Christmastown: A Holiday Noir / The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

CHRISTMASTOWN: A HOLIDAY NOIR

by Wayne Rawley / directed by Kelly Kitchens

December 4 – December 24, 2015 (preview: December 3)

In this film noir-inspired holiday thriller by Seattle playwright Wayne Rawley, hard-boiled detective Nick Holiday investigates some un-holiday-like shenanigans taking place in Christmastown. Add a glamorous elf, a used-Christmas-tree salesman, a muckraking reporter, and a quick-thinking cab driver, and you’ve got the “best new holiday romp of the year!” (Seattle Times)

Cast:
John Ulman (Nick Holiday), Pilar O’Connell (various), Rhonda J. Soikowski (various), Brandon Felker (various)

Design & Production:
Kelly Kitchens (Director), Ariel Bui (Stage Manager), Travis Miller (Scenic Painting), Caleb Ruppert (Lighting Design), Jay Weinland (Sound Designer), Krissy Grant (Props Designer), Ali Rose (Costume Designer)

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Boy With A Popeye Expression

THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER

by Barbara Robinson / directed by Emily Purington

December 12 – December 24, 2015

The delightfully horrible Herdman clan descends on the Bathhouse for their 15th consecutive year, turning a pedestrian pageant into sidesplitting chaos and bringing new life to an old tradition. Featuring a cast of young actors alongside adult professionals, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is the not-to-be-missed holiday favorite for families and kids of all ages.

Cast:
Faith Russell (Grace Bradley), Scott Koh (Bob Bradley), Sally Brady (Mrs. Armstrong / Reverend), Shermona Mitchell (Mrs. McCarthy), Tara Kaine (Mrs. Slocum), Jasmine Anderson (Beth), Thiven Anderson (Charlie), Aliza Cosgrove (Alice), Maya Rice (Maxine), Nathanial Mascis (Elmer), Stellan Rude (Hobie), Hersh Powers (David), Lauren Hwang (Beverly), Elora Coble (Gladys), Felix Coble (Ollie), Alister Valenz (Claude), Joe Moore (Leroy), Charlie Tadlock (Ralph), Anna Klein (Imogene)

Design & Production:
Emily Purington (Director), David Hsieh (Stage Manager), Caleb Ruppert (Lighting Design), Mariah Brougher (Sound Designer), Assistant Sound Design (Sophia Bondi),  Krissy Grant (Props Designer), Sonya Hachez (Costume Designer)

 

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MEET THE CAST

Interviews by Emily Olyarchuk; photos by Paul Bestock


Behind the Curtain with John Ulman

 

Nick3 2015

 

John Ulman, Seattle’s favorite photographer and performer, will bring Nick Holiday to life for the second time this Holiday season. John first introduced the washed-up detective Nick Holiday to Seattle Public Theater audiences in December 2014. In preparation for the show’s second year at the Bathhouse Theater, we decided to sit down with John and learn about what it was like to prepare an original role generated by Seattle award-winning playwright, Wayne Rawley.

Q: What was it like getting to develop this role for the first time?

John: The process was great for a new script. I couldn’t have asked for a better process. Wayne (Rawley) knows the style and has a lot of fun with it. He was really receptive to our ideas but it was still his play and you still felt like he had his vision. To prepare for the role, I went back and watched YouTube clips of Humphrey Bogart. The Maltese Falcon was the one that hooked me where I felt like I could see that in Nick.

But one of the hardest things with the play, and comedies in general, was that you are in rehearsal and you do these lines and it is really funny at first. You say the funny jokes 20-30 times, and it starts to not be as funny. Then it gets to be that time right before you get an audience when you’re like, is that funny?

Q: What was it like working so closely with the playwright?

John: It was great. I remember one time during tech he was working on the ending. It wasn’t quite landing the way he wanted to. We ended up writing that transition in at the end during tech. We talked about it at the beginning (of rehearsal) then we just went on and did our tech scenes. About an hour later, he came back with the new monologue “Okay let’s see what we can do,” Wayne said.

It helped take the story in the direction we wanted it go. That’s the great thing about working with Wayne; you trust that he knows the story he wants to tell.

Q: How will your performance this year be different from last year?

John: The main difference this year that I’m finding trickier is that we have a new Holly. The tricky part is that you have a muscle memory of what the scene was and now you have a new actor who is giving you different readings on lines and responses so you have to come at it with an openness and newness and respect their process.

Wayne is also doing some rewrites for this year. I have the muscle memory of how the lines go and still so much of it is the same and is familiar. It is like going to England, everyone speaks English but it is just a little bit different.

Q: What would you like to tell the Seattle community about Christmastown?

John: It is one of those plays that has a little bit of everything. It’s got the noir style. It is a different kind of Christmas show that you will still walk away feeling good about. It has some comedy but there are still those heartfelt moments that draw you in. It’s just a lot of fun.


What it means to be a Herdman – Charlie Tadlock

 

CharlieTadlock

In its 15th consecutive year, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (BXPE) welcomes the Herdman clan to the Bathhouse Theater stage once again, and you will probably recognize a few faces. This holiday season marks Charlie Tadlock’s 5th year performing in BXPE with the Seattle Public Theater. Charlie will join this year’s BXPE cast in his first role as Ralph, the eldest of the Herdman clan.

“I really love BXPE,” Charlie said. “It is a kind of Christmas tradition in my family. There is such a great community. ” Charlie has performed in the roles of Ollie, Leroy, and Elmer, but in order to prepare for his new role as Ralph, Charlie has had to make a few changes.

“I am trying to make myself scarier,” Charlie said. “If I had to describe Ralph in three words, they would be big, intimidating, and curious. We are not very similar”

Charlie got involved with the SPT youth program through his older sister, and found that it was the right place for him. Charlie’s favorite thing about the SPT youth program is the range of opportunities that are available to young performers.

“I have done everything from acting in middle school and high school to light designing,” Charlie said. “I’ve been an assistant technical designer as well. We have many really great technical crew opportunities in the program at SPT.”

Charlie was in his first show in 2007 and eight years later directed the fall play, Harvey, at Nathan Hale High School.

“Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas or it is not really your thing, BXPE is a show about community,” Charlie said. “It is a show about family. It is about essential values we should all hold ourselves to. It is a really great show and this is looking like a really good cast. “