Plenty of theaters across the region host annual productions of “A Christmas Carol.” And come December, we can usually expect to see more than a few presentations of “The Nutcracker” and other holiday-themed fare. But the Lancaster Opera House, the storied performance space on a quaint stretch of Central Avenue in Lancaster, has been working on its own tradition.
For the eighth year running, the opera house (21 Central Ave.,) will present a musical version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” tonight through Sunday. The show, which uses an adaptation by State University at Binghamton professor Kevin Oakes, will feature Adam Kluge as the reindeer and Kirkland Gilmer as Santa. Local theatergoers will remember Kluge from his well-received performances in the title role of MusicalFare Theatre’s “Oliver!” in 2011 and “The Music Man” this year.
David Bondrow, the artistic director of the opera house, is directing the show for the first time this year. He said the production contains a new song – co-written by local composers John Landis and Jay Wollin – that comes at a moment in the story when Rudolph’s four-legged friends are teasing him for his luminescent schnozz.
“We felt that moment could be musicalized with the spirit of Christmas, so Rudolph sings a song about how everybody is nice to each other around Christmas time and wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone was nice to each other all year long?” Bondrow said. “It’s just a beautiful moment.”
Tickets are $16 for adults and $13 for children, with performances at 7 tonight; 11 a.m., 2:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Call 683-1776 or visit www.lancopera.org.
– Colin Dabkowski