Prodigal Sun’s original, quirky variety show also serves as fundraiser

Prodigal Sun’s second holiday production also will serve as fundraiser

Contributing writerDecember 20, 2013 

Dave Beacham and Elizabeth Lord are two of the performers in the “Alternative Holiday Show,” playing Friday and Saturday at The Midnight Sun Performance Space in Olympia.


Olympia is the kind of place where the nontraditional becomes a new tradition.

Take Prodigal Sun Productions’ Alternative Holiday Show, happening Friday and Saturday night.

Produced by storyteller/comedian/vaudeville impresario Elizabeth Lord, it’s billed as “an original, wonderful, weird variety show” for all ages.

This is Prodigal Sun’s second holiday show. The first featured Tony Kushner’s play, “Yes, Yes, No, No” and a performance by the Forever Young Rock and Roll Choir.

This one is pure variety show, curated by Lord and created with help from a merry band of local talent, including Lauren O’Neill (recently seen as the White Witch in Olympia Family Theater’s “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”), Leslie Baker, Dave Beacham, John Ficker and Lydia Beth Leimbach.

Prodigal Sun had always steered clear of holiday fare, but changed to a seasonal theme last year because of the need for a fundraiser for The Midnight Sun Performance Space, the storefront black box theater that houses the theater company and hosts an array of other theatrical and musical productions.

“We all kind of laugh about it, because we all mock holiday shows,” Ficker said last year. “Every theater’s cash cow is the holiday show.

“I don’t know that this will be our cash cow, but it’s definitely something different.”

Audiences got into the quirky holiday spirit last year, Lord said. “People were wonderfully surprised and delighted to have a very different slant on the holiday season.”

This year’s show examines the winter holidays from a more realistic perspective than some traditional productions take, she said.

“When I think of a holiday show, I think of Christmas carols,” she said. “Everything is warm and fuzzy and happy, and everything works out just right.

“Yes, all of those things can happen at the holidays, but there is a human element involved. Sometimes families don’t get along, and sometimes holidays are stressful,” she added. “Part of the show will share a more realistic picture of what a family holiday gathering might look like.”

Which is not to say the show won’t be warm and fuzzy, said Beacham, who appeared in last year’s Prodigal Sun holiday show and is a veteran of “Scrooge” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” at Capital Playhouse.

“It has that nice, warm, gather-around-the-fireplace-with-friends sort of feeling,” he said. “It’s not irreverent, but it certainly isn’t going to see Handel’s ‘Messiah’ being sung at the local church. It certainly isn’t ‘Stardust.’

“This will be enjoyable because it isn’t something you would normally see,” he added.

And if that’s not enough enticement, Lord has another holiday trick up her sleeve.

“We’re giving away free cookies,” she said.

Alternative Holiday Show

What: Prodigal Sun Productions offers a different take on holiday entertainment with a variety show that includes poetry, music, storytelling, skits and more. It’s a fundraiser for Prodigal Sun and The Midnight Sun Performance Space.

When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Where: The Midnight Sun Performance Space, 113 N. Columbia St., Olympia

Tickets: $12-$24 on a sliding scale at brownpaper or at the door.

More information:

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