Just in case you missed “A Christmas Carol” at Meadow Brook, “It’s A Wonderful Life” at the Avon Players, or any of the perennial holiday TV favorites, you can still catch every one of them (or part of all of them) in the Two Muses Theatre production of “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!).” This play, written by Michael Carleton, Jim FitzGerald and John K. Alvarez, is a marathon mash-up of all the beloved Christmas classics, which takes it beyond mere theatre and into the more rigorous realm of contact sports with a festive theme.
Of course, all of our childhood companions are there – Rudolf, Frosty, Charlie Brown, The Grinch, Clarence (the Angel who saves Jimmy Stewart ), and all of Dickens’ ghosts. Throw in some Nutcracker tutus, a dash of irony courtesy of O. Henry, sprinkle with timely references to pop culture – and then shake it like your favorite holiday snow globe. Allow 90 minutes of running time and, voila, that’s the show. Of course, due to its compressed nature, you’ll never know which characters will pop up when – or which of the three hard-working, energetic actors will play which roles.
And that’s what makes this show so much fun.
Directed by Two Muses co-founder Diane Hill (who also created the sound design) this rowdy romp with the Ghost of Christmas Stories Past stars Nancy Cooper of Farmington, Jonathan Jones of Detroit and Pete Podolski of Detroit as every cultural Christmas icon you can think of. The show is graced with a lovely Victorian set design by Bill Mandt, cleverly lit by Lucy Meyo.
The show’s pacing is full-throttle and non-stop; by the last scene, the cast is performing bits of “A Christmas Carol” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the same time. If you are familiar with these two shows, you’ll be surprised at how well the dialogue meshes. And if you’re among the many adults who watched all of these shows over and over as kids, it’s almost embarrassing how much fun you’ll have watching the old “chestnuts” pop, pop, pop.
The show opened December 6 and runs through December 22, which means you have only one more weekend to see it – Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m. and Sunday evening at 6 p.m. So mark your calendars now, and plan to get to the Barnes & Nobel early, do some Christmas shopping, and then reward yourself with this funny, funny celebration of Christmas clichés. You’ll be glad you did.
And note that, while “Every Christmas Story” is aimed at adults who refuse to grow up, Two Muses is also running a second show for genuine children – “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” This show will take place on next Saturday and Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. Both Two Muses Theatre shows are performed in the 150-seat theater inside the Barnes & Noble Booksellers, located at 6800 Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield (south of Maple). Individual tickets range from $10 to $25 with savings for groups, seniors and students, along with a discounted family four pack for ‘"Twas the Night Before Christmas." There is ample free parking and handicap accessibility. For tickets and information, please call 248-850-9919 or visit the Two Muse website.