Hometown Impressions

‘A Merry Christmas Feeling’ at the Arvada Center

Arvada Center’s world premiere brings audience to its feet

Posted 11/28/16

Opening night for a new theater piece at the Arvada Center is always exciting, but extra electricity permeated the air on Nov. 18 when the center hosted the world premiere of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”

“I don’t usually make speeches …

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Hometown Impressions

‘A Merry Christmas Feeling’ at the Arvada Center

Arvada Center’s world premiere brings audience to its feet

Posted

Opening night for a new theater piece at the Arvada Center is always exciting, but extra electricity permeated the air on Nov. 18 when the center hosted the world premiere of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”

“I don’t usually make speeches before curtain,” said Philip Sneed, the center’s executive director, taking the stage before the show began. “But in 40 years, we’ve never done a world premiere.”

The show was written by Arvada Center musical director David Nehls and writer Kenn McLaughlin especially for the occasion, and directed by frequent center director Gavin Mayer. It takes audiences back to 1969 and goes behind the scenes with the Bright family — a family of performers filming their annual Christmas special.

“I’ve directed world premiere’s before, but not at this level,” Mayer said during intermission. “It’s been great bringing it out into the world, and finally getting it in front of people.”

“I’m finally able to relax,” McLaughlin added with a laugh.

Although it was just a bit too early for Christmas decorations in the center, there was an unmistakable and infectious holiday spirt going around. Particularly since attending the center’s holiday production is a tradition for many.

“We have season tickets, so we’ve been coming to their holiday shows for many years,” said Arvada resident Barbara Gordon. “I think the show is great, and I am loving the costumes.”

Crafting new Christmas songs can be a tricky proposition, especially because the genre is so dominated by the classics. But highlights like “The Bright Family Theme,” “It’s Only Christmas With You” and “A Merry Christmas Feeling” charmingly confirm Nehls knows a good tune when he hears it.

And the cheers and standing ovation that followed the end of the musical were proof the center has something special on its hands.

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