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November 22, 2021
ON THE NAUGHTY LIST is a Must-See Holiday Show in Lancaster
By Lillian Ward-Packard
With the air getting colder and decorations going up, the holiday season is approaching swiftly, and the time to make plans for December has arrived. For Prima Theatre, which always takes a fresh and unique approach to theatre, this December is the perfect time to put a spin on the holidays and bring Lancaster City a non-traditional seasonal performance, one full of lively music and fun, thought-provoking humor.
Seeking to create a script that strikes the perfect balance between holiday cheer, irreverent humor, and inspiring messages, Prima’s Executive Artistic Producer, Mitch Nugent, and Production & Operations Director, Sara Dodson, teamed up with the internationally-produced playwright Emily Goodson. Together, they wrote a script built on the idea that being “on the naughty list” isn’t always such a bad thing—in fact, the rebels and rule breakers of the world might just have the power to change it, in their own rowdy, rambunctious way. As a result of this collaboration, the final product is a script that Nugent describes as akin to “a comedic and provocative Ted Talk,” one that promises to surprise and delight patrons with a fresh take on the Christmas story and the holidays as a whole.
Bringing the script to life is performer April Mae Davis, whose narration will take the audience on this comedic journey. Davis, who graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with her MFA in Acting, is excited to be joining the Prima team for this show, which has already been full of surprises for her. “This show talks about so many different traditions; even ones I’ve never heard of myself,” says Davis. “But it also talks about traditional stories we all know, with added details we often overlook. Just when you think you’ve heard it all when it comes to the holidays, there is so much more to explore.” With heart and humor, Davis urges audiences to laugh at the absurdity of the holidays and reflect on which list they’d really rather be on: nice, or naughty?
Davis’ performance of the script isn’t the only exciting element of ON THE NAUGHTY LIST. The show combines her talk with a lively concert of contemporary pop and holiday songs, featuring live vocal performances from Donovan Hofer (America’s Got Talent) and Asia Littlejohn (Lincoln Center soloist). But the music doesn’t stop there: the show also includes a unique digital appearance from Lancaster’s own Bright Side Baptist Church Choir. Together, these performances will have audiences dancing in their seats as well as laughing out loud.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a Prima show without some glitz and glam. The show features dazzling special effects and projections, as well as set elements from Atomic Design of Rock Lititz, and preview photos of the performer’s costumes also promise some holiday glamour. Together, these elements make the show as exciting visually as it is musically.
Between family commitments, longstanding traditions, and the stress of getting everything ready in time, the holiday season can be as chaotic and challenging as it is joyful and heartwarming. ON THE NAUGHTY LIST promises to break through the humdrum of the holidays, first with witty laugh-out-loud humor, then with feel-good music and thought-provoking reflections on what it means to be human. So long as they’re not put off by some adult language and irreverent humor, culturally adventurous patrons of all ages will love this uniquely invigorating holiday performance.
As April Mae Davis puts it, the show is a beautiful chance “just to be able to laugh and breathe together all while diving deep into the holidays right before they arrive. It’ll be the perfect kick-off to a joyous season.”
ON THE NAUGHTY LIST plays on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 PM, December 3-18. Masks are required for audiences, and strong safety and sanitization protocols are in place at the theatre. Details and tickets at primatheatre.org/naughty.