November 13 - December 24, 2014
1100 S. Bradley, Santa Maria, CA 93454
Christmas Is Here Again
New Book, Music and Lyrics by Brad Carroll & Jeremy Mann
Based on Original Music, Lyrics and Teleplay by Robert Zappia, Marco Zappia and Rocco Zappia
Additional Original Music by Sherry Hackney Cade
Produced by Ashley Postlewaite and Darrell Van Citters
Based upon the film written and directed by
Christmas Is Here Again is a brand new stage adaptation of the animated feature film of the same name produced by Renegade Animation. Written and directed by Robert Zappia, he recalls the Christmastime stories his father would tell his sister and himself when they were children. The story would grow year after year as Zappia’s father made up the adventure on the spot. Over the years it became a family tradition singing songs and telling “the” story. When the time came to create the animation, the production featured some of the top stars in the industry as voice actors: Ed Asner, Andy Griffith, Kathy Bates, Jay Leno, and Shirley Jones, among others. The distinctive animation artwork was created by Oscar winner Mike Giaimo (Frozen). Some of the artwork from that original film is incorporated into PCPA’s production.
In 2008, Renegade’s co-founder Ashley Postlewaite – and former PCPA Development Director – called a meeting with (then freelance director) Brad Carroll to propose a joint project. Carroll, currently PCPA Resident Artist/Artistic Associate, said he’d always been fascinated by the idea of creating music for animation. Instead, the pitch from Postlewaite was to see if Brad would be interested in adapting Renegade’s newly released Christmas Is Here Again for the stage. Carroll said that without ever seeing the film he agreed to take on the project. It has only been in the last four years, however, that work was begun in earnest to transform the film to an original piece of musical theatre.
The adaptation started with a series of workshops. Director Roger DeLaurier, who was actively involved in all the workshops in the development of the play, said the goal has always been to keep the spirit of the animation’s story, but to expand and elevate it for a full family experience. The original material was intended for very young audiences so the team of Brad Carroll and Jeremy Mann – book, music, and lyrics – worked on “growing the story up.” “A lot of the workshop experience was taking the wonderful ideas and wonderful moments and then looking to see where we needed to amplify them,” DeLaurier recalled. DeLaurier and Carroll both agree that the five workshops have proved invaluable. Beginning with just a few pages of an outline, Conservatory students who were recruited to participate would improvise characters and scenes. Some of that work remains in the finished script.
Unique to PCPA’s main stage will be the incorporation of projections designed by Adam Flemming using Mike Giaimo’s original artwork – both stills and animated – that were used in Renegade Animation’s Christmas Is Here Again. The projections provide background for scenes the characters will visit from snowy mountain tops to underworld lairs. Giaimo’s credits also include art director for Disney’s Pocahontas which won an Annie Award for Best Animated Feature and to Giamo for Best Individual Achievement for Production design in the Field of Animation.
Amid the fantastic locations, the characters in animal costumes, and scenic projections, DeLaurier said that with such big visuals it’s important to remember that the goal is to keep the focus on the actors and the story and everything else is just the environment from which those actors will tell the story. DeLaurier emphasized, “It’s never about the spectacle.” The director said that the heart of the story is about hope and needing to believe, even when you don’t know what the answer is. Our hero, Sophiana, is special. She represents the leaders among us, the person who takes the lead and says “follow me!” DeLaurier said, “There may be a lot of people with shared beliefs, but it usually takes a leader to start moving toward this thing that’s important and says, ‘I’m going to figure out how to make it happen.’”
Now after years of planning and months of building and rehearsing, PCPA is pleased and thrilled to present a brand new gift for the holiday season to your family, and the community, Christmas Is Here Again. Enjoy!