BWW Previews: HOLIDAY MUSICAL MAGIC At The Laurie Beechman Theatre
Eugene Ebner is ready to celebrate! This entertainer devoted to cabaret work and to Christmas decided this year to do things up in style for the season, so he created HOLIDAY MUSICAL MAGIC, a Christmas concert to take place at The Laurie Beechman Theatre on December 4th at 7 pm. The idea and venue in place, he called his friends Natalie Douglas and Tim Cahill (they of MAC Award fame), Renee Katz, Sean Patrick Murtagh, and Hannah Jane Peterson and gave them the basic "I've got a barn, let's put on a show" pitch and Boom! he had a show. The team of Christmas Carolers will showcase classic favorites and hidden gems and get everyone ready for the Yuletide season. With Bryon Sommers musical directing and James Harder & John Cook providing music for this diverse group of singers, it promises to be a festive night, early enough in the season for people to want to celebrate, rather than later, when people have to focus on travel.
"I grew up loving televised holiday variety shows like Andy Willams. My goal is to create that type of magic and entertainment for all to enjoy during the holiday season. To share joy, love, and inspiration." ---Eugene Ebner
In the days leading up to the concert, I contacted the artists to ask them a bit about Christmas and Holiday Musical Magic.
Eugene, are you a tree up before Thanksgiving person or a tree up in December person?
EE. My husband and I like to put the tree up and decorate it the day before Thanksgiving.
Have you started listening to Christmas music yet?
EE. Yes, I love Christmas music. Been listening since the first week of November. Of course, when you're putting on a holiday show at the beginning of December, it gets you into the spirit a little earlier.
Sean Patrick, What is a holiday tradition from your childhood that you have carried into adulthood?
SPM: This is not something I limit to just Christmas, but my parents would host Christmas Breakfast and then Dinner. Our doors we open all day for family, friends and the neighborhood to stop in and celebrate. Everyone was welcome to celebrate with us, everyone had a home to come for the holidays. Living in NYC where a majority of the people I know are far from their family, as I am mine, I open my doors on the holidays, cook up a feast and everyone has a place at my table. My parents were really good at demonstrating how to live the holidays all year long.
What is the most memorable Christmas gift you ever gave?
SPM: A few years, my little niece Staci wanted a Lemon Meringue doll for Christmas. I begged my sister-in-law not to tell anyone, so I could get it for her. This little girl ignored because I was not Tio Andrew, her favorite uncle...not so much as a hug. But that Christmas when she opened her gift she flung her arms around me and said she loved me for the first time.
The Murtagh Boys
Tim, whose is your favorite version of Ebenezer Scrooge?
TC: My favorite version of Ebenezer Scrooge is Vanessa Williams as Ebony Scrooge in "A Diva's Christmas Carol!" Is there any other version?!
What does Christmas Eve look like at your house?
TC: Christmas Eve is a special evening spent with all my relatives at my Aunt's house in Dallas. I am from an Italian family, so we spend the entire night eating, being loud, exchanging presents, and playing Bingo!
Baby Tim Cahill
Renee, what is your earliest lovely Christmas memory?
RK: Well, I am raised Jewish, but as you can see, I get to celebrate the holidays with many of my friends of all different religions. My mother was a godmother to the youngest child sitting under the tree of that picture, so every year, we got to partake in the festivities which I loved. As you can see I was given the present of a very large top, which I loved. A simple toy, given with love, in a simpler time. That day we played Red Light, Green Light 123, Statue, Hopscotch, and knock hockey! Anybody remember those games? Well, they were lots of fun! With my own family, we made latkes or potato pancakes by hand. They come out the best that way! And played dreidel with peanuts and coins. Some of the coins or gelht as it is called were chocolate! The holidays were always special, because my Dad got to take a break from working so hard, and spent time with my mom, brother and I.
What Christmas movie are you planning on seeing this year?
RK: I am going to see Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood with Tom Hanks because I adore his work, and because I loved this show growing up, it was magical, so creative and validated every thought I had growing up with positive energy. It was full of non-judgmental attitudes towards life, that development of mind and skills were on our own timelines, not based on society!s timelines- it was your own process and it was OK. It represents hope for tolerance and a brighter cohesive future. Just made you feel just right. And so that's my Christmas holiday wish for us all.
Renee Katz Family Christmas
Bryon, what was your favorite Christmas movie or TV special growing up and do you still watch it every year?
BS: I love It's a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed!
What makes the Christmas show on December 4th a must-see for holiday going out?
BS: I think the blend of old favorites and standards, but then knowing the music that's going to be in it -- I love some of the newer songs and the originals. The closer is my original song that New York One used as the closing of their broadcast back in 2003. I was originally written after 9/11. The words today are just as poignant as they were when they were written back in 2001.
Bryon Sommers and friends at Toys For Tots.
Hannah Jane, how old were you when you started to do all your Christmas shopping yourself?
HJP: This is actually the first year I have been able to do my Christmas shopping by myself. I have always had to ask for helping picking out gifts or paying for gifts, but this year I have been able to pick out and buy gifts myself for my family and that is really cool!
What is your favorite Christmas Carol and what is your favorite Christmas song?
HJP: First off, I LOVE CHRISTMAS! I am one of those people who starts listening to Christmas music right after Halloween, and sometimes I will even put it on during the year when I need a quick pick me up! My two favorite Christmas carols by far are Bing Crosby's version of White Christmas and Elvis Presley's Blue Christmas. White Christmas was one of my Nana's favorite Christmas movies and she showed it to me as a little girl and I fell in love. My nana also really loved her some Elvis and that definitely got passed down too. My favorite Christmas song at the moment is Michael Bublé's version of Holly Jolly Christmas!
Hannah Jane and friend.
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