I had started working on the show last March with local composer Brian Myers. I worked on the script all summer, started casting in early fall, and last week we started in on rehearsals. Yep, this is like any other show at the Brumder, six rehearsals and then we go up. It's a quick turn around time, even quicker for a musical. Although, due to the professionalism and positive nature of the cast the fast schedule has been going off without a hitch.
This is the first show that I've written that isn't based off of an existing piece of work like a fairy tale or a literary source. Home for Christmas is still in the cannon of Reconstructing Grimm because it is meant to be a throw-back to old movie musicals of the 1940s and 50s.
Here's a brief synopsis of the show:
WWII has just ended; Herb and Birdie Wallace are overjoyed to have their sons, Fred and Howie, safe at home. To celebrate, the Wallace Family decides to resume their annual Christmas Party for the town. Howie Wallace's new wife Clara is excited to have her sister, Vera, join them for the party. Everyone is in the Christmas spirit... except for Fred. The war has left him a changed man, and to make matters worse Birdie and Clara have invited Fred's ex-fiancee, Trudy, over for the Holidays. No one knows what ended Fred and Trudy's engagement, but the Wallaces are determined to find out and hopefully get the pair back together again. Like any family get-together there is singing, laughter, a few misunderstandings, and a lot of heart. Join us here at the Brumder Mansion as we take you Home for Christmas.
I also thought it would be good to throw together a quick blog post to introduce you to the characters. With Sherlock Holmes there was an understanding of what you were seeing before you even walked into the door, here it's a little trickier. Consider this a visual guide that will give you a head start before you walk through the door.
Tom Marks as Pappy
Pappy is the patriarch of the Wallace Family. While Pappy loves and cares for his family his age has left him a little eccentric. More than half the time Pappy still believes himself to be in the Great War, and considers house guests to be the enemy. The family cares for Pappy and makes sure to humor him when they can.
Randall Anderson as Herb Wallace
Herb is a man who wants nothing more than to have a simple Christmas at home with his family for the first time since WWII ended. He just wants a simple night for his wife and kids and to give his traditional Christmas speech. Herb tries to maintain an even keel when the night starts to get out of hand, after all there is only so much a man can take.
Marcee Elst as Birdie Wallace
Birdie is Pappy's daughter and the apple of his eye. Birdie wants to expand her family with a few grandchildren, while she means well she does have the tendency to push a little too hard for her sons tastes. Birdie has a few surprises up her sleeve for the Wallace Family Christmas party, but while she's sure that mother knows best the rest of the family may need some convincing.
John Glowacki as Fred Wallace
Fred is the eldest son of Herb and Birdie Wallace. Fred is having a tough time readjusting to civilian life after the war. He is a talented composer and musician, but can't seem to get back on track or forget his old girlfriend Trudy. He would prefer to sit out on the holiday festivities, but at the insistence of his mother he reluctantly joins that party.
Mark Puchinsky as Howie Wallace
Howie is the younger of the two Wallace boys. Newly married to his high school sweet heart, Clara he is living the American dream. He has a new house, new dog, and a new job as a high school band director. This Christmas the only thing he wants it for his family to be happy and healthy, especially his older brother Fred.
Amanda J. Hull as Clara Wallace
Clara is Howie's new wife. She's sweet and cheerful most of the time. The Wallace's could've love her any more if she were their own. Clara and Birdie are also known to work together to "help" the boys whether they want their help or not. Even when Clara is under pressure she see's the glass as half full, and will force the rest of the room to see it that way as well.
Kelly Doherty as Vera Rieke
Vera is Clara's older sister is brassy and full of sass. She is fiercely protective of her sister and her best friend Trudy. Vera wants to have a good time this Christmas and is determined to find someone to sit with her underneath the mistletoe, even if she has to drag him there to do so.
Liz Shipe (ME!) as Trudy McClain
Trudy would like to have Fred back in her life in some way. She has also had a hard time adjusting to the end of the War. Trudy can't help but be a bit sad this year, even while Vera keeps pushing her to keep her chin up. Trudy is trying, but no matter what she tries she seems to stay in her holiday mope.
Nick Vanden Heuvel as Miles Harper
Miles Harper is an official of the city that finds himself accidentally at the Wallace Family Christmas party. Miles is a bit shy and awkward, but he is on the whole a good guy. He doesn't know if he should stay, however as he has no where else to be Miles sticks around for a drink or two.
There you go! A full character guide. Stay tuned this week as I give you more behind the scenes info on HOME FOR CHRISTMAS and our countdown to opening! Hope to see you all there!