Every single Christmas story is the claim...somewhere between 17 and 472 according to the gentlemen involved. Actors Randy Davis, Anthony Lawson, and Steve Vernon, plus Technical Director Scott Davis, talk about Big Dawg Productions' comic holiday offering: Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some). The show opens Thursday, November 30th at Cape Fear Playhouse on Castle Street.
Listen above or see our extended conversation below. Every Christmas Story Ever Told runs November 30-December 17, with 8:00pm performances on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and 3:00pm performances on Sundays. Tickets are available at the door, online, or by calling 910-367-5237.
Steve: This is a play called Every Christmas Story Ever Told. And it's a play about three actors doing every Christmas story ever told.
Gina: Every single Christmas story.
Steve: Every Christmas story that you can think of we try to incorporate into the show.
Gina: What are some of the ones that we might recognize? The ones that we already know about?
Steve: Well some of the rarer ones like Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I know a lot of people aren't familiar with those stories, but you know the stuff everybody knows like Christmas traditions from Iceland and Sweden.
Gina: Your sarcasm will not work well on the radio. But I'll work with that.
Steve: The show incorporates Christmas traditions from around the world, so it gives people a peek at how other cultures celebrate this magnificent time of year.
Gina: Is Krampus in it?
Steve: I don't want to give away too much. But you'll just have to come see what is actually in it. I don't want to name too much stuff. We want the audiences to be surprised.
Gina: And you've done this show before.
Steve: Yes, actually. Well, there's three actors in the show- Randy Davis, Anthony Lawson, and myself- and between the three of us, we've each done the show at least twice. Randy, myself and another actor did it about 15 years ago at Thalian Hall. Then about four years ago we took it on tour with Randy and Anthony and another actor toured little golf communities in Brunswick County. And then three years ago, this configuration- the three of us- did the show here at Big Dawg.
Gina: And you're doing it again, which makes me believe that this show has been successful and that people really like it. What do people like about this show?
Steve: I think the thing that people get out of it is just a really fun way to celebrate Christmas and it's not too heavy. A lot of times with Christmas entertainment it gets a little maudlin, but this is pure celebration. It's just a fun time.
Gina: Is there any apple cider for the audience or anything like that?
Steve: It's bring your own cider. BYOC.
Gina: Are there any Hebrew stories in Every Christmas Story Every Told?
Steve: We touch on Jewish traditions as well as other traditions from around the world. So we try to be open and inclusive to anybody who may or may not be in the audience.
Steve: Yes. I think really Randy Davis could probably fill in all the gaps that I have left.
Gina: Randy, you've performed the show a few times before.
Randy: This is my fourth time performing it, actually. I saw it years ago in Indianapolis and I thought was a really funny show. The three original actors wrote it, one of which I worked with years ago, and audiences love it and we keep bringing it back.
Gina: What do you like about it?
Randy: The money. [Laughter] I just like the fact that everyone gets to come and have a good time. As Steve said, a lot of plays at Christmas time deal with heavy themes and you know, family and everything else, and there's just really nothing heavy about the show whatsoever. It's just sitting back and laughing for two hours and having a good time.
Gina: Anthony, you have performed this play before.
Anthony: I have. This is my third time but this is only my second time playing Anthony. The first year I played Steve.
Gina: So what do you like about this play?
Anthony: Well, the first time I liked doing it because it was very kinetic. You're never bored, there's always something that you have to be doing. And I love that about it. The next two times was because I didn't have to remember a lot of lines, I'd already memorized them.
Gina: What do you think is the appeal of this show?
Anthony: I think it's a matter of not having to choose. You know, do you want to watch A Christmas Carol? Do you want to watch, you know, Rudolph? Do you want to watch Frosty? Or do you just want to watch all of them in one show. You know, you get all of it in little bits and then you can go home and feel like you've done all of Christmas in one evening.
Gina: How many stories are there in it?
Gina: Steve, how many stories?
Steve: I would say that it's somewhere between 17 and 39 stories.
Gina: Randy, how many stories are there in the show?
Randy: Every one of them.
Gina: Scott, how many stories are there in this show?
Scott: There's 472 stories. And two of them they don't really get quite right but the rest is amazing.
Steve: And there's puppets. If we can borrow one from you. Can we borrow one?
Gina: Is there music?
Scott: There are some sound cues. There's music, car crashes, there's clowns. It's a real smorgasbord of sound effects.
Steve: A cavalcade, if you will.
Scott: A calvacade.
Gina: One last question, about the director- Kent isn't it?
Steve: David Lee Kent. He's very particular about which actors he will work with and he's a very, very precise practitioner of the theatrical arts and he specializes in Christmas shows. But he's an incredible director.
Gina: Have you worked with him a lot?
Randy: He has directed every production of this that I've done as well as Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol. There's something about Christmas that just brings David out of the woodwork.
Steve: And he even directed Santaland Diaries one year.
Anthony: The first year that Panache did Santaland Diaries, David Lee Kent was actually gracious enough to to help us out.
Gina: Scott have you worked with this Kent? Mr. Kent?
Scott: This is my first time working directly with him. I've seen him walking out the stage door a couple of times. He actually handed me a mint one time I didn't realize it was him. But it's been an exciting process to work with him.