The Coterie’s ‘Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ charms young audiences

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Get ready for a big dose of heart-warming cuteness when you attend The Coterie’s Christmas show, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” based on the animated TV classic of the same name.

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“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” opened Friday, Nov. 11 at the theater on the lower level of Crown Center to a full house and a nearly packed floor area for the youngest and the youngest of heart attendees. As Sam the Snowman entered, the floor audience let a chorus of giggles and laughs. Soon, the snowman broke into “Holly, Jolly Christmas” and Christmas filled the air–or so it seemed on a warm November evening. But, inside The Coterie, the air conditioning helped create the feeling of winter and the elaborate set for “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Make no mistake, the show is sugar, sweetness, peppermint, toys, elves, Santa, reindeer, and just perfect to usher in the Christmas season. The show is an absolute delight for youngsters of all ages. The show is light-hearted, chocked full of singing and dancing, and presents a cast that works in harmony to provide laughs for the adults while still aiming at their young audience The show ends on a strong note with audience participation in a sing-a-long. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer–The Musical” hits on all cylinders. No one will leave disappointed in this production.

“In 1964, the beloved stop-motion animated television classic, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” made its network television debut delighting audiences across the country,” The Coterie said. “Today, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” is rapidly becoming a tradition for generations of children and adults and The Coterie once again brings the show to life on stage for fans in Kansas City. As one reviewer put it, “If adorable is at the top of your Christmas list, save an afternoon or evening for “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical… As rich as eggnog!”

Fun songs, bright red and green costumes, happy singing and dancing elves, singing and dancing reindeer, Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Hermey–the elf that wanted to be a dentist–all help bring the happiness and charm to the story. Of course, credit for this live extravaganza goes to director Jeff Church and his team that work behind the scenes to make the magic of live theater so enjoyable.

Jeff Church (director), led the production team that includes, Anthony T. Edwards (music director), Marc Wayne (choreographer), Scott Hobart (set designer & technical director), Jarrett Bertoncin (lighting designer), Georgianna Londré Buchanan (costume designer), David Kiehl (sound designer), Caitlin Brisendinec (properties & puppets refurbishment), Kansas City Costume Co. (reindeer fabricators), William J. Christie (production stage manager), and Chloé N. Robbins Anderson (production assistant & deck manager).

The cast of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” features local actors Tony Pulford (as Rudolph), Ron Lackey (as Sam the Snowman), Jake Walker (as Coach Comet/Yukon Cornelius), David LeVota (as Hermey the Elf), Elise Campagna (as Clarice), Zachrey York (as Santa), Emily Nan Phillips (as Mrs. Donner/Mrs. Claus), and Jake Golliher (as Donner/Snoken puppeteer). Several returned in the roles they portrayed in a previous Coterie production on the show. Some, changed roles for this production.

Pulford said he enjoyed playing Rudolf for the second time. He said it gave him a chance to have more fun with the role and slightly change some of it to make it more fun. Ron Lackey holds a lock on Sam the Snowman. He’s perfect for the part. Jake Walker changed characters to play Yukon Cornelius and brought an element of fun to the character. David LeVota was sincere in the Hermey the Elf. Overall, the entire cast was perfection for this show. The audience could tell they all were enjoying themselves.

Additionally, the cast also consists of some young professional actors including Evan C. Phillips (as Boss Elf/Snoken puppeteer), Jake Bartley (as Fireball/Snoken puppeteer), and Fisher Stewart (as Fireball/Snoken puppeteer), as well as Allison Banks, Cam Burns, Marek Burns, Philip Hanson, Darcie A. Hingula, Zoe London, D’Andre McKenzie, Drake Taylor, Hannah Thompson, and Jacob Valle ( as Elves/Snoken puppeteers).

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer–The Musical” continues at The Coterie Theatre on the lower level of Kansas City’s Crown Center. For tickets, dates, times, and more information, consult The Coterie website. Reservations encouraged to avoid sell outs. Tickets range from $12-$17. The show continues through Dec. 31.
Tags: Theater, Children’s Theater, Performing Arts, Arts & Entertainment, The Coterie, Crown Center, Kansas City, Kansas City Theater, Musical, “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer–The Musical”

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