Sandy (Emily Howard) confronts her mother Pix (Jaimi Reese) about the meaning of Christmas in a rehearsal for The Other Side of the Pole. (Contributed photo).

‘The Other Side of the Pole’ is presented by Red Deer’s Prime Stock Theatre

Musical is a countermeasure to Christmas crankiness, says producer

For anyone who feels Christmas is more of a seasonal chore than a joy, Prime Stock Theatre is presenting a musical remedy.

The Red Deer company is reprising The Other Side of the Pole, an enduring musical that’s had several connections with Red Deer. It opens on Thursday, Dec. 14, at Red Deer College’s Welikoklad Event Centre.

Besides being Prime Stock Theatre’s very first production from 1994 that was staged again in 1996, The Other Side of the Pole actually made its premiere-run 35 years ago as a co-production between Edmonton’s Theatre Network and Red Deer College.

Written by former Edmontonian Stephen Heatley, his sister Marney Heatley, and musical composer Edward Connell, the play-within-a-play starts out in Santa’s workshop, where the new elf is told about how Christmas was banned in Split Hoof, Alberta.

Prime Stock’s artistic director, Thomas Usher, said the story features Sandy, an eight-year-old girl, who discovers this mystery called Christmas. Her father, the town’s mayor, had put the brakes on the holiday a decade ago, after the townsfolk of Split Hoof decided Christmas had lost its magic and become nothing more than a commercialized stress-inducer.

“People were getting cranky, they were shopping to excess… it was tearing families apart, so they decided they’d be better off without Christmas,” said Usher.

When Sandy meets Willy, a special needs kid who’s grown up in the foster care system, the two begin sleuthing to discover what Christmas is all about. “Her father tries putting her off the scent, but she’s a very inquisitive eight-year-old, who likes Nancy Drew stories, and is determined to find out,” said Usher.

He believes the six-character production — which involves the talents of local music director Morgan McKee, costume designer Gwen McCagg, as well as Theatre Network sets designed by Daniel vanHeyst — remains popular because it has genuine heart.

While there are many ways to tell the Christmas story, Usher said, “this one gets at the simple, pure message about the holiday: The wonder kids feel, the warmth families share, recollections of the original Christmas family, and the simple things that are important.”

Ian Leung, the guest director from Edmonton, feels the show is about “inclusion, tolerance and a faith or awareness of something bigger than ourselves that’s astonishing and beautiful.”

Usher hopes Central Albertans will laugh, shed a tear, and hum along to The Other Side of the Pole — and rediscover the joy of Christmas. The musical for ages six and up runs to Dec. 23.

Tickets from the Black Knight Ticket Centre.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

The RDC Queens picked up an extra special victory on home ice… Continue reading

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia will head to the polls today… Continue reading

All sharks tagged in N.S. expedition can now be tracked on Ocearch website

HALIFAX — All six of the sharks tagged in Nova Scotian waters… Continue reading

Memorial service for former PQ minister Lise Payette today in Montreal

MONTREAL — Mourners will gather to remember former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister… Continue reading

Immunotherapy scores a first win against some breast cancers

For the first time, one of the new immunotherapy drugs has shown… Continue reading

‘Mom I’m in trouble:’ Canadian, Brit face 10 years in jail for alleged graffiti

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — The mother of a Canadian who was arrested… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Most Read