Press Room

It Happened One Christmas

November 18, 2015
For: IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Sasha Patane
801-581-7222
sasha.patane@ptc.utah.edu

PIONEER THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS

It Happened One Christmas
Conceived by Karen Azenberg and Kenneth Jones

Salt Lake City – Pioneer Theatre Company presents the premiere musical event It Happened One Christmas, December 4 through December 19, 2015.

It Happened One Christmas takes place in an abandoned theatre in downtown Salt Lake City. We learn of a legend that says if Salt Lake City has snow on Christmas, it’s because of what happens in that theatre. They say that every Christmas Eve,the Ghosts of Past Shows reappear in the theatre for a midnight frolic, to celebrate the season and to urge Santa Claus to cover the world with snow. If Santa Claus approves of this show, the city gets some of that fabled white stuff. The evening will be comprised of traditional songs, with less traditional arrangements, musical theatre and pop favorites, dance, and spoken word segments.

Songs to be performed and set to all new choreography include such favorites as Joy to the World, Holly Jolly Christmas, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Let It Snow, Linus And Lucy from Charlie Brown’s Christmas and Santa Claus is Coming To Town. Remarking on the new show, Director Karen Azenberg says, “We’ll put a new spin on some of the old family favorites, and I promise we will give our audiences everything they’ve ever asked for in a holiday show.”

The principal cast, which draws from both Salt Lake and New York City includes equity actors
GINGER BESS, CARLETON BLUFORD, HOWARD KAYE, AMANDA ROSE, MAXIMILIAN SANGERMAN,and ERIC SANTAGATA.

Ginger Bess was last seen on the PTC stage as Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show this fall. Bess’ credits also include Fiddler on The Roof, Les Misérables, A Christmas Carol, Rent and Sunset Boulevard. Bess also received national recognition as the mezzo-soprano soloist in Berstein’s Mass with Utah Symphony. She is also a voice teacher at Weber State University and she has a Vintage Jazz band she tours the country.

Carleton Bluford’s past PTC credits include The Rocky Horror Show (Riff-Raff), In the Heights (Graffiti Pete), and the staged reading of Alabama Story (Joshua Moore). He has appeared in Plan-B’s Wallace, SLAM and The Third Crossing (nominated for three Arty Awards, Salt Lake City Weekly). Bluford is also a playwright.

Howard Kaye’s credits include Broadway’s Miss Saigon, and Off-Broadway credits include Silence! The Musical. He was last seen on the PTC stage in last season’s The Music Man and Peter and the Starcatcher.

Amanda Rose’s Broadway and National credits include Wicked (Nessarose), Dr. Dolittle starring Tommy Tune, Oklahoma! (Laurey).

Maximilian Sangerman makes his PTC debut with this production; his New York credits include God Lives in Glass, SPUN, a new rock musical and The Lightning Thief. Other theatre credits include The 12 (Denver Center of Performing Arts) Café Variations with Anne Bogart and the SITI Company, The Shakespearean Jazz Show.

Eric Santagata recently appeared in PTC’s The Rocky Horror Show as Brad Majors. Santagata Broadway credits include Bullets Over Broadway, The Apple Tree, Chaplin, and Happiness. He has also toured with The Boy Friend directed by Julie Andrews.

AEA actors in the ensemble cast include JESSICA BLAIR, JOEY DIPPEL, SAMANTHA GERSHMAN,KOURTNI LIND, ELYSE NIEDEREE, JP QUALTERS. Rounding out the ensemble cast is MICHELE BLAKE, ASHLEY GARNER CARLSON, JAMIE FUENTES, TANNER JAMES RAMPTON and FALLON SCHWURACK.

It Happened One Christmas also includes a children’s chorus comprised of ALYSSA BUCKNER, IVY DUNBAR, ZOE HEIDEN, AVA HOEKSTRA, MILA BELLE HOWELLS, JT O’REILLY, MATTHEW REES, ABIGAIL SCOTT, MAGGIE SCOTT and MASON SHANKS.

Artistic Director KAREN AZENBERG is the co-creator to the show,and also directs and choreographs. This marks Azenberg’s fourth season as Artistic Director at PTC. Last season she directed The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Rocky Horror Show, Alabama Story and The Music Man. In past seasons she has directed Something’s Afoot, A Few Good Men, Sweet Charity, A Christmas Carol-The Musical, Next to Normal (Regional Premiere), Rent, Miss Saigon, and she created the musical staging for the record-breaking 2007 production of Les Misérables. Originally from New York, her work there includes Lyrics and Lyricists (92nd St. Y), Blocks (a collaboration with Jonathan Larson), Prom Queens Unchained, and choreography for Richard Greenberg’s The Dazzle (Roundabout).

Co-creator KENNETH JONES is a playwright and lyricist. His play Alabama Story had its world premiere at Pioneer Theatre Company in 2015 following development in PTC’s 2014 Play-By-Play series. It will make its Florida premiere in April 2016 at Sarasota’s Florida Studio Theatre followed by its Midwest premiere at Peninsula Players Theatre in Wisconsin in August.

LENNY DANIEL associate directs and choreographs. Daniel has assisted Azenberg on such shows as The Rocky Horror Show (Concert), Sweet Charity, A Christmas Carol-The Musical (PTC), Mary Poppins, Peter Pan (Alabama Shakespeare), Brigadoon, Carousel (Troika & NYU), West Side Story (Virginia Opera) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (NYC workshop). He recently choreographed Spamalot at the Geva Theatre Center, directed and choreographed Mid-Life! The Crisis Musical at TexArts Theater, assistant directed The Wizard of Oz National Tour starring Mickey Rooney and Eartha Kitt, and assistant choreographed Gigi (Papermill Playhouse).

TOM GRIFFIN is the show’s musical director. Recent productions: Peter and The Starcatcher, Elf-The Musical and A Christmas Carol-The Musical at Pioneer Theatre Company. 13, The Musical; the West Coast and Los Angeles premieres of The Last Five Years, Sweet Charity, Sweeney Todd and The Music Man; the West Coast premiere of Spitfire Grill; Annie, West Side Story, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Bye Bye Birdie; the national tour of My Fair Lady for Theatre Of The Stars; and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s productions of Disney’s Mary Poppins, A Christmas Carol-The Musical, Peter Pan and A Christmas Memory. Awards: Broadway revival of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (Los Angeles premiere), Garland Award Best Musical Direction; and Side Show (Los Angeles premiere), Los Angeles Drama Critics Award Best Musical Direction.

Scenic design is by resident scenic artist GEORGE MAXWELL. Maxwell recently designed this season’s Fiddler on the Roof. Last season he designed Peter and the Starcatcher and The Music Man. His favorite PTC designs include Next to Normal, Rent, Sunset Boulevard, White Christmas, A Christmas Story, Chicago, Metamorphoses, Enchanted April, The Importance of Being Earnest, West Side Story, Proof, Peter Pan, Noises Off, Man of La Mancha, Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Foreigner, Miss Saigon and A Christmas Carol-The Musical. He was tapped by the Utah Opera Company to design The Coronation of Poppea and The Ballad of Baby Doe.

PTC’s resident costume designer K.L. ALBERTS designs costumes for this production. Past shows designed for PTC include Of Mice And Men and Proof, the comedies Private Lives and Scapino! He has also done many large scale musicals including Les Misérables (both PTC productions), The Producers, Elf-The Musical and last seasons The Music Man. Alberts also designed the world premieres of two PTC productions: Dumas’ Camille and Laughing Stock. For the University of Utah’s Babcock Theatre he designed On The Verge, Edward II and The School For Scandal among others. K.L. recently designed Beowulf, as well as Infantry Monologues and Shadows Of The Bakemono for Meat; Potato Theatre Company.

Lighting design is by guest artist KIRK BOOKMAN. Bookman’s New York credits include Charles Busch’s The Tribute Artist, The Divine Sister. Off-Broadway: What Then at the Ohio Theater, The Cook at Intar Theatre 53, Recent Tragic Events at Playwrights Horizons (starring Heather Graham). Broadway (National Actors Theatre): The Sunshine Boys (Jack Klugman and Tony Randall), The Gin Game (Julie Harris and Charles Durning), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Right You Are. Irish Repertory Company: Playboy of the Western World, Eclipsed, The Importance of Being Earnest and Major Barbara. Other New York: Mondo Drama, Havana is Waiting, Force Continuum (Atlantic Theater Company), My One Good Nerve (starring Ruby Dee), The Green Heart at Manhattan Theatre Club, The Shawl, Rude Entertainment, The Book of Liz (David and Amy Sedaris), Les MIZrahi (Isaac Mizrahi), Hope is the Thing with Feathers, As Thousands Cheer and June Moon.

Sound design is by JOSHUA C. HIGHT. Hair and makeup design is by PTC resident designer AMANDA FRENCH. French has worked for Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, the Utah Shakespeare Festival, the Utah Opera, Egyptian Theatre Company and the University of Texas at Austin. She is a contributing writer in the tenth edition of Stage Makeup by Corson, Glavan and Norcross, and her work can be seen in The Costume Technician’s Handbook by Ingham and Covey, and Wig Making and Styling: A Complete Guide for Theatre and Film by Ruskai and Lowery.

# # #
MEDIA PHOTO SHOOT: There will be a media photo shoot on Saturday, November 21, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. at Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 S. 1400 E., SLC. Please contact Sasha Patane at sasha.patane@ptc.utah.edu or 801-581-7222 to RSVP.

PHOTOS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD: High-resolution color photos of this production will be available for media use on the PTC website beginning Tuesday, November 24, 2015 after 3:00 p.m. Go directly to http://www.pioneertheatre.org/press-room/media-photos/

TV CAMERA FILMING: Filming a short segment of the production during Preview or Opening Night for press use can be arranged. Call 801-581-7222.

INTERVIEWS: Interviews with the cast and artistic staff are available. Call 801-581-7222.

PRESS TOURS: Tours of the set for the press are available. Call 801-581-6270.

WHO:
Pioneer Theatre Company

WHAT:
IT HAPPENED ONE CHRISTMAS
Conceived by Karen Azenberg and Kenneth Jones

WHEN:
December 4 through December 19, 2015

TIMES:
Mondays – Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday matinees, 2:00 p.m.
WHERE:
Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre
300 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City
PRICE:
$40 – $62 in advance and $5 more when purchased on the day of the show
Kids in grades K – 12 are half price on Mondays and Tuesdays
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT:
$5 off the cost of Main Floor and Loge seating for the first seven performances, when tickets are purchased on or before November 27.
MORE INFO:
Box Office: 801-581-6961
Open 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Mon – Fri
www.pioneertheatre.org
Company
Ginger Bess* Jessica Blair* Michelle Blake
Carleton Bluford* Ashley Gardner Carlson Lenny Daniel*
Joey Dippel* Jaime Fuentes Samantha Gershman*
Howard Kaye* Kourtni Lind* Elyse Niederee
JP Qualters* Tanner James Rampton Amanda Rose*
Maximilian Sangerman* Eric Santagata*
Fallon Schwurack

Children’s Company
Alyssa Buckner Ivy Dunbar Zoe Heiden Ava Hoekstra Mila Belle Howells
JT O’Reilly Matthew Rees Abigail Scott Maggie Scott Mason Shanks

ARTISTIC TEAM
Director/Choreographer Karen Azenberg
Co-writer Kenneth Jones
Associate Director/Choreographer Lenny Daniel
Musical Director Tom Griffin
Set Designer George Maxwell
Costume Designer K.L. Alberts
Lighting Designer Kirk Bookman
Sound Designer Joshua C. Hight
Hair and Makeup Designer Amanda French
AEA Stage Managers Mary P. Costello*, Tanya J. Searle *

Pioneer Theatre Company operates under an agreement between the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States. Pioneer Theatre Company, Utah’s only fully professional theatre, performs at Roy W. and Elizabeth E. Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, located on the University of Utah campus at 300 South and 1400 East in Salt Lake City, easily accessible by TRAX light rail. Free parking is also available and the theatre is equipped with an elevator, handicap parking, hearing assistance devices and other easy-access features.