Breaking a decades long tradition and following Creative Director Christian Lebano vision of bringing American plays by American authors, A Little House Christmas opened to applause last night in Sierra Madre.
A little backstory about the play. We all know Laura Ingalls Wilder and her stores of growing up in the 1800;s in the big woods or out on the Prarie, It was even a TV show for many years which is how many of us learned of the books. The play is based on the book and was adapted to stage by James DeVita. The Little House Heritage House allows little deviation and creative license, That didn’t stop Directro Emily Chase from working with music curator Lindsey Stand-Polyak and music director Rebecca Lord from getting permission from the trust to incorporate period apporpriate music into the play. It works. It works really well. The songs, many of them “new” to this century are a marvelous addition to this simple themed play and adds real depth to the story. I loved it.
The play takes places in the 1870s on the prairie and spans the course of 1 week with a wicked storm that wreaks havoc on the Ingalls family Christmas. I won’t give any spoilers on how Christmas was saved, you need to watch the play to see the execution of the play and the heart warming ending. Suffice it to say, kindness to others previously brought about the happy ending for the Ingalls family.
The Ingalls family as portrayed by Hanna Victoria Stock, Valerie Lohman, Pamela Daly and Eric Charles Jorgensen doesn’t deviate from the books or TV Show. Added bonus to this is that “Pa Ingalls” in real life can play the fiddle and whips it out at appropriate times in the story to add some real life to this simple story line.
The Supporting cast each added their bits of humor and melodrama to the play. The most energetic and humorous was Jeff Doba who played Mr. Edwards. He is a neighbor that in the end saves the day and ensures the Ingalls family has their Christmas as planned in spite of never ending rain and floods.
Uncle Geogre played by Jim Harnagel is helped by Laura in ways unsuspected. He;s a talented acoustic guitar player that does a wonderful song with Laura as a solo singer.
Rounding up the cast was the original mean girl, Nellie Olsen played by Jolie Adamson andher mother Mrs Olsen played byAmy Tolsky. This loveable and despicable snobs did their roles well and outline the difference between city folks and the hardships of a cabin on the prairie. Finally cousins Nick played by Andrew Stock and Peter played by Fletcher Kamal rounded out the characters of Laura and Mary bringing some fun loving horseplay which Nellie recoiled from.
As I’ve come to expect the stage itself was a realy piece of art work. Beautiful carpentry and props added to the warmth of the play by creating a real setting for the characters to perform in.
I highly recommend this play for familes. Its totally safe for work, well executed and simple pleasurable evening.
Added bonus for those of you attending on weekend matinees there will be an open stage where you get to ask questions of the characters and production team.
From what I’ve been told several nights have sold out, but there are still ample tickets out there. The play runs through December 23. You can order tickets HERE. More about Sierra Madre Playhouse on their web site.
All pics provided by Sierra Madre Playhouse for news purposes.
As a bit of disclosure, my attending plays and writing reviews has given rise to the Sierra Madre Playhouse asking me to join their board. Something I’m honored to do and am actively pursuing.