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THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER to Bring Back Holiday Spirit to Mercury Theater Chicago

Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport Avenue - THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER will be sailing for its sixth year at Mercury Theater Chicago, from November 30 through December 31, 2016. Press opening is Sunday, December 4th at 3:00pm.

We're pleased to announce that Don Forston will perform as "Gustav Stossel"; a role that was played for the past 10 years by the late, great Jim Sherman. The whole family will enjoy this heartwarming 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 is helmed by the Jeff-award winning team of L. Walter Stearns (Director), Eugene Dizon (Musical Director) and Brenda Didier (Choreographer).

This production has become one of Chicago's great holiday traditions. Elated about this year's return voyage, Actress Brianna Borger explained that "Every time those men sing 'Hello, Chicago!' my heart swells with love for this city and how wonderful it is during the holiday season. It's a story that anyone can relate to; it is about love, devotion, family, promise, and the power of the holiday spirit." Captain Stef Tovar went on to say, "There are so many holiday theater options in Chicago, but this is the one story that is a Chicago story. That's why it's important we tell it--and why people should come see this heartwarming story about family and holiday traditions."

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," and Don Forston as "Gustav Stossel." Rounding out the crew on this year's schooner voyage are Kelly Anne Clark, Dan Gold, Cory Goodrich, Autumn Hlava, Tova Love Kaplan, Christian Libonati, Leah Morrow, Peyton Owen, Michael Pacas, 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 by Mike Ross.

The beautifully renovated Mercury Theater Chicago is an intimate jewel box of a theater in the heart of the Southport Corridor, a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques just steps from Wrigley Field. A delightful theater destination, Mercury Theater Chicago takes care of its guests from the moment they arrive with valet service and dining at its adjoining restaurant, Grassroots.

The performance schedule for THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER is Wednesdays at 8pm, Thursdays at 3pm and 8pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm and Sundays at 3pm. There are additional holiday performances on Sunday, December 18 at 8pm, Tuesday, December 20 at 8pm, Wednesday, December 23 at 3pm and Tuesday, December 27 at 8pm.

Individual tickets range from $30-$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.


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