The Show Palace Dinner Theatre is going abroad for its 2009 holiday show, HOLIDAY HOTEL, a mix of a British Christmas panto, a Broadway musical and a Show Palace original.
"Every year, we've done a New York Christmas, so we're going to England for this one," said Matthew McGee, who wrote the show with music director Michael Ursua, who arranged the songs and composed the music and lyrics for three all-new numbers.
As with previous holiday shows, the story is all new — "and the whole thing is wacky," McGee said. "An original, world premiere is what sets (the Show Palace) apart from other theaters."
McGee's story takes place in the present and is set in an old-fashioned London hotel that is on the brink of being foreclosed by some really awful bankers.
In the tradition of the 400-year-old British panto, it features a cross-dressing grande dame, a boy who turns out to be a girl, audience participation, an easily recognized "celebrity," zany slapstick and some insider jokes.
At the same time, it has big Broadway-style production numbers with elaborate costumes and lighting and, in Show Palace custom, heart-warming Christmas songs and a happy ending.
"It's got everything," McGee said. "You would have to be a real Grinch to come and not enjoy yourself."
In it, Dame Madge Crickett (McGee) has just 24 hours to save her Queen's Leg Hotel from being turned into a luxury apartment building by some greedy bankers, led by the odious Ernest Pecksniff (Rick Kistner, Lazer Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof).
Dame Madge ("I don't play a man in drag; I play her as a woman," McGee said.) turns to her staff for help, and they help her in style.
French Chef Louis De Camembert (Ursua, Leo in The Producers) turns into a piano virtuoso, and celebrity guests show up in droves, including an elegant woman whose title is abbreviated as H.R.H. (Sherry Churchill, Shaindel in Fiddler). The Man With The Bag (Monte Michelsen) helps even more.
The 19-member cast includes maids and other hotel employees, who pitch in with some tap and ballet numbers, and there's even a real sword fight, McGee said. "It's endless comedy that's very topical," — trying to save a business in the current economy — McGee said.
And there's a surprise ending with a big finale done to Ursua's newest song, Shine.