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“Every Christmas Story Told (and then some!)” a New Holiday Tradition at Capital Stage

Photos by Barry Wisdom

For many people there are certain holiday traditions that if they don’t get to experience them during the holiday season, it just doesn’t feel like the holidays. Capital Stage has started its own little holiday tradition of more than five years of presenting “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!)” which skewers all those wonderful holiday traditions.

Eric steps up to the podium, opens a large book and begins to read, “Marley is dead!”

Before he even starts to read there are titters that are growing into laughter in the audience. It is those who have made “Every Christmas Story…” at Capital Stage their holiday tradition. This Capital Stage production is much like a Monty Python skit. You may have seen it before and know what is coming but it still is just as funny or even more funny.

What everyone is starting to laugh at is that Eric can’t get through the first line of “A Christmas Carol” without an actors’ strike breaking out. Gary as Marley’s ghost wanders out, refusing to go on. They are soon joined by another ghost of Christmas, played by Peter, who also refuses to go on. It seems that both Gary and Peter are only in the production for the medical insurance but just can not do “Carol” one more time.

Promising Eric that they would get back to “Carol” at some point, the three go off taking on a litany of holiday traditions of stage, screen (big and little), as well as countries around the world “and then some!” all to the amusement of the audience.

All three actors have performed “Every Christmas…” several times at Capital Stage and work very well together.

Eric is Eric Wheeler, who has also appeared in several other Capital Stage productions, as well as stages throughout Northern California, in his more than 30-year career.

Eric Wheeler as Eric

Gary is Gary S. Martinez, who is primarily a Bay Area actor but states that CapStage and this show is his home away from home for the holidays.

Gary S. Martinez as Gary (standing) with Erick Wheeler as Eric

Peter is Peter Mohrmann, one of Capital Stage’s founders and marketing director. While Mohrmann often directs Capital Stage productions, this is one of the rare opportunities to see him on the stage.

Peter Mohrmann as Peter (right) with Gary S. Martinez as Gary

While each actor’s character is easily identifiable and each has its own characteristics, all three actors do such a great job it is impossible to single one out.

Ron Madonia’s lighting design by Owen Smith and sound design by

Owen Smith
Brad Thompson add to the mood, as does Michael Coleman’s props and set dressing and Rebecca Redman’s costume design.

One of the Christmas tree props and Eric Wheeler as Eric as the Grinch

Another Capital Stage founder, Jonathan Rhys Williams, directs and also did the scenic design. Williams has successfully transferred the show from the stage of the Delta King to their new 2215 J Street Midtown home. He spoke after Saturday night’s opening night show about how interesting it was for him as a director to have a very different, larger space with the audience on three sides and so close to the stage.

“Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!)” works even better than it did on the Delta King at the new J Street theater. There are also the updates that help keep the humor topical. The show is great for anyone old enough to have had exposure to holiday traditions. Besides, you don’t want to upset the youngest ones with the truth about Santa and a lot of other holiday traditions.

If you are looking for fun during the holiday season or want to start a new holiday tradition, you would be hard pressed to find a funnier show than “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!)” 

 

Editor’s Note:  Edits have been made to this article after publishing. 

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