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New Musical THE CHRISTMAS EXPRESS to Debut at Theater For The New City

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The show will run December 16-19

New Musical THE CHRISTMAS EXPRESS to Debut at Theater For The New City

A robot. A cowgirl. The Christmas compound where Santa and Mrs. Claus reside. Christmas Creek, a frontier town on the North Pole. An aging Santa and his rickety if renowned sleigh. An evil elf who has his own plans and a new, high-speed sleigh in Beta testing that runs on starlight, a sustainable version of the old-fashioned sleigh through the ages.

These are just some of the elements of The Christmas Express, a new musical presented by Crystal Field at Theater for the New City Dec. 16-19. Tickets to this special, limited run are $18/$15 for students and seniors

The Christmas Express, an entertaining and very welcome Louis and Lightsey musical with book by Claude Solnik, is a kind of Santa meets Star Wars sure to appeal to adults and children and the child in us all.

This contemporary Christmas musical follows Santa and life in the Christmas Compound. Two elves develop a sustainable sleigh that runs on starlight - amid the shadow of doubt over the existing sled and questions about the new sleight's ability to do the job.

Matthew Lightsey is director, lyricist and composer and John Paul Louis is musical director and composer while Claude Solnik is book writer. Melony Reyes is stage manager, Eugenia Rodriguez is choreographer, Everett Clark is costume designer and Mash Shugart is lighting designer.

A talented team of performers includes Bryan Douglas as DJ Christmas, Keron Medina as Neil, Hannah Jane as Sharon, John Paul Louis as Santa Claus, Katie Ploetz as Emma Claus, Jack O'Connor as Rennick, Ansi Rodriguez as Elvin, Jessi Bushman as Snowbot and a featured dancer, Britlyn Bonham as the tour guide with Yurina Kogami and Torre Randel as featured dancers.

"We wanted to do a contemporary Christmas show," said Lightsey. "Classic Christmas shows are done every year and that's great. 'The Christmas Express' is a fun, modern Christmas musical for the whole family with songs that range from rap to rock. We wanted to write a Christmas show for our generation."

The Christmas Express is a beautifully written collaboration between the composing team of Louis and Lightsey and Claude Solnik, playwright in residence at Theater for the New City. The show, very much in tune with the times, takes us to a world where people work all year to prepare for Christmas, delivering gifts at the speed of sound.

"Santa's sleigh is getting a little old, rusty and run down," Solnik said. "There's a question as to whether it will be able to make the rounds or break down like an old snow blower. Two mechanically-inclined elves decide to build a sustainable sled, but they have a hard time convincing Santa to try new technology."

The Christmas Express, with the tradition of the holiday itself at stake as new technology is tested, takes us into a world where Santa's sled is soon seen as a kind of spaceship with a touch of science fiction rather than simply magic.

It must sail through the sky each year, even as the reindeer themselves age and Santa nears retirement, to be replaced by the "next" Santa.

"I wrote songs that I thought fit the characters, the moments and the emotions of the show," Louis said. "It's an adventure, a love story with a touch of science fiction and still a holiday show. We want this to be a Christmas musical that you can see before the holiday, but that you might enjoy any time of year."

The Christmas Express, the name for the new sleigh, brings creative, imaginative characters to life a little bit a la The Wizard of Oz, such as Snowbot the robot (Jessi Bushman), a cowgirl (Britlyn Bonham) from Christmas Creek and elves who do a lot of the work in this winter wonderland where "Always Merry" is the motto.

"We wanted to write a great show with great music, so people experience the joy of a new musical," Lightsey said. "We're excited to have such a talented cast bring this story and this music to life. We don't just want people to have a happy holiday, we want them to have a chance to hear some new music and enjoy a great show with a great story."

The Christmas Express, Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., (9th-10th Sts.), Dec. 16-18 @ 8 p.m. & Dec. 19 @ 3 p.m. Tix. $18 adults, $15 srs. & children. More information & tickets can be purchased on their website, Theaterforthenewcity.net


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