Wednesday, 04 November 2015 14:39

A Wind in the Willows Christmas in Rosebud opens November 6 at Rosebud Theatre

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Christmas has come early to Rosebud with this week's launch of A Wind in the Willows Christmas in Rosebud, Rosebud Theatre's final production of the 2015 season. 


Trees have been decorated, stockings have been hung, halls have been decked throughout the hamlet and the cast has donned their gay apparel as they prepare their yuletide carols for this wonderfully whimsical and enchanting evening of song and story.
A Wind in the Willows Christmas in Rosebud features the music of the incomparable John Rutter as sung through three fables written by David Grant and Rutter himself, and told by the iconic characters from Kenneth Grahame's novel The Wind In The Willows.
A wild and reckless car ride adventure ends on Christmas Eve, when Toad of Toad Hall arrives home just in time for Christmas Eve. The evening festivities take Badger, Ratty, Mole and their orchestra on a storytelling journey through fanciful tales of battles with reluctant dragons and of monks with their singing donkeys.
Director and Artistic Director of Rosebud Theatre, Morris Ertman, believes that this production will prove to be festive fun for the whole family. "There is such joy in John Rutter's music, and it has led to some pretty silly staging that will tickle everyone's funny bone," says Ertman. He also adds, "and then we arrive at the most beautiful expressions of Christmas through the music and staging, underlining our desire for family, peace in the world and the possibility of miraculous happenings. This show has it all - like a hand-made Christmas card in music and story."
Bill Hamm serves as Musical Director and pulls double duty as a member of the company.  Hamm comments on the significance of John Rutter, a British composer, conductor, editor, arranger and record producer, whose works are performed by choirs all over the world, and often performed for Royal functions in England. "Since my college days, I have enjoyed singing Rutter's music. It is much beloved, particularly by choral organizations, colleges and churches. It's instantly accessible to singer and listener, but has staying power as well. The songs carry both the feeling and the thoughts of the characters. The stories are filled with fantastical creatures who take us on quite a meaningful Christmas journey. "
Ertman goes on to say that "Rutter has put three traditional Christmas fables to music. A Wind in the Willows follows the story of Mr. Toad's misadventures, leading him on an eventful journey that brings him back home to Toad Hall on Christmas Eve. He discovers the value of friendship and the simplicity of home. But he doesn't want the evening to end, so the Willows characters tell the second of John Rutter's fables, The Reluctant Dragon, and the final fable, Brother Heinrich's Christmas.  The sentiment of this show is so sublime that it will settle a soulful Christmas into the spirits of all those who come to Rosebud to experience it."
The cast is led by Rosebud Theatre Resident Company stalwarts Hamm, David Snider (The Wizard of Oz, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe, Anne of Green Gables) Marie Russell (The Wizard of Oz, The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe, Anne of Green Gables) and Joel Stephanson(The Wizard of Oz, Chickens, Freud's Last Session). Stephanson, Russell, and Snider are excited about being back on stage together. "Marie and Joel and I had a great time in The Wizard of Oz and Marie and I have worked together so many times now. We click. There is a lot of excitement in the rehearsal hall, both from discovering the hilarious and whimsical characters in the three stories, and taking on the ensemble challenge to master such fantastic, harmonious music. We are having a ball, and I think the warmth and joy of the show will be memorable for our audiences during the holiday season."
The cast also features Rosebud School of the Arts graduates, Alix Cowman  Lauren de Graaf, and Natalie Gauthier. Current student, Kaitlyn Sloboda and newcomer to the Rosebud scene, Aaron Lau round out the cast. Lau's impressive credits include nine seasons at Vancouver's iconic Theatre Under the Stars stage, last seen in their production of Legally Blonde.
The creative team for the production includes costume designer Julia Campisi (The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe), and lighting designer, Ami Farrow (The Miracle Worker). Deanne Bertsch (Anne of Green Gables, The Wizard of Oz, The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe) is the choreographer.
"There is nothing like Christmas In Rosebud opines Rosebud Theatre Managing Director, Mark Lewandowki. "Come and experience one of the best winter wonderlands in Alberta. Come as you are - but don't expect to leave that way.
A Wind in the Willows Christmas  opens on November 6 and plays until December 19 on the Rosebud Opera House Stage. Adult tickets start at $75.45 including GST. Tickets include a buffet meal at the Rosebud Mercantile. Group rates available. To purchase tickets, please contact the Rosebud Theatre Box Office at 1-800-267-7553 or

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