A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS CAROL Plays Balagan Theatre, 12/10

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In 1996 James A. Rocco (Producing Artistic Director of Ordway Center for the Performing Arts) helmed the premiere of a “wake up and smell the coffee overhaul of a Dickens classic” (Oklahoma Gazette) at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma. A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS CAROL by Ron Kaehler (Executive Story Editor at Abrams/Gentile Entertainment for TV’s Van-Pires) and Albert Evans ( Pageant, Nite Club Confidential, 5th Avenue Theatre Artistic Associate) was immediately snapped up by Dramatic Publishing and Walter Bobbie presented it in New York for the Broadway USA Series of Great New American Musicals. Since then, the show has enjoyed radio productions, school productions, as well as full scale productions around the US. This year a major resurgence of interest has begun—with 10 productions planned, the show is once again proving to be “ideal family holiday fare, hilarious and genuinely moving.” (Canton Theater News)

The show takes this beloved story out of Victorian England and plops it smack down in America’s heartland — a little place called Marley County, where folks don’t have a whole lot but everybody’s doing what they can to make the Christmas holiday crackle. Except for one miserly old coot who somehow misses the whole point…

Dusted off and gussied up with a fantastic country-western score bursting with “songs that get the toes tapping or touch the heart.” (Sarasota Herald-Tribune) A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS CAROL introduces us to Bobbie Jo Cratchit, a young widow who sings like Patsy Cline and lives in a trailer community with her two small children. She also works at the bank for a certain Eb Scrooge, and therein lies our tale of redemption and reunion, community and family — filled with a feisty bunch of characters who deal head-on with life’s joys and heartaches.

You can find out more about A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS CAROL and hear a song sampler at www.acountrychristmascarol.com. Perhaps a production is happening in your city. Mainstreet Musicals, the brainchild of Timothy Jerome (CATS, and countless Broadway shows) is sponsoring readings in Cleveland, Bowling Green/Toledo, St. Louis, Dallas, Seattle and Montreal.

And in Seattle, Seattle Equity Actors, Mainstreet Musicals and the Balagan Theatre are presenting a concert performance of A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS CAROL on December 10th, at 7:30 PM BALAGAN THEATRE 1524, Harvard Avenue, Seattle, Washington (located in the Erickson Theatre, on the Seattle Central Community College campus on Capitol Hill).

It will star: SEAN GRIFFIN (The Seafarer), Kendra Kassebaum (Wicked, Leap of Faith), Bobbi Kotula, JARED Michael Brown, Jessica Skerritt, Keaton Whittaker (A Little Night Music), JOSH FEINSILVER, BOB DeDEA, ERIC HAGREEN, and Karen Skrinde with direction by Allen Fitzpatrick (Driving Miss Daisy, Memphis), MUSICAL DIRECTION BY Albert Evans (Pageant, Nite Club Confidential, Yankee Doodle), ASSOCIATE MUSIC DIRECTOR, CHRIS DiSTEFANO.

A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS CAROL is now available to community theaters, schools, churches and professional organizations across the globe. Amateur licensing is handled by Dramatic Publishing and Professional stage rights are controlled by www.acountrychristmascarol.com.

Albert Evans Mr. Evans wrote the music for the off-Broadway hit Pageant, chosen by TIME magazine as one of the Year's 10 Best. Other New York shows include The Texas Chainsaw Musical and the cult favorite Nite Club Confidential. As composer-in-residence at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse, he wrote lyrics for Mikado Inc. and music for Great Expectations, Jane Eyre and A Tale of Two Cities. Evans also wrote the lyrics for New York City Opera's new performing version of The Merry Widow, broadcast on Live from Lincoln Center (PBS). With writer Ron Kaehler, he reimagined a Christmas classic as the Dickens-goes-Nashville fantasy A Country Christmas Carol. Since 2000, he and Kaehler have adapted favorite children's stories for the traveling musical revue Story Salad. In 2003, New York Fringe Festival audiences heard his lyrics in composer Edmund Cionek's Tri-Sci-Fi. Evans reworked the song catalogue of George M. Cohan (and added a few songs Cohan forgot to write) for the stage musical biography Yankee Doodle Dandy. Recently, Evans and Jamie Rocco wrote the outrageous '70s revue Streakin'!, which premiered at Manhattan's Babalu Theater. Albert Evans is currently Artistic and Music Associate at The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle.

RON KAEHLER Mr. Kaehler’s career as a performer has encompassed theater, television, and the concert stage. He began his writing career as executive story editor at Abrams/Gentile Entertainment (NYC), where he wrote and developed many projects including the internationally syndicated television series Van-Pires. In addition to A Country Christmas Carol he collaborated with Albert Evans on six popular children’s musicals based on the “Amelia Bedelia” books by Peggy and HerMan Parrish, as well as stage adaptations of books by Maurice Sendak, Kevin Henkes, and Bernard Waber, among others. These toured the country under the auspices of Theatreworks USA. Other works for young audiences include I Feel Great! The Health & Nutrition Show for Sweet Youth Productions. Kaehler has written songs and specialty material for such noted Broadway performers as Bryan Batt, David Garrison, Eddie Korbich, Marin Mazzie, Jessica Molaskey, and Mary Testa. His other works for the stage include the supernatural thriller Poor Players and the operatic farce Under the Overture. He is a member of The Dramatists Guild and ASCAP.

JAMES ROCCO Mr. Rocco is Vice President of Programming and Producing Artistic Director at The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, in Saint Paul. At The Ordway he is responsible for producing, presenting and booking the Music Theater (1900 seats) and The McKnight Theatre (300 seats). He is a member of The Broadway League, SDC, AEA, ASCAP, Elephant Eye Theatricals, NAMT, Five Cent Productions and the IPN, where he has participated as a producing partner on Memphis, The Addams Family, Legally Blonde, The Color Purple, and others. He has produced, directed and/or choreographer around the world— Some of his credits include: Broadway: The Wizard of Oz (with Roseanne and Eartha Kitt), Off-Off-Broadway: Sweeney Todd; London: Doin’ What Comes Naturally; Japan: Galaxy Express 999 (also on TV and video); Regionally: Grey Gardens, Love, Janis (Ivey Award), The Melody Lingers On, She Loves Me, The Bad Seed, Crazy For You (Ovation Award Nominee), Superstar, Chess, Yankee Doodle (world premiere), White Christmas, Violet, Songs for a New World, What A Glorious Feeling (world premiere), As Bees In Honey Drown, A Little Night Music, Smokey Joe’s Café (multiple awards) Guys & Dolls (multiple awards), On The Town, Beehive, and many many more. With retired General John Brooks, he created the US Air Force extravaganza Born of A Dream, from conception to the Kodak Theatre in LA and later to DVD. At the age of 16, he produced and directed his first show in NYC (a revival of Bob Merrill’s Henry, Sweet Henry) at The Lambs Theatre.

He commissioned the musical A Country Christmas Carol and co-created the off-Broadway hits Nite Club Confidential & Streakin’! His re-visioned stage version of Singin’ in the Rain has been seen around the world. In a previous life he starred on Broadway as the Rum Tum Tugger in CATS and toured the US as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. He was a featured singer with Herbie Hancock & The Super Sounds and in 2012 his CD (It’s Between Us) hit the AC Top 40 for 20 weeks. His current holiday single (Cold Enough To Snow/Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) is available at CD Baby, Amazon, ITunes and all over the web. You can find out more at www.jamesrocco.com.

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