While the name of the play may not indicate its a holiday tale, Theatre Macon Director Jim Crisp deliberately chose Meet Me In St. Louis for the holidays.
We have to do something really happy and I love this because of the sweetness of the story. Its about a family and it is openly and unabashedly nostalgic. It harks back to an era or eras in our past lives when things seemed a little simpler and easier and Christmas was about family and spending those times together, he said.
While most people may be familiar with the film, featuring Judy Garland, Crisp is certain that the story translates to the stage wonderfully.
This show is so lovely to do on stage. It features a family in St. Louis looking forward to the Worlds Fair next summer. Suddenly, the father announces that they will move to New York City and the family is shattered, Crisp said. The family is rooted in St. Louis and it was a time when people felt a stronger connection to the places where they lived.
The show takes place over the better part of a year, but the highlight is undeniably the Christmas Ball.
This year, as they prepare to move to New York, the ball is bittersweet for the Smith family, who believe they are spending their last Christmas in their childhood home. This feeling still resonates strongly with people. We live in a world now where people lose connections to hometowns and the places where their families are from and families struggle with these issues. But the song Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas remains a favorite for a reason, he said.
Crisp called the shows cast superb. ... Jim Penndorf is our musical director, as always, and is doing a marvelous job getting the cast prepared. We have 27 people in the cast, including an incredibly strong group as the family and romance interests.
Mother and father are being played by Matt Astin and Gail Johnson. Esther, the Judy Garland role, is being played by Kailey Rhodes, whose husband, Matt Hlavity, plays Warren Sheffield, the young heir of the Sheffield fortune from New York. The boy next door is being played by Tayler Darnell. Rose is played by Lauren Paris.
Given that the show is a period piece, special attention has been given to the set and costumes.
Its set in 1904 and it is a beautiful period for costumes for both men and women. Shelley Kuhen is designing a beautiful set of costumes for this show. While the opening number sets up the location very well as being in St. Louis, so much of the play takes place inside the home and on their front porch that it really is about this familys life in their home, he said. The main goal was to create a period look inside the home. I want people to have the sense that they are looking through a window back in time to this wonderful era and into the familys life. ... This play is really just perfect for the holiday season. Everyone will enjoy it.
Meet Me in St. Louis
When: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and Dec. 7-8; 2:30 p.m. Sunday; and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday
Where: Theatre Macon, 438 Cherry St.
Cost: $20 adults, $18 seniors and $15 students