The Hippo


Oct 22, 2019








Mark Morrison of Haverhill, Mass., Adam Young of Manchester, Rich Hurley of Manchester. Robert Dionne photo.

Every Christmas Story Ever Told

Where: Executive Court Banquet Facility, 1199 S. Mammoth Road, Manchester
When: Friday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 20, at 1:30 p.m.; 24-hour advance reservations required
Admission: $42 on Friday and Saturday, $38 on Sunday, includes dinner (Chicken Marsala, sauteed chicken with white wine sauce, served with chef’s choice of vegetable and starch; vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free options available with 48-hour notice, cash bar available)
Contact: 669-7469,

Every Christmas story
The Majestic presents them all in one play

By Kelly Sennott

For a more comprehensive look at the season’s most celebrated stories, the Majestic Theatre is presenting Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) by John K. Alvarez, Michael Carleton and James FitzGerald Dec. 18 through Dec. 20.

Theater CEO and Artistic Director Rob Dionne said the aim was to produce something festive but a little different from the traditional holiday repertoire. He’d also remembered the Majestic Theatre’s run of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) about 15 years ago, which audiences liked. Plus, the weekend available at the Executive Court Banquet Facility, where the company typically presents dinner theater shows, was the weekend before Christmas. Timing was perfect.
“We wanted to do something a little different,” Dionne said. “And it’s extremely fun and creative, the way the actors tell these stories.”
The piece, originally published in August 2007, is a play that’s kind of aware it’s a play. It starts out with three actors — Rich Hurley and Adam Young of Manchester, and Mark Morrison of Haverhill, Mass. — who perform as themselves, actors who want to put on a Christmas show. One wants to stick with tradition and present A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, but the others protest. In the end, they decide to just go for it and tell them all.
Classic holiday stories like It’s a Wonderful Life, A Charlie Brown Christmas and The Grinch — and OK, a little bit of A Christmas Carol — make appearances, as do international Christmas traditions and pop culture references. All are presented with a quirky twist.
Show director Kevin Barrett was prop shopping in the midst of his interview, looking for materials to make a gigantic pocket watch for the play’s brief version of The Gift of the Magi. (Being a three-man show, it means one actor — Hurley — has to wear a “ridiculously long” wig for this vignette.) For the watch, Barrett’s plan was to use a 30-inch wire wreath form to create a round structure to start with. Fabric and stenciled numbers might line the inside. 
Barrett was also buying paint for the play’s Charlie-in-the-Box from the Island of Misfit Toys, and for a giant Norelco Santa from the 1960s claymation commercials for close shaving. Large sets are fairly minimal, but before showtime, Barrett would also need to collect dozens of hats, wigs, beards, scarves, dresses and ugly sweaters.
Barrett chose the cast based on their ability to do comedy, and the show allows a bit of improv, a bit of flexibility, so company members can add their own personal touches. The play needed some updated pop culture references, anyway.
“Every rehearsal has been hilarious. It’s been a very easy job for me as a director because of the nature of the show,” Barrett said. 
Young said he was excited to finally play Scrooge.
“I’ve never gotten to play Scrooge in my life. But there’s a big twist to it. My Scrooge is different because I have to suddenly blend in the story of A Christmas Carol with all the others actors are throwing at me,” Young said. 
The play ends with a song, written by Dionne, called “The Most Famous Carols of All,” which contains more than 45 holiday song  titles and requires audience participation. Cast members will hand out lyrics, and they’ll sing the refrain while audience members will chip in with the chorus.

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