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Theatre Victoria's 'Winter Wonderland' brings magic of holidays (w/video)

By Jessica Rodrigo
Dec. 17, 2013 at 6:17 a.m.
Updated Dec. 18, 2013 at 6:18 a.m.

Director of "Winter Wonderland," Scott Mohon, center, practices his lines during a rehearsal. The performance is Theatre Victoria's holiday revue, and opens Thursday evening and runs through Sunday.

When the sounds of Bing Crosby and David Bowie dance in the ears of Scott Mohon, it reminds him of the holidays.

He remembers sitting in front of the television watching the 1977 Christmas special duet of "The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth." So whenever he hears the song on the radio or on stage, it puts him in the holiday spirit.

Theatre Victoria presents a holiday revue Thursday with "Winter Wonderland" at the Leo J. Welder Center, which Mohon hopes will have the audience feeling the same way he did as a child.

"It's all about heart and family," he said. "It's what Christmas means to all of us."

Mohon and the cast will sing, dance and twirl their way through more than 40 songs to live music performed by area musicians Lee Fitzsimmons on piano and Chuck McMichael on drums for four evening and two matinee performances.

Patricia Balmer, music director for the "Winter Wonderland," whittled down a long list of songs to get the ones that made the final performance.

"We cut a lot. I started with 120 songs," said Balmer.

In the end, the list included all the songs that made the directors happy and helped tell the story of the season. There will be classic and contemporary songs to some that people may not be familiar with, said Mohon, but each one is carefully chosen to bring out the holiday cheer in the audience.

Choreography director Laura Klimist was tasked with organizing a 24-member cast that ranged from 6-year-old Sammy Kurtz to 63-year-old Mary K. Rabe.

After five weeks of rehearsal for "Winter Wonderland," the varied experiences of the cast have come together for a show she describes as a combination of dancing and singing. While some of the members can be considered triple threats on stage, she said the cast is made up of people from the Crossroads.

"You'll see some (cast members) who just have a wonderful voice that they want to share with the community," she said.

As the cast practiced on stage, Klimist stood front and center off stage, watching from the audience's perspective where the dancers stood and re-arranging their positions.

"One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four," she counted loudly as they skipped across the Welder Center stage.

There were so many cast member for this performance because "the holidays mean so many different things to so many people," Mohon said. "It's all the magic of Christmas we're celebrating."

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