EDMONTON — The comedy “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)” will open at Barn Lot Theater in Edmonton on Dec. 5, starring Gianni Lazuli, Wesley Waddle and Joshua Phelps.
This not the first time for the theater to present the play, which was written by Michael Carleton, James Fitzgerald and John K. Alvarez. Barn Lot did it for the first time 2012. Kyle Hadley ran the sound for the show back then.
“For the people who come and see, sound is a very important part of the show,” Hadley said. “It's such a hilarious show and actually, for the last couple of years we kept saying 'We really need to do it again.' When we wound up our season this year we just felt that the time was right and I said, 'Ok, let me direct it.'”
The show is a play within a play. It starts out with “A Christmas Carol,” and has only three actors playing all of the roles.
“Two minutes into the show they decide, 'You know what? We do this every year and I don't want to do it again.' They've been doing it for so long,” Hadley said.
A couple of the actors in the show are only doing the production for the insurance money, and one of the actors has been doing it for so long he started out portraying Tiny Tim and now he is playing the role of the Old Dead Guy.
“So they end up embarking on this wild, crazy, hodgepodge of every Christmas story imaginable,” Hadley said.
With three actors playing all of the roles, Hadley said it takes a small army of people to help with costume changes backstage.
“Most of our actors have over a dozen changes a piece, so it's kind of like one of the Tuna plays,” he said.
By “Tuna” he is referring to a series of plays by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard about people living in Tuna, Texas, which has been dubbed the third smallest Texas town in the play. “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some),” is like the Tuna plays in that there are a small number of characters playing all of the roles. The Tuna plays feature two actors, while “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)” has three actors.
“They start out in their 'A Christmas Carol' costumes and then we end up in to the Grinch and we have Frosty the Snowman and we end up with 'It's A Wonderful Life.' A lot of times they are playing the characters back and forth, so it's one costume change (and) literally one line and they throw another hat on and they are another character back and forth,” he said.
Waddle of Munfordville begins portraying the story teller in “A Christmas Carol” but goes on to play the Grinch, an elf, Santa Claus, Scrooge and George. This is the most number of characters he's ever portrayed in one show.
“It's been a ton of fun. The hardest part, especially the second act, I switch back and forth constantly and just getting the characters, lines and voices right, but it's a lot of fun,” he said.
Phelps of Edmonton is the only returning actor for the show. He appeared in the theater's 2012 production of it and played the role of Joshua then and is playing the same character again.
“It's been fantastic. Kyle is a great director. We've got a great assistant director and a great stage manager,” Phelps said. “It's different than it was the first time in a good way, and it's been really fun to work with these two. It's been really fun to do it again.”
Lazuli is rather new to Barn Lot, having recently moved into the area. He appeared in the theater's production of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” portraying Mr. Drysdale.
Chadwick Shockley of Glasgow is the assistant costumer / musician for the show. He has worked with Vivien Worthen-Powell, head costumer, in costuming the show and said several weeks ago a decision was made not to have piped-in music for the big finale of the show, but rather to have live music.
“The finale is a live piano with a vocalist and small choir. There is also some pre-show music that will be live with a vocalist,” he said.
Shockley has recorded music for Barn Lot productions in the past, but this will be the first time he will be performing live. He has been playing piano since he was 10, and professionally since he was a college student.
The show opens on Dec. 5 and will run for two weekends. For more information about the show, including reservations for tickets, call the theater at 270-432-2276 or visit www.barnlottheater.org.