Ensemble Stage’s 2018 Holiday Musical Variety Show, A Banner Elk Christmas, began on December 7 and will continue showcasing this week through December 14, 15 and 16 at the Hahn auditorium (185 Azalea Circle SE).
Ensemble Stage has dedicated performances to the holiday season for ten consecutive years. Each year, performances are influenced by the nostalgia of different eras, specifically the 60’s and 70’s.
“They’ve always been patterned after the old Andy Williams and Bing Crosby holiday shows that were on TV back in the 60’s and 70’s,” Gary Smith, artistic director of Ensemble Stage, said. “It’s always been kind of that homage to those two holiday-type shows.”
This year, A Banner Elk Christmas will continue this tradition, thematically following the animated aesthetic of the holiday shows of the 60’s and 70’s along with lots of singing, dancing and costumes.
A Banner Elk Christmas will feature a variety of different holiday-inspired music with over 40 different songs, including non-secular and traditional Christmas music, making the show an hour and five minutes long. The music is also paired with accompanying choreography, helping to bring forth a feeling of excitement among the audience.
“Every song is like they did back in the 60’s and 70s’,” Smith said about the featured music. “They’re kind of like their own little vignette, their own little story.”
In addition to a plethora of music, the performance will feature different special effects, such as lighting.
“There’s going to be a ton of lighting effects,” Smith said. “I know that last year there were over 300 lighting cues.”
The backdrops, props and other displays will also reflect the beauty of winter and Christmas.
“Our set designer always makes beautiful sets,” Smith said. “He has gone above and beyond for our Christmas shows — he does every year.”
Smith’s favorite part about the show is its fast pace and how the music projects a liveliness among the audience through its storytelling. According to Smith, by the time the audience is done applauding for the song they just saw, the next one is starting up before they’re even done applauding.
“It’s not just people standing there, singing,” Smith said. “For the most part, people are always moving. There’s a lot of shows that involve that much music that are just songs and not necessarily a story, and will have a lot of lag time between songs. With these, you have to catch your breath as an audience member and as someone on stage.”
A Banner Elk Christmas is a lively performance that reflects the story-telling culture of the 60’s and 70’s, giving the audience a unique experience to fully embrace the holiday season. Tickets for A Banner Elk Christmas can be purchased online, at the box office (185 Azalea Circle SE, Banner Elk) or via phone at (828) 414-1844.
Schedule for Remaining Shows:
- Friday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m.