Missoula Community Theatre welcomes the holidays with one of the most beloved, nostalgic holiday tales ever: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer will be live, on stage Nov. 30-Dec. 17 for a three-week run at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts.
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer is a whimsical musical, based very closely on the 1964 Claymation television special, which for many generations is a must-see evening of television. The stage production brings to life the characters and imagery in a very creative way with life-sized puppets and inventive costuming.
Director Abigail Gilbert and Music Director Kelsey Seals (both veterans of Legally Blonde, Jr), and Choreographer Meagen Hensley-Shapiro (owner of Studio M) guide the 50 cast members, ages 10 to 60-plus. Along with Ariel Gregory (puppet consultant), they have extensive experience working with youth, which comes in handy with 32 children in the cast!
Gilbert gushes when talking about the show. “Rudolph is a holiday classic, and I’m excited that we’re bringing together a cast from all walks of life — stage veterans, people who have not been in a show for decades, and newcomers, “ she says.
There are also five individual families represented in the cast. “This is what community is all about — bringing people of all ages together for nostalgic holiday fun,” she adds.
The story is nostalgic for the director. “I remember being in my grandparent’s den, drinking hot chocolate and watching the TV special,” she says. “To bring that memory to life with a cast of all generations is so joyful.”
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen … sound familiar? But before he was the most famous reindeer of all, Rudolph was misunderstood and unpopular, due to his very unusual nose. It’s not easy being different but it can also be an amazing gift, as Sam the Snowman tells the tale of Rudolph’s journey from bullied to beloved.
Join Rudolph, along with the Misfit Toys, Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Elves, and classic characters like Clarice, Hermey, Yukon Cornelius, and King Moonracer on a journey to the North Pole. Life-sized, human-operated puppets and other surprises are in store for small children and their families to adults in need of a dose of joyful nostalgia.
This G-rated musical whisks along as fast as Santa’s sleigh in just 90 minutes, including intermission.
Gilbert credits the entire creative team with tackling huge expectations.“The owners of the script require that the stage production look as close to the Claymation special as possible,” she says. “You might think that’s easy, but how do you re-create a cartoon in real life? Audiences are going to be amazed at how our incredible design team has brought the Claymation to life!”
Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1-17, with a special premiere night Nov. 30. Tickets are on sale at www.MCTinc.org, or call 406-728-7529.