Let’s Get Ready to Jingle: Every Christmas Story Ever Told at the Cabaret
Sometimes relatives you haven’t seen in a while cram every story from the previous year into the precious time they have with you over Christmas dinner. Right? Well, Every Christmas Story Ever Told is sort of like this, but less annoying, more entertaining and nobody goes home hungry.
Not if Rick Robinson, Managing Director of the Oregon Cabaret Theater, has anything to do with it. He says that enjoying brunch or dinner with the holiday show provides a full immersion experience that will save people the hassle of: “getting to the show on time after dinner and parking in Ashland.”
Every Christmas Story Ever Told is a holiday hubaloo. A Kris Kringle catch-all. A mostly nice Nutcracker. And an elfin’ good time. When asked why Robinson chose such a comical romp through holiday traditions and Christmas classics for the Cabaret’s 33rd holiday season he says, “We have been hearing that the audience members wanted something fun and holiday-focused.” So, this year, Robinson and his wife, Artistic Director, picked one that is “energetic, hilarious, and wildly funny. It is not political or crude, and it is absolutely family-friendly.”
Originally written by Michael Carleton, James Fitzgerald and John K. Alvarez, the festive farce is about a fictional group of actors who do not want to perform Dicken’s A Christmas Carol yet again, but they do—sort of. Katie Beck, Steven Kline, Eliese Moore and Musical Director from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Darcy Danielson, are on stage for the Oregon Cabaret’s production sharing seasonal festivities and traditions.
For those that have never been to the Oregon Cabaret, Robinson explains what makes the venue so unique:
Well, nobody gets Scrooged. There is live pre-show music and entertainment before every performance. So, from the moment you enter the theater, you are having a real-time experience and not having to speed through dinner elsewhere means a more pleasant one. Also, “every seat in the house is good putting you right on top of the action.” Since Robinson chooses intimate shows that are ideal for the setting and encourage audience involvement, being part of the show is likely.
For Die-Hard theatre-goers, all the performers are hired instead of volunteers, so professionalism and artistic expression prevail. And, you can book a table specifically for family and friends to establish a tradition, which Robinson explains many attendees do. In fact, the holiday show is mostly locals or those who return year after year from out of town.
Ticket holders get more than Peanuts and fruitcake too. The food is themed around the show’s setting or origin. For past performances of Picasso, there were French dishes. For Every Christmas Story Ever Told, comfort foods rule like: Feather Blade Beef with Mash and Bacon-Cabbage. Head chef, Chris McSevney, also offers roast turkey or a salmon fillet. But it is the famous Dick Hay pie that is the most requested, sought-after desert. Layered ice cream, peanut butter filling, chocolate ganache, and a chocolate cookie crust make this treat a showstopper. Richard Hay who has been involved with theater for over 50 years, and an integral part of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, deserves to be honored for more than pie, states Robinson. But eating Dick Hay Pie is still fun.
Overall, it is a Wonderful Life—or experience rather—to support local theater, enjoy a variety of culinary delights and avoid getting your Red-Nose bent out of shape with holiday prepping. It may seem easier to be a Grinch than gracious at this time of year, but theatrical holiday entertainment might have you caroling in no time.
Every Christmas Story Ever Told
1 and 8 pm, through December 31
Oregon Cabaret Theatre, 241 Hargadine Street, Ashland
$25 – $39