The musical by Sean Grennan (book and lyrics) and Leah Okimoto (music) will be seen at three American regional theatres during the 2008 holiday season, including Barter Theatre's Stage II (Nov. 26-Dec. 21) in Abingdon, VA; Gulfshore Playhouse (Dec. 11-21) in Naples, FL; and Chanhassen Dinner Theatres (now through Dec. 31) in Chanhassen, MN, near Minneapolis-St. Paul.
The script and score have been refined in the past year, the writers said. Grennan, whose musicals with Okimoto include Married Alive! and A Dog's Life, told Playbill.com: "The show was so new in 2007 that we give a lot of the credit to our excellent director, Paul Hough. He managed to whip us — and the show — into shape. Still, it was the first time the piece was on its feet, and the audience doesn't lie. Listening to that, we were able to make some changes during the run, like cutting a whole song…
"After it closed we rearranged the opening and wrote two new songs, one as a replacement and one as an addition. Fortunately, we have these three new productions to see those changes come to life. We're very lucky, very grateful to have such good theatres doing our work."
Carey Van Driest and Don Forston played the unusual couple celebrating Christmas Eve in the world premiere of the musical at American Heartland Theatre in Kansas City (Nov. 2-Dec. 30, 2007).
* AHT also produced Married Alive! (which continues to blossom in regional theatres around the country) and A Dog's Life. All of Grennan and Okimoto's works are original, not drawing on source material.
Another Night Before Christmas is billed as "a new family holiday musical about a disillusioned woman with a lack of holiday spirit and an intruder claiming to be Santa Claus."
Grennan previously told Playbill.com, "I wanted to try out a number of things with this show. Leah and my other shows have been either revues or very episodic. This one is a straight 'book show' that takes place in real time on one set with only two characters to draw from."
Grennan explained that the musical is about Karol, a disillusioned social worker, and a homeless man named Guy, who breaks into her home and tries to convince her that he's Santa Claus. An earlier conception for the show included elf characters as a chorus, but they were cut when the core story began breathing on its own, the writer said.
Another Night Before Christmas takes its title from the classic poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas," widely known as "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore.
For more information about Grennan/Okimoto properties, visit www.marriedalive.net.
For more information, visit bartertheatre.com, gulfshoreplayhouse.org or chanhassentheatres.com.