A little theatre’s upcoming Christmas musical and big move
On Dec. 6 at 8 p.m., the Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance will be bustling for the opening night of The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical. There will be special discounts for students and seniors and a cash/card bar for beer, wine, soft drinks and bottled water. Spoiler alert, this musical “contains pervasive tasteless humor and adult language.” Based on the book by Betsy Kelso and music/lyrics by David Nehls, The Great American Trailer Park Christmas is so popular that it is being presented 15 times to meet the demand, said the WSTA artistic director Jamie Lawson. This musical, an angel tree and an exciting move for the theatre has Lawson and the WSTA Board and volunteers extra busy during this holiday season.
The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical’s description on the WSTA’s website states, “It’s holiday time again down in Armadillo Acres (North Florida’s premier mobile-living community), and everyone’s filled with warmth and beer. But when a freak bout of amnesia strikes the trailer park Scrooge, neighborly love is put to the test. Be on hand as Betty, Lin, and Pickles jingle all the way with some new neighbors in a cat-fightin’, sun-worshippin,’ chair-throwin’ good time, but with tinsel and Keg Nog.”
Lawson is inviting everyone to cozy-up and enjoy the show that runs through Dec. 22. Lawson said attendees should enjoy this “little comedy holiday-relief humor” while participating in the WSTA Angel Tree for the children of The Parenting Path (Positive Actions, Thriving Homes), which provides services and support groups for the prevention and treatment of child abuse.
Lawson said he is pleased to receive so many comments about people having such a good time based on the close proximity of the audience to the stage and each other in the theatre. That intimacy is something he said they plan to keep as one of WSTA’s calling cards in their planned 2021 move to 650 W. 6th St.
This 501(c)(3) nonprofit community theatre is reaching out to raise awareness to complete renovations and finish paying for the new space (partially paid for by a donor) with its “Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance Capital Homecoming Campaign” just in time for year-end tax deductions. To date, Lawson confirmed they had reached $950,000 of the $1.5 million goal.
The deadline to be out of WSTA’s existing space by the end of summer 2021 has everyone scattering to organize and plan the move of four buildings into one.
“There is so much up in the air as we try to work towards this goal and, at the same time, provide a production each month,” Lawson said. “It’s just hard to say what comes next as it all hinges on how much we raise. We are hoping people are in a giving mood at the holidays.”
Lawson said that as they progress, WSTA would hold special events along the timeline of the move. He said they would be getting everything ready to roll and move in once the sprinklers are installed, which is a huge expense in itself. Depending upon the money raised, Lawson said they hope to upgrade some of the technology as well. The proposed floor plans can be found on the WSTA website along with directions on how to receive the Homecoming Campaign package for those who are interested in being a part of this historic venture.
This emailed package contains information from the Board of Directors so investors can understand the plans for the new space.
“An increase from 88 seats to 200 seats means less wear-and-tear on volunteer casts and crews by reducing the number of performances needed for each show. Shorter runs also reduce royalty costs and musician stipends incurred for performances. Providing central, on-site space for costumes, props, and sets decrease volunteer efforts and transportation expenses to move them back and forth to an offsite storage facility. Owning its own home (even with repairs and upkeep, depreciated maintenance, and associated operating costs) saves facility occupancy expenses (rental) that currently take 22% of the Theatre’s annual operating budget.”
“Family” is what came to mind when the “Friends of Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance” were asked to use a word that best describes the WSTA organization.
Lawson presented the following line-up of 2020 shows that may be purchased as a Season Member 2019-2020 SixPix with The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical. Disaster! opens on Jan. 17; Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story opens on Feb. 14; Evita opens on March 13; Something Wicked This Way Comes opens on April 17, and Urinetown opens on May 15.
TERRY RADER is a freelance writer/editorial/content/copy, creative consultant/branding strategist, communications outreach messenger, poet and emerging singer/songwriter.
Dec. 6-22, 8 p.m. for Tues.-Sat. shows and 2 p.m Sun. shows. Tickets are $16 for student/senior, $18 for general admission at brownpapertickets.com. Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance, 1047 W. Northwest Blvd., (336)723-7777, www.theatrealliance.ws/.