HO HO HUMBUG World Premiere Opens Tonight at Stark Naked Theatre

Stark Naked Theatre Company presents its first-ever holiday production with the world premiere of Ho Ho Humbug - a hilarious Christmas-themed comedy produced in association with Third Coast Creative. Certain to become an annual holiday tradition for Houston theatre go-ers, Ho Ho Humbug opens tonight, December 5th and runs through December 24th at Stark Naked's STUDIO 101. The play is recommended for audiences aged 13 and older.

A festive tale written by and starring New York City-based playwright and actor Scott Burkell, Ho Ho Humbug is directed by Philip Lehl and features a strong ensemble cast that includes Houston favorite Kim Tobin-Lehl and original music by award-winning composer Paul Loesel. Ho Ho Humbug is the semi-autobiographical story of a disillusioned and acerbic middle-aged New Yorker who unexpectedly finds himself dressed in a red velvet costume (with beard!) and awash in a sea of candy canes, artificial snow, and crying babies. Is this sardonic Santa capable of suppressing his contempt for the season long enough to collect a paycheck? Or could Macy's Santaland actually make a believer out of its resident cynic?

Commenting on Stark Naked Theatre's association with Houston's Third Coast Creative, director Philip Lehl noted that, "Stark Naked is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Third Coast Creative and bring Scott Burkell's words and life experiences to the stage. Ho Ho Humbug is an incredibly funny, entertaining, and ultimately heartwarming production that we believe will charm Houston audiences and remind us all of 'the reason for the season'."

Join Stark Naked Theatre Company for the world premiere of Houston's must-see holiday production-Scott Burkell's semi-autobiographical comedy, Ho Ho Humbug. Produced in association with Third Coast Creative and directed by Philip Lehl, Ho Ho Humbug stars Burkell and an ensemble cast featuring Susan Draper, Luis Galindo, Dayne Lathrop, Chelsea Stavis and Kim Tobin-Lehl, with original music by Paul Loesel. Ho Ho Humbug previews on December 4th, opens on December 5th and runs through December 24th, with performances held at Stark Naked's STUDIO 101, located at Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring Street, Houston, Texas, 77007. Regular show times are as follows: Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 3:00 pm and a special "Pay What You Can" performance scheduled on Monday, December 22nd at 7:30 pm. Additional holiday performances will be held on Tuesday, December 23rd at 7:30 pm and the run will conclude with a 3:00 pm matinee and a 7:30 pm evening show on Wednesday, December 24th.

Individual tickets (priced at $25 for adults, $19 for seniors and $12 for students) as well as $40 reserved Gold Seat tickets are available for all performances. Tickets can be purchased at www.starknakedtheatre.com or by phone at 832.866.6514. For more information on Ho Ho Humbug or Third Coast Creative, please visit their website at www.hohohumbug.com.

Cast and Creative Team of Ho Ho Humbug*:

Scott Burkell (Playwright/Lyricist & Actor) and Paul Loesel (Composer/Original Music & Arrangements). Burkell and Loesel's songs have been premiered by Kristin Chenoweth (Carnegie Hall), Rebecca Luker (The Kennedy Center, Symphony Space), Marin Mazzie (Lincoln Center), Jason Danieley (Joe's Pub), Stephanie J. Block (Birdland), Susan Egan, and Liz Callaway (Chicago Humanities Festival.) Together they have received the Jonathan Larson Award, and as a composer, Paul is the recipient of the 2010 Burton Lane Award. Recordings of their work appear on Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley's Opposite You, Stephanie J. Block's This Place I Know, and Rebecca Luker's Greenwich Time, and their debut album (Sorta) Love Songs (Sh-K-Boom Records). Their musical The Extraordinary Ordinary received a Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Grant, ASCAP and CAP21 workshops, and productions at the Philly Fringe Festival, Off-Broadway's Clurman Theatre, and Farmer's Alley Theatre (Kalamazoo, MI - Wilde Award nom.). Musical revues include Love Songs and Other Crap (MAC Award nom.) and Sorta Love Songs (Birdland). LMNOP, their new musical, received developmental productions at the University of Michigan and Goodspeed Musicals (Norma Terris Theatre). Next up, TUTS Underground in early Spring 2015. For production photos, video/audio clips, and sheet music, visit www.scottandpaul.com. As an actor, Scott has appeared in the Broadway and first national tour productions of Titanic. Originally from Michigan he has performed for multiple seasons at the Augusta Barn Theatre in Augusta and Farmers Alley Theatre in Kalamazoo. Productions at these theatres include Parade, Sweeney Todd, God of Carnage, The 39 Steps, Plaid Tidings, Greater Tuna, A Tuna Christmas, A Catered Affair, and Little Shop of Horrors to name a few. Scott also worked for several seasons at Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota where he was in productions of 3 Postcards, Prelude to a Kiss, The Robber Bridegroom, Execution of Justice, The Wonder Years, Blue Plate Special and No Way to Treat a Lady.

Philip Lehl (Director) is a Houston-based actor, director, and teacher. Co-Founder and co-Artistic Director of Stark Naked Theatre Company, Philip has appeared in the company's productions of The God Game, The Winter's Tale, Faith Healer, Macbeth, Dinner With Friends and Debt Collectors. As a director, Philip's productions include: Body Awareness (at Stark Naked Theatre), Almost, Maine and Reckless (with Brave Dog Theatre), Art (at Generations), Ferdinand the Bull (at Stages Repertory Theatre), On the Town (co-director, Bayou City Concert Musicals) and Debt Collectors (co-director, Stark Naked Theatre Company). On Broadway, Philip's acting credits include roles in Blood Brothers and The Kentucky Cycle, the Off-Broadway production of Hundreds of Hats as well as the first National Tour of Titanic, the Musical. Since arriving in Texas in 2001, Philip has been a mainstay of the Houston theatre scene, and his extensive list of credits includes: Oh, the Humanity, Yankee Tavern, I Am My Own Wife, Mr. Marmalade, Lady, Souvenir, Amy's View, The Pavilion, and Dirty Blonde with Stages Repertory Theatre; over thirty productions (and former resident company member) with the Alley Theatre, including: Clybourne Park, The Pillowman, The Farnsworth Invention, Eurydice, The Crucible, The Exonerated, Our Lady of 121st Street, The Mousetrap, Hamlet and The Invention of Love; Main Street Theatre's Arcadia; as well as King John, Romeo and Juliet, Love's Labours Lost, Julius Caesar, and Cymbeline with the Houston Shakespeare Festival. As a current member of the Classical Theatre Company's resident acting company, Philip has appeared in productions of Ghosts, The Tempest, Uncle Vanya, and The Merchant of Venice. With Theatre-Under-The-Stars (TUTS), Philip has appeared in A Wonderful Life, The Sound of Music, and one memorable performance as Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. Other productions include: Our Town, Bat Boy, and Spring Awakening with Generations; Turn of the Screw at Unity Theatre, as well as several productions with the Bayou City Concert Musicals (BCCM), including: On the Town, Fiorello, Assassins, and She Loves Me. Philip has worked with numerous regional theatres throughout the country, including: St. Louis Repertory, Cleveland Play House, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Missouri Repertory Theatre, McCarter Theatre, Portland Stage Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, The New Harmony Theatre and Weston Playhouse. Film and Television credits include Tripwire, The Nanny, Martial Law and Hollywood Off-Ramp. Philip graduated from the Drama Division of the Juilliard School and Drake University, and trained with the National Theatre Institute as well as the Moscow Art Theatre School.

Kim Tobin-Lehl (Actor) is co-Founder and co-Artistic Director of Stark Naked Theatre Company, and has appeared in the company's productions of The God Game, Faith Healer, Macbeth, All Girls, God of Carnage, Body Awareness, Dinner with Friends, and Debt Collectors. A Houston native, Kim studied acting and directing at the University of Houston and, in addition to appearing in numerous regional productions, she won the "Actress Excellence" award at the Texas College Play Festival for her portrayal of Sarah in Children of a Lesser God. After relocating to New York, Kim became an officer with the New Mercury Theatre Company, where (among other roles), she produced and starred (as Sally) in the 1995 revival of Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind. Kim later became the Artistic Director of the Blue Sphere East theatre company (the New York sister company to the acclaimed Blue Sphere Alliance theatre company based in Los Angeles). Her favorite Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway credits include: Talk to Me Like the Rain..., A Streetcar Named Desire, The Fifth of July, Fool for Love, Savage in Limbo, The Smell of the Crowd, Bed, Bawd & Beyond, Impassioned Embraces (Emotional Recall), Ctrl, Alt, Delete and Trust and most recently, the Barrow Group's production Short Stuff Two and their production of her original One Woman Show, Inside Out. Kim spent over three years in Los Angeles studying with Sandy Marshall and Larry Moss, and highlights of her LA theatre productions include: the world premiere of Children of Shame, The Interrogation, Masseur, Baby with the Bathwater, Check to Check, and The Foreigner. Kim's film credits include roles in The Big Lebowski, The Alarmist, and Sex Maniac, as well as the television series Sunset Beach. In addition to her extensive body of work, Kim is a highly sought-after acting teacher, and her studio (based on the teaching principles of Meisner, Adler and The Barrow Group) offers an array of courses (from beginner to advanced levels) in acting technique, improvisation, script analysis and scene study. More details about Kim's background and her current class offerings can be found at her studio website: www.kimtobinactingstudio.com.

Susan Draper (Actor). Susan's Houston credits include: MacBeth with Stark Naked Theatre; Reckless with Brave Dog Theatre; and Deathtrap, Laundry & Bourbon, Last Train to Nibroc, Turn of the Screw, and A Child's Christmas in Wales at Unity Theatre. Bayou City Concert Musicals: One Touch of Venus, On the Town, and Pal Joey. Stages: Panto Sleeping Beauty. Main Street Theatre: A Civil War Christmas, It's Only Life, and Tomfoolery. Texas Repertory Theater: Miss Firecracker Contest and Little Shop of Horrors. Susan earned her MA in Vocal Performance from the University of Houston in 2005.

Luis Galindo (Actor) is an ensemble member of the Independent Shakespeare Company (ISC) of Los Angeles, and a member of Company of Angels, also in LA. Previously an instructor of acting at the New York Film Academy (LA branch) and a guest artist/lecturer at Tulane University, Luis is currently an adjunct professor at Alvin Community College. Theatre roles with ISC include: Macbeth (Macbeth), Jaques (As You Like It), Oberon (Midsummer Night's Dream), King Ferdinand (Loves Labours Lost), Ghost/Player King/Gravedigger (Hamlet), Duke (Comedy of Errors, Two Gentlemen of Verona), Polixenes (The Winter's Tale), Lodovico (Othello), Don Pedro (Much Ado About Nothing), and Nym (Merry Wives of Windsor). With Company of Angels: Eme in BLU. NYC roles: Zelger (The Band's Visit) at Playwright's Horizons, Mckinley (Project Balagniga) with Ma-Yi Theatre Co, and Ed (Hush) at INTAR Theatre. Regional productions: Polixenes in Stark Naked's production of The Winter's Tale; Lord/Senator (Othello), Edwin (Our Lady of 121st St.), Boy (understudy) in The Play About the Baby - directed by Edward Albee, Parker/Harris (Gross Indecency), Merchant 1-2 (Comedy of Errors), and Wilkins (A Christmas Carol) - all at the Alley Theatre; with Stages Repertory Theatre: Henry (Failure: A Love Story) and Faustus (Wittenberg); with Hartford Stage: Zelger (The Band's Visit); with Montana Shakespeare Company: Kent (King Lear) and Angelo (Comedy of Errors); and with the Houston Shakespeare Festival: France (King Lear) and Valentine (Two Gentlemen of Verona). Television: Walker, TX Ranger and Blood Relatives. Film: Vagrant in The Carrier and El Jeffe in Crossies. Luis obtained his MFA from the University of Delaware's Professional Theatre Training Program, and is the author of a collection of poems called Electric Rats in a Neon Gutter: Poems, Songs and Stories.

Ho Ho Humbug also features Dayne Lathrop and Chelsea Stavis in their Stark Naked Theatre debuts.

* The world premiere of Ho Ho Humbug is produced in association with Third Coast Creative. Stark Naked Theatre Company productions are funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.

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