1. Archive


Christmas spirit gets a lift in a sleepy Florida town.
Published Nov. 16, 2012

For its 2012 holiday production, the Show Palace Dinner Theatre is launching an all-new musical with a definite local slant and the traditional title: A Show Palace Christmas.

Writer-director Jason Tucker, who wrote and directed the All New Fabulous 50s and 60s Revue that ran in August and September, has once more come down from his Nashville base to write the story of how Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and their elves save the Christmas spirit in a "sleepy Florida town."

Guess where.

The two-act show features familiar tunes like Santa Baby, All I Want for Christmas and We Need a Little Christmas, but also has Christmas, Florida, and a Christmas in Florida medley, said Jennifer Mara, publicist for the Show Palace Entertainment production company that is doing the show.

There's also paeans to Sandy the Sandman and Leroy the Redneck Reindeer, done by a chorus of dancing and singing elves.

The 14-member cast features Rick Kistner (J.B. Biggley in How to Succeed in Business), doing his 17th show at the Show Palace in the role of Santa Claus. Mrs. Claus is played by Bonnie Smith, who has played in major shows such as the French national tour of Les Miserables and for New York-based theater companies.

Among the elves are Justin Lore, who played the lead in New York Nights; Derek Baxter, who has been in several Show Palace shows and also on television's Nickelodeon and at multiple Disney theme parks; Nick Orfanella, who made a hit with audiences singing Maria in the Fabulous 50s and 60s Revue; and nine more Show Palace veterans and newcomers: Sarah Smith, Sofia Esteve, William Masuck, Kyle Beckley, Kate O'Connell, Nick Rishel, Laurie Sutton, Rebekah Shade and Jillian Prefach.

Most of the chorus members play not only Santa's elves, but also portray characters in the story. Ms. Smith, for example, plays Digits Elf and Dixie May; Orfanella plays Jingles Elf and Jimmy; and Rebekah Shade does Pixie Elf, a Doll, and Mary Ellen.

The sets and lighting are designed by the Show Palace's award-winning Tom Hansen, who was recently promoted to production coordinator.

* * *


A Show Palace Christmas

Opens Thursday and continues matinees and evenings on select Wednesdays through Sundays, through Dec. 25, at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre, 16128 U.S. 19, Hudson. Adults: dinner and show, $49.50; show only, $38.45, plus tax and tip. Ages 12 and younger, $24.95 and $19.95. (727) 863-7949 or toll-free 1-888-655-7469.