New Musical FreeFall Brings The Holidays • St Pete Catalyst

“You know,” Matthew McGee said in a brainstorming meeting, “I could write a good Christmas show.”

Eric Davis – the creative patriarch of the freeFall Theater and McGee’s boss – threw in the gauntlet. “So do it,” he told his director of community outreach and marketing, “and let’s see what happens. “

From this light bulb moment comes The night before open today and until December 24. Inspired by (among many other things) freeFall’s 2018 multi-melody mashup The musical of musicals and last year’s bizarro production War of the Worlds, McGee came up with a Christmas musical that he said “it’s really like Pee-wee’s playhouse meets Christmas special Andy Williams. There is a lot of heat, but it’s also a bit wacky.

McGee’s partner in the delirium was FreeFall’s musical director Michael Raabe, who not only contributed to the screenplay but also wrote several new holiday songs and new arrangements of seasonal favorites.

The play brings together four friends for a holiday party. Because their schedules are so busy, the only day they were able to get together was December 23 (i.e., Christmas Eve).

It’s set in Raabe’s apartment in Florida, and it’s unusually cold and snowing outside (“because of climate change,” McGee laughs). Because they’re stuck, they perform holiday songs and have all kinds of comedic mishaps.

“The premise is thin, it’s not revolutionary,” McGee says, “but for some reason I thought people would like the idea of ​​a group of people getting together in Florida, and suddenly they find themselves invaded by snow.

“And we laugh at things, talk about local things and laugh at the snow in Florida. There’s all that kind of immediacy that’s a lot of fun.

Raabe’s co-stars are Hilary Lewis (Marie and Rosette), Sara Del Beato (Every Christmas story ever told) and FreeFall newcomer James David Larson. “We found this little group of weird people and made a show for them,” says McGee.

Two additional characters are played by puppets Pee wee theme). There is another resident of the snowy apartment – a cat named Stephen Sondheim.

The cast and director McGee were in full rehearsal when news of the legendary songwriter’s death broke last week.

“We had a lot of references to Sondheim being alive, and ‘isn’t it great that he’s still with us?’ Michael has this great parody song called “A Very Sondheim Christmas”.

“Now that has become a big tribute to him. We even have his picture framed on the piano. So it’s a love letter. We found a way to keep all the references but to make it a real one. tribute.

Traditionally, shows created in-house, from scratch, have been among the busiest at freeFall.

McGee says there’s a reason for this. Enthusiasm is contagious.

“Doing theater for as long as I’ve been doing it, I can say that when you enjoy the show and enjoy the process, the audience will feel the joy.

“We had such a great time putting it together. Everyone is smiling. Everybody laughs. And Eric said ‘I want a sequel to this.’ “

Tickets are here.

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