The Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre and Ferrum College Theatre Arts announce receipt of a special license to perform Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas for their winter 2023 season. The theatre-in-residence at Ferrum College is the only theatre granted a license to perform this show to date outside of Timothy Allen McDonald and Music Theater International (MTI).
The story of Emmett Otter is often recognized from the 1989 movie featuring Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas which originally debuted as a television special in 1977 directed by Jim Henson and is based on a children’s book of the same name inspired by The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. The story was adapted for theater by Timothy Allen McDonald, Christoper Gattelli and Paul Willams. MacDonald says he knows Emmet and Ma and all of the critters in Waterville will feel right at home with this production by Ferrum College.
McDonald’s journey with the story began almost 10 years ago when Paul Williams suggested it as his next project. The show was first staged with Goodspeed Musicals in Connecticut in 2008 and 2009 where it sold out and people came from all over the globe before it hit some legal snags that kept it off stage for a decade. Once the rights were cleared in 2019, the show eventually opened at The New Victory Theater in New York City among the first eight Broadway shows to try to come back from the COVID-19 pandemic closures.
This season, the show will run in Ferrum, VA December 5-17 and in Chicago November 20 through December 31. Chicago rehearsals began last Sunday. While the Henson puppets will be on stage in Chicago and brought to life thanks to puppeteers who sing, act, and dance, the Ferrum show will feature puppets made at the College by the Theatre staff as well as human cast members and musicians.
The dinner theatre cast will feature Ferrum College faculty, staff, students, musicians, community members and veteran performers. The performance will be staged in Schoolfield Hall at Ferrum College with luncheon and dinner options served in Franklin Hall. Call (540) 365-4336 or visit www.ferrum.edu/play-tickets for auditions, tickets and information.