bright: Local productions celebrate the holiday season in Nevada City
KNOW & GO
WHAT: LeGacy Presents “Scrooge”
WHERE: Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad Street, Nevada City
WHEN: Now through Sunday, Dec. 24
TICKETS: $20 in advance. Online at LeGacyPresents.com, in person at Harmony Books in Nevada City and The Bookseller in Grass Valley, by phone at 530-268-5419
Since 1989 Off Broadstreet has been Nevada City’s answer to the The Great White Way. Lovingly referred to as a dinner-less theatre (their menu offerings include dessert and drinks), Off Broadstreet has seen a variety of shows grace its intimate stage, all of which have been written by co-owners Jan Kopp and John Driscoll.
This holiday season the company is celebrating with their original production of “Heartland Holiday,” a musical comedy review that incorporates beloved tunes audiences will undoubtedly recognize.
The show tells the story of a small-town radio station whose staff hopes they can spread cheer and a message of unity through their Christmas Eve broadcast.
Scenes re-enacted during their broadcast recall such holiday traditions as “Christmas Dinner,” “Last Minute Gift Shopping” and the creation of that mysterious holiday treat, “The Christmas Surprise Loaf.”
The show is so popular, in fact, that each of its 14 showings is completely sold out. Driscoll confirmed that a waiting list is open for anyone hoping to catch the performance before its run ends on Dec. 23.
Patrons wishing to experience what Off Broadstreet owner Driscoll calls “outrageous, wonderful fun” will be pleased to learn that Off Broadstreet is gearing up for their 2018 season, which will begin in January with the original comedy “Who The Hell Is Holly Miller?”
The play tells the story of the underdog Holly Miller who keeps trying to become famous, and like “Heartland Holiday,” it features some of the most popular music from the last half of the twentieth century.
The overall lively feeling one has when attending an Off Broadstreet is no accident.
“It’s always uplifting and fun; that’s why we’re here!” said Driscoll. “We’ve had regular patrons for nearly 30 years; it’s like its own little society! People come in and feel good; [it’s] like we’re having a dinner party in our living room.”
Driscoll said there are many reasons to experience a night out at Off Broadstreet, during the holidays and beyond.
“It’s the whole experience: you go into an intimate setting,” he said. “We have cabaret seating; overall it’s an experience more than just going to see a show. It makes you feel good! Fun music, lots of laughter; it’s all about having fun!”
The story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts who visit him on Christmas Eve has been adapted in a myriad of ways, and LeGacy Presents’ version of the classic Dickens tale — aptly called “Scrooge” — is but one of them.
Taking over the historic Nevada Theatre for much of December, the show is directed by the company’s founder, Sue LeGate-Halford who says there are a number of factors that set their production apart from the others.
“This particular production is such a unique adaptation,” she said. “It’s all original music, with 12 original songs, but it’s still true to the story. It has all this wonderful music and costumes.”
LeGate-Halford continues, “It’s so sweet seeing a Christmas show in the Nevada Theatre; it lends itself to having a beautiful Victorian version of Scrooge. People are happy when they come in and even happier when they leave.”
Readers and audiences have been fascinated by “A Christmas Carol” since Dickens published the work for the first time in 1843. LeGate-Halford explains that at its heart, Scrooge is a tale of redemption.
“It’s never too late to turn things around,” she said. “In his later years, Scrooge is able to turn his life around and learn to love people.”
Audiences get a special glimpse into the production as the actors line up after each performance to greet attendees.
“They get to meet and see Scrooge, who really develops and redeems himself during the play,” LeGate-Halford said. “They get to talk to him afterward, and they’re able to meet the actors and have a great time … and feel like they are part of our family.”
LeGacy is enthusiastic that as many people as possible have access to their productions, even partnering with Big Brothers/Big Sisters to offer tickets to kids who may not otherwise have the opportunity to attend.
Their outreach extends to several local schools, whose students are invited in for a special matinee.
“We find a way to make it easier [for people] to see our shows,” LeGate-Halford said. “My goal is that anyone who wants to see it, can.”
LeGate-Halford is proud of her company, explaining that the hard work that goes into Scrooge is a labor of love.
Simply put, she said, “This is our gift to Nevada County.”
Scrooge will run through Christmas Eve.
Jennifer Nobles is a freelance writer for The Union and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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