Fri 12/15 @ Sat 12/16
Sun 12/17 & Mon 12/18
Among all of the Christmas songs, there’s something different about “White Christmas.” Perhaps that’s why the 1942 Irving Berlin tune sung by Bing Crosby is referred to as the best-selling single ever with sales of more than 100 million copies worldwide.
The popular song is also the centerpiece of the Musical Theater Project’s 12th annual “A Christmas Cabaret” show taking place Fri 12/15 & Sat 12/16 at the Stocker Arts Center’s Cirigliano Studio Theatre in Elyria, as well as Sun 12/17 and Mon 12/18 at Nighttown in Cleveland Heights.
“It has an underlying sadness, a longing for things gone by,” said performer Nancy Maier, who is also associate artistic director of The Musical Theater Project. “It was very important to servicemen missing home during WWII. People can feel that.”
Overall, “A Christmas Cabaret” is an intimate holiday affair where audiences can celebrate the season through music and Yuletide cheer.
“People long for the experience of an old-fashioned Christmas and love hearing all those songs that were written for the holiday season and were so popular,” Maier said. “It brings them back to a simpler time and lifts their spirits.”
“A Christmas Cabaret” features a cast of Maier and The Musical Theater Project artistic director Bill Rudman, as well as singers Sandra Simon and Joe Monaghan.
The program includes a tour of Yuletide songs through the 20th century. While most are musical classics that first appeared on stage or in film musicals, Maier and company love nothing more than unearthing obscure Christmas tunes written by some of the best-known songwriters.
While the show features very little change from year to year, Maier said something new is a “lovely” Stephen Sondheim-written piece for Jule Styne that was cut from the Tony Award-nominated musical Gypsy.
“Who knew that Sondheim had ever written a Christmas song?” Maier said.
For those audiences who haven’t previously attended “A Christmas Cabaret,” Maier promised a loving and warm experience that unites everyone in goodwill.
“There are great arrangements and wonderful singers who truly share a lot of fun and silliness,” Maier said. “It’s a real kickoff to the holidays that puts a smile on your face and a song in your heart. The songs will bring back many wonderful memories of times in our American life, and people will also hear Christmas songs they’ve never heard before by some of our best writers.”
Maier added that the show fulfills The Musical Theater Project’s mission to foster a deep appreciation of the American musical — and the social and cultural history surrounding it — by creating programs that educate as well as entertain people of all ages.
Considering the current climate outside, Maier feels as though this year’s Musical Theater Project show takes on a different meaning.
“Our American people are more in need than ever of being reminded of what’s best about us — our basic goodness and the common threads in our shared history,” Maier said.