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Lutcher upwraps 4 shows during Christmas season



By Ken Stickney


‘Round the Lutcher Theater, you’ll have to forgive the jingle bells, the Christmas carols, the decorated tree.

The holiday season has swooped in early on the Lutcher staff, who are anticipating the merry season by planning for four big performances, the last a concert, “Season of Peace, The Christmas Collection,” with Michael McDonald.

The holiday lineup of shows is an annual effort, marketing manager Marla Gilmore said Friday. “We are bringing shows from a variety of genres: One for family, one for escape, one for reflection and then we wrap it all up with the big star of the season.”

Here’s the holiday season lineup, for which individual tickets are now on sale:

  • “A Christmas Story, The Musical,” plays Nov. 19-20, bringing to life the 1940s story of Ralphie Parker as his family copes with the holidays. Based on the 1983 movie, an entertainment staple for family Christmases, it includes the Indiana youngster’s dogged pursuit of the perfect gift while surviving such challenges as the “triple dog dare” to lick a freezing flagpole. Gilmore said the story’s enduring popularity is due to the fact that it is “relatable” to families who know Christmas is ever joyous, though not always perfect.
  • Ten days later, “The Rock of Ages” passes through Orange for its 10th anniversary tour, which features the music of the 1980s as the legend, Stacee Jaxx, returns to the stage. Wanna “Know What Love is?” Wanna “Feel the Noise?” The single show plays at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29. Gilmore said the show provides a “post Black Friday” break for hard-charging shoppers.
  • The power of Christmas is played out at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 with “All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914.” Based on a true story, it recounts the holy respite provided when Allied and German soldiers laid down their arms during the first Christmas in the first World War, temporarily sharing food and drink, singing carols and burying each other’s dead. “It’s a beautiful story that makes you stop and think,” Gilmore said.
  • Michael McDonald, the Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers veteran, wraps up the holiday season with his 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18 show, “Season of Peace.” The singer, keyboardist and songwriter, whose career triumphs included five Grammys, will soon release his first album in 17 years, “Wide Open.”

“Our patrons and season ticket holders enjoy the holiday lineup of shows,” Gilmore said. The Lutcher hopes to lure additional public interest through this season and, with 1,400 theater seats, there is room for more.

The spirit of Christmas is as close as Monday, when the theater will begin hosting its Pajama & Blanket Drive to aid the Salvation Army of Orange. Donors can bring those items by the theater, 707 Main Ave., 8:30-4:30, through Nov. 20. Patrons attending “A Christmas Story, the Musical” can bring their donations to both shows.

“We’re putting up the Christmas tree,” Gilmore said Friday. “We are celebrating; we were playing Christmas music yesterday.”

More information is available at Lutcher.org, or call 409-886-5535.