If you want to stop the madness of the shopping season and fight back against commercialism, I recommend attending a holiday concert, supporting the arts, and when you do shop, make it a locally owned store. You can keep the sense of community alive as you spread your holiday cheer and buy meaningful gifts for friends and family. You can share in the reason for the season by attending concerts together, supporting your friends and neighbors as they share their gifts and talents. I've bought CDs by resident musicians. I picked up some handmade items at shops around town.
"Anytown" is a dance performance by the Shapiro & Smith Dance Company using the music of Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band members Patti Scialfa and Soozie Tyrell, playing now at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. It tells stories of American life, the working class, the hardships, the relationships, the emotions of a lifetime.
In "The Sunshine Boys" by Neil Simon, the comedic team of Lewis and Clark were once the hit of Vaudeville, the times before radio and television, when people had to leave their houses to find entertainment. Comedy was quick, witty, and full of sight gags. The costumes alone caused a chuckle. So, what happened to the legendary Lewis & Clark? They split up after an appearance on the "Ed Sullivan Show", and haven't seen or spoken to each other in 11 years.
Finding your voice in your art builds self-confidence. An artist who has a well defined voice stands out in the crowd. Have you ever started reading an article, or exerpt from a book, and thought, "I know this author." You might have even identified her before looking at the by-line. The same thing happens when you look at art. The masters can be identified by most people. You can tell a VanGough, for instance, from a Rembrant or Monet. Can you pick up a family photograph and determine who took that shot? Do you know the voice, style, of your best friend's paintings?
"A Christmas Carol" has been produced at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis for more than 35 years. This is their big show with all the bells and whistles, dancing, drama, and theatrics, of course. The story, written by Charles Dickens in 1843, describes London on the eve of Christmas. Carolers walk the streets. Women come to the door with requests to help the poor. The rich, like Scrooge, hoard their wealth. The poor are sent out into the streets with no one to help them and nowhere to go. Dickens brought to light the darkness of society.
Memories are formed around food, the preparations, the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the people who share a meal with us. Thanksgiving is all about the menu. You remember meals shared, where you were, and who was there. We reminisce about holidays of the past, someone's home who is no longer with us, and longing to taste one more time Grandma's lefse as only she could make it.
"How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is marvelous, filled with tenderness and giggles, wisdom and wit. It's colorful, musical and fun. Go, if you can! It's a Christmas present the whole family can enjoy. I attended this show with children ages 5 through 13, and they all loved. The grown-ups also thought it was a hoot. To read more of my review and see photos from the production, go to my writer's blog, Play off the Page, www.maryaalgaard.blogspot.com.
The 1940's Radio Hour is community theater at its finest up in Pequot Lakes, presented by the GLAPA group. I attended the Sunday afternoon show, which can be more subdued than an evening performance, but it wasn't. It was full of life and energy, beautiful costumes, and interesting scenery. I love it when the band is on stage, as in this show, so that they are part of the effect. They are cast members. Three cheers and a hand massage for the pianist, Renee Anderson. I know how hard you had to work! The music and musicians were phenomenal.
"A Christmas Carol" has been a tradition at The Guthrie Theater for 38 years. I wonder if anyone out there has attended a performance every year? Are there people who work for the Guthrie who have been part of every production? I know that some of the actors have been in several productions. This year, J.C. Cutler is again playing Ebenezer Scrooge. I think he's fantastic.
Attending holiday performances is becoming part of my family's tradition. To read more of my review and see photos of the production, go to my writer's blog, Play off the Page, www.maryaalgaard.blogspot.com.