December 4, 2019 - In conjunction with the community’s downtown activities during Christmas Parade weekend, the CHS Theatre Department will present an original musical production “Christmas at the Rio” in the historic Rio Movie House at 4:30 this Saturday, 90 minutes before the parade begins.
“We’re excited to be part of the parade festivities,” director Chris Watlington said. “Doing performances that contribute to the community is always a privilege and a great opportunity. Because the show is at 4:30, families can come enjoy the musical, then when it’s over, they will already be in place for the big parade.”
The 45-minute production features songs from classic Christmas TV shows and movies including Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown, The Nightmare Before Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Polar Express.
“My favorite one to perform is The Year Without a Santa Claus,” second year theatre student Mia Mahan said. “The villains are Snow Miser and Heat Miser, and when they come on stage and sing ‘I’m Mister Heat Miser, I’m Mister Sun,’ it just makes me laugh!”
The production comes from a desire to expand Parade Night by adding fun opportunities for families beyond the parade itself.
“The original idea came from a conversation with Jim Gibson,” Watlington said. “I saw him at Margarita’s having a lunch meeting with fellow members of a local club. They were brainstorming ideas and had hit upon having a production of some sort in the courthouse on parade night. That evolved into “Christmas at the Rio. Mike and Nita [Atkinson] were receptive to the idea and have been very generous.”
The show is both musical revue—a narrated musical summary of the Christmas shows—and an original story rolled into one.
“About 15 minutes into the show, the Grinch and Jack Skellington [the main character from Nightmare Before Christmas] come charging into the room and insist that all this Christmas nonsense stop,” third year theatre student Mark Perkins who plays the Grinch said. “Much to their surprise, the Polar Express comes to pick them up and takes them to the North Pole where they meet Santa and learn that Christmas isn’t so bad after all.”
The show is designed for kids and adults alike.
“Of course, the show is mainly for kids to enjoy before the big parade. But parents will recognize some of the songs and characters that perhaps their children won’t,” Watlington said.
Admission is $2 and concessions will be available. The box office opens at 4:00.