We’ve all been to end-of-year parties. They range from happy celebrations with co-workers to awkward mix-ups with dried baby carrots. Then there’s “Kevin and Susan’s Christmas Party Saves the World” from the Telluride Theatre! a musical and comedic adventure that takes two nerdy data analytics workers out of Santa’s workshop basement and on a mission to, well, save the world. The original holiday show opens Friday at the Sheridan Opera House at 7 p.m. The show runs from Friday to Sunday and next week from Wednesday December 21 to Friday December 23. Doors are at 6:30 p.m. each evening and the SHOW bar is open at 6 p.m.
The show, written by Telluride Theater Artistic Director Sasha Cucciniello and Music Director Ethan Hale, follows the story of Susan and Kevin, two lone elves, who serve as a data analytics department working in an unfamiliar office in the Underworld. floor for Santa Co.
The great man himself, Santa Claus, has been on sabbatical. The two anti-social elves are mysteriously promoted and suddenly find themselves in over their heads. With the holiday spirit at stake, can they save Christmas — and the world?
“Ethan and I have been writing music for over 15 years, countless songs for various shows. He was my first collaborator at Telluride when I wrote ‘A Day’ in 2007,” Cucciniello said. also a deep love for comedy and musical theatre. We talked about writing a musical together, and I’m so glad he agreed. The process was so fun and lovely.
The show is directed by Cucciniello, who also stars as Susan. If multitasking had a face, it’s Cucciniello’s. How does she – act, write, direct?
“I have no idea,” she said. “I think I’m just wired to multi-task, do a ton of different things at once, and create under pressure. That’s how I thrive.
It’s been a while since she’s been on stage and says the internal changes within the company have helped her show off her acting skills.
“I’m so thrilled to be back on stage and so lucky to have an amazing team of people doing magic with me every day,” Cucciniello said. “Melissa Trn, our production manager for the past year, has changed everything for the company. The processes are smooth, on task, brilliantly executed and super stylish thanks to it.
Working with her large ensemble cast has been a “fun and wonderful process,” she noted.
“The cast is beyond amazing, new additions so fun to welcome, our team is awesome and dedicated,” she said. “But having the chance to return to my Tellurid theatrical roots by creating with Ethan Hale has been a dream. He was my first collaborator in town and it’s just been a dream to work with him writing and creating over the past four Finding other artists to work with who are passionate, dedicated and extremely talented has been so rewarding for me.
Hale, who wrote the series’ original music, stars as Kevin.
“This show has been a dream in the making for a while,” Hale said. “As the first full original musical, it really was a great excuse to find the courage to come out on our own, creatively.”
The characters of Susan and Kevin were actually “born” this summer.
“Our idea in principle came from the work we did for the gala in June,” Hale said. “The corporate theme that permeated this event carried over to Kevin and Susan, who are data analysis nerds.”
Hale is well known for his vast musical talents, but perhaps less so for the tremendous skills he brings to stage work. He’s no stranger to the boards and said becoming Kevin was a natural progression.
“I consider myself a bit of a goofy nerd, so the preparations didn’t involve a deep dive into the acting method,” he said. “I just tried to do the best imitation of myself.”
“Kevin and Susan” features a live band that brings energy and color to the show’s songs. Hale not only plays a starring role in the show — in addition to writing and composing music — but directs the musicians, who fly breathlessly from stage to band pit and back again throughout the spectacle.
“The band is awesome,” Hale said. “It’s a motley group of people who have volunteered to play instruments they’ve studied for years or just picked up for this show. All the members do double duty in playing and acting, which is my favorite kind of musical approach.
The show features 14 talented local actors: Sam Burgess, Suzanne Cheavens, Cat Lee-Covert, Jacob Haslem, Ryan Heidenreich, Carly Hodes, Ramie Holmquist, Jessie Jacobson, Sue Knechtel, David MacMillan, Carl McMahon, Ursula Ostrander, Pamela Sante and Lionel Starr. Burgess, Cheavens, Jacobson and Starr are in the group.
Telluride Theater production manager Melissa Trn serves as the show’s assistant director and set designer with Elena Levin providing costume design and Tommy Wince providing lighting design.
Tickets are reserved seating, $20 for students under 18 and $30 for reserved adults with VIP tables for $200. They can be purchased at telluridetheatre.org.
Telluride Theater is committed to advancing the performing arts in our region through innovative productions, educational programs and community involvement. We create theater that lives in moments of truthful human connection, promotes joyful celebration, and is open dialogue, accessible to all audiences. Learn more at telluridetheatre.org.