Many of you have had the joyful, fulfilling, heartening experience of producing one of MTI’s most popular and beloved holiday shows, THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER. While many theatres have done multiple productions and some have even made the show an annual event, the year 2012 has a particularly significant reason for considering bringing the show to life.
Sometime during the stormy night of November 22nd or early morning of November 23rd,1912, the most famous of the historic real life Christmas tree ships went down in the icy waters of Lake Michigan, off the coast of Two Rivers, Wisconsin. This coming November will mark 100 years since the “Rouse Simmons,” heavily laden with Christmas trees, disappeared into the dark, treacherous waters, carrying its brave captain and crew to their deaths.
You may be thinking, not exactly celebratory subject matter for a holiday musical, and you would be right. As writers John Reeger and Julie Shannon learned more and more about this dramatic era in Great Lakes maritime history, they began asking themselves, who might the first captain have been? They wondered, who was the first man to think of cutting down evergreen trees in the North woods of Michigan or Wisconsin and sailing hundreds of miles on a winter lake in order to bring Christmas trees to the immigrants living in the cities? They wondered, what might the captain’s wife have said to her husband when he told her his wild idea of setting sail in the stormiest, most unpredictable month of the year to bring the cherished tradition of the Tannenbaum to the immigrants who otherwise would have no tree? It was these questions that led the writers to create the fictional Stossel family and their schooner the Molly Doone. The colorful personalities and behaviors of the characters make them as real as ones we might encounter at our own holiday dinner tables today. While the underlying danger of these journeys is ever present, humor is a constant in the everyday lives of the family and crew.
THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER tells the story of one immigrant family. It celebrates their pioneering spirit, their ebullient joy in living every day to the fullest, their courage, their commitment to family, faith, and the belief that “our blessings aren’t ours to keep, they’re meant to be passed along.”
The score of “Schooner” has been praised by critics as “richly melodic,” “haunting,” “charming,” “folk-like” and “exquisite.” The show has received 120 productions across the U.S. and in England with the accompaniment of only the piano. Recently, Tony nominated orchestrator Larry Blank has created a lovely orchestration for the score.
Read the FACT SHEET!
We’ve prepared a great promotional fact sheet for this holiday show which you can download HERE!