Review: RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER, JR. at Gettysburg Community Theatre

A Penguin Project Holiday Show

By: Dec. 04, 2023
Review: RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER, JR. at Gettysburg Community Theatre

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was first created by Robert L. May in his 1939 book, which was published by Montgomery Ward. The beloved reindeer, who went from misfit to hero because of his shiny red nose, has inspired songs, movies, and stage adaptations. One of the most well-known versions of Rudolph is the 1964 stop-motion television special, which is enjoyed by audiences of all ages year after year. Gettysburg Community Theatre’s Penguin Project brings this story to life in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jr. with music and lyrics by Johnny Marks, script adaptation by Robert Penola, arrangements by Timothy Splain, and orchestrations by William C. White, through December 17th. The Penguin Project, first established in 2004, is a national program that features young actors with disabilities, giving them the opportunity to express their creative side and take to the stage. This reviewer looks forward to seeing the Penguin Project show at Gettysburg Community Theatre every year. It is an experience unlike any other, seeing young actors with and without disabilities working together to share the joy of theatre with the audience.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jr. is directed by Chad-Alan Carr, with assistant director Kevin Foster and music director Carrie Conklin. The set, lighting, sound, costumes, and props (featuring work by designers Nicholas L. Ryan and Michael Connelly with scenic artists Joshii Naderi and Linda Toki, tech crew Chase Bowman, and stage managers Madison Melton and Maria Wolf) put the audience in the holiday spirit right from the start.

The cast of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jr. includes Samuel Albert (Sam), Dustin Miller (Santa Claus), Janna Scott (Mrs. Santa Claus), Trey Colassard (Donner), Andi Athanasakis (Mrs. Donner), Mikey Athanasakis (Rudolph), Olivia Hoffman (Boss Elf), Victoria Carver (Hermey), Lonnie Miller (Fireball and Reporter), Ella Scott (Clarice and Reporter), CJ Lair (Coach Comet), Kevin Foster (Clarice’s Father), Giada Langville (Yukon Cornelius and Reporter), Madison Melton (King Moonracer and The Bumble), Leah Watson (Charlie-in-the-Box and Reporter), Leah Spangler (Dolly and Reporter), Danny Burton (Cowboy), Cady Youker (Spotted Elephant), Devin Harry (Train), Michael Yamba (Train Helper), Alaythia Hoffman (Toy Soldier), Ruthanna Hoffman (Plane), Hannah Hoffman (Bumble Bee Fish), Hadley Petruzzelli (Reindeer 1), Thea Mathers (Reindeer 2), Sarah Sterling (Reindeer 3), Holden Petruzzelli (Reindeer 4) , Alexandre Millet (Reindeer Helper), Kalgin Kuhns (Elf 1), Nyelle Steinour (Elf 2), Ryan Latshaw (Elf 3), Bridget Latshaw (Elf 4), and Kira Spangler (Aviator Elf).

Every single actor on the stage at GCT puts their whole heart and soul into this production. This reviewer could write pages on this heartfelt performance but will just mention a few highlights. Dustin Miller and Janna Scott are a wonderful Santa and Mrs. Claus—audiences will love the care and concern on Scott’s face as she tries to get Santa to eat. Victoria Carver’s Hermey is delightful, and her scenes with Mikey Athanasakis as Rudolph and Giada Langville as Yukon Cornelius show great teamwork. Ella Scott is adorable as Clarice, and her lovely voice is showcased beautifully in “There’s Always Tomorrow”. The elves (Olivia Hoffman, Victoria Carver, Kalgin Kuhns, Nyelle Steinour, Ryan Latshaw, Bridget Latshaw, and Kira Spangler) bring so much energy and joy to the stage. Samuel Albert’s performance as Sam the snowman ties the show together and keeps the action moving.

This reviewer enjoyed seeing some new faces along with beloved veteran Penguin Project performers. Just like Rudolph’s nose, these actors shine brightly on stage, lifting the spirits of every single person in the audience. While most of the performances for this production are sold out, keep your eyes on Gettysburg Community Theatre’s facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GettysburgCommunityTheatre for announcements about available tickets, and make sure you get your tickets in advance for the next Penguin Project show, The Sound of Music, Jr. Information and tickets can be found at gettysburgcommunitytheatre.org.



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