THEATRE NOVA PRESENTS
by Carla Milarch and R. MacKenzie Lewis
Theatre NOVA’s holiday tradition continues with another fun-filled night from the team that brought you The Year Without a Panto Claus and Sugar Plum Panto. Bring the whole family to laugh, boo, hiss, and sing in this over-the-top evening of heroes and villains, funny songs and extreme merriment.
This year Hanukkah gets in on the act, when two toy-making elves on the lam wind up in a dreidel store, and hilarity ensues in this multi-cultural holiday celebration featuring musical comedy, slapstick, vaudeville, and fun.
The Elves and the Schumachers features Elizabeth Jaffe, Dan Morrison, William Powers, and Sarah B. Stevens and is directed by Carla Milarch. The production and design team includes R. Mackenzie Lewis (music director/composer), Forrest Hejkal (scenic design), Haley Cook (costume
design), Jeff Alder (lighting design), Becky Fox (props), and Alona Shewach (stage manager).
PULP: ARTS AROUND ANN ARBOR
THEATRE NOVA'S ANNUAL PANTO
GETS GOOFY FOR HANUKKAH
“In England, the panto is a Yuletide tradition. A familiar fairy tale is retold as an excuse for a light-hearted vaudeville of jokes, well-worn comic routines, and song and dance. Theatre Nova has adopted the idea as an annual holiday treat. This year a new take on The Elves and the Shoemaker gets reimagined into a Jewish-centered The Elves and the Schumachers, just in time for Hanukkah. The plot of Carla Milarch and R. MacKenzie Lewis’ retelling keeps to the basics: elves help a desperate shopkeeper and save the day. But, oy vey, do they wander far and wide into the surreal and the totally silly. The show is designed as a children’s melodrama, with the kids in the audience (and adults with a childlike spirit) encouraged to cheer the heroes, boo the villains, help the elves, and sabotage the bad guys."
“After the show ended, I overheard an elementary-aged student say "I never want to leave the theater." Indeed, I informally interviewed a few kids after the show and they all said they had a good time and most thought their friends from school would like the show. Elves features scene-chewing performances from Stevens, Jaffe, and Morrison. William Powers, a fifth grader at Haisley, plays Judah Schumacher. I think this is a really important element of the show because it gives the children watching it a real proxy for themselves. ...it also makes it so the kids who come up on stage at the end of the show more comfortable. The Elves and the Schumachers is a silly romp that kids and adults will enjoy."
‘ELVES AND SCHUMACHERS’ LIGHTS UP DECEMBER AT THEATRE NOVA
“This year’s panto, The Elves and the Schumachers is Theatre Nova’s most delightful to date. The one-hour and 30-minute production is a highly entertaining variety show with singing, dancing, poignant moments, bombastic action, clever comedy, and a heart-rending holiday message. There’s not much not to like here, folks. The near-capacity opening night crowd, which included several elementary school-aged children, laughed throughout the show. In all, we have three of the best actors around, plus an up-and-comer, giving us their best for a holiday silliness. What a gift of the season!"
WE LOVE ANN ARBOR
Q&A: THEATRE NOVA’s CARLA MILARCH TALKS ABOUT WRITING AND DIRECTING HER LATEST PLAY
“Like every year, our main goal for the Panto is to bring families together for the holidays. Sharing theatre together is such a memorable and special experience for little ones, and this is a unique show, that is genuinely enjoyable for kids, parents, and grandparents alike. The adults laugh at the jokes, the kids love the characters, the music, and the slapstick, and everyone gets the heartwarming message at various levels. Above all, everyone has fun!"