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Photos: THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER Celebrates Opening at Mercury Theater

THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER sails for its fifth year at Mercury Theater Chicago, running now through December 27, 2015. Jeff Award winner Stef Tovar takes the helm as the Schooner's captain, alongside Brianna Borger as the Captain's wife Alma Stossel. BroadwayWorld has photos from the show's opening festivities below!

The whole family will enjoy this heart-warming musical story of the first Christmas tree ship and the family who risked their lives to fill Chicago with the Christmas spirit. The production features a powerful, moving story, an exquisite score of original music and traditional holiday favorites, and a company of 25 actors and musicians and is helmed by the Jeff-award winning team of L. Walter Stearns (Director), Eugene Dizon (Musical Director) and Brenda Didier (Choreographer).

The shipwreck of the Rouse Simmons, known as 'The Christmas Tree Ship,' served as inspiration for THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER. Her captain and crew risked the notoriously violent winter lake to bring Christmas trees from Michigan's Upper Peninsula to Chicago's German immigrants. Each year, Captain Herman Schuenemann would sell trees right off of the ship at the Clark Street Docks, and was known to give free trees to the needy. On November 23 1912, the ship was swept up in a terrible storm. It was not until 59 years later that she was discovered, lying in 170 feet of water. Today the Rouse Simmons and her cargo of 5,500 well stacked trees remain preserved in the cold, fresh waters of Lake Michigan and her legend has grown to mythical proportions. The Blaine Nickelodeon - the silent film theater that now houses the Mercury - opened that very same year.

THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER has entertained audiences in hundreds of productions including a twelve year run at Chicago's Bailiwick Repertory Theatre. A timely and uplifting tale of love, THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER is a poignant ode to the rich legacy of Chicago and a reminder of our responsibility to celebrate the living while honoring our heritage. In 2011, Mercury Theater Chicago revived THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER with a full orchestra and an all-star cast, garnering a "Best Production" nomination for the 2012 Jeff Awards.

THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER is written by John Reeger (book) and Julie Shannon (music and lyrics) and will be brought new life by cast members Jeff Award winner Stef Tovar as "Peter Stossel," Brianna Borger as "Alma Stossel," andJames Wilson Sherman as "Gustav Stossel." Rounding out the crew on this year's schooner voyage are Kelly Anne Clark, Autumn Hlava, Tova Love Kaplan, Christian Libonati, Elizabeth Lanza, Matthew W. Miles, Leah Morrow, Peyton Owen, Michael Pacas, Eric Parker, James Rank and Daniel Smeriglio. The scenic design is by Jacqueline and Richard Penrod, with costume design by Carol Blanchard, lighting design by Jason Epperson and sound design byMike Ross.

Individual tickets range from $25-$69, and are available online at www.MercuryTheaterChicago.com, over the phone at 773.325.1700, or in person at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago.

Photo Credit: Time Stops Photography

Photos: THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER Celebrates Opening at Mercury Theater
Autumn Hlava (Lilli Mae), Peyton Owen (Karl), Tova Love Kaplan (Marie Claire)

Photos: THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER Celebrates Opening at Mercury Theater
The cast of THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER

Photos: THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER Celebrates Opening at Mercury Theater
Brianna Borger (Alma) and Peyton Owen (Karl)

Photos: THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER Celebrates Opening at Mercury Theater
Christian Libonati (Karl) & Peyton Owen (Young Karl)

Photos: THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER Celebrates Opening at Mercury Theater
Kids of the present and past


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