by Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS
This season’s The Stardust Christmas Fandango at Harlequin Productions is a Christmas card of comedy, nostalgia and great ’60s music. This year will mark the 22nd installment of this locally written and produced entertainment, centered around the Stardust nightclub in New York at Christmastime.
“It’s a great alternative holiday entertainment that covers around 20 hits from 1961 and before. It’s situational musical comedy, but not without some historical insights for the period and the various stresses that performers felt in pursuing a successful career in ‘the business,’” said director Linda Whitney. “We’ve assembled a fine cast and extraordinarily experienced musicians to perform these classics.”
The all-star cast includes Christian Doyle in his sixth consecutive Stardust show, Maggie Ferguson-Wagstaffe in her fifth, Jeff Barehand, Miguel Pineda, Bruce Haasl, Amy Shephard, Ashley Chandler, Christie Oldright, and band leader Bruce Whitney.
Set in a Greenwich Village nightclub, the story centers around Amelie Jardin (Oldright) a French-American movie star in Manhattan for her most recent movie premier and dropping by the club to meet Frankie (Pineda) because she has a film role she thinks is right for him. The nightclub setting, the Christmas season and the gathering of entertainers is a recipe for song and dance, romance and comedic hijinks.
“The Stardust Christmas Fandango touches on the influence of Mexican, Latino, Chicano and Caribbean music of the mid-20th century in America. Add to that a peek at the emerging awareness among women in the film industry that they would have to take more control of their destinies. We wanted to get various viewpoints — Mexican, Native American and a French transplant — into the room to explore their hopes and fears at that moment of prosperity in America when so much was still unknown,” Whitney said.
Since beginning the series more than 20 years ago with a story set in 1941, and finally moving ahead to the 1960s a few years back, the series has become a unique Olympia experience. “Looking back is always rewarding, but we try to bring something new and entertaining to a story we thought we already knew,” shared Whitney.
WHAT The Stardust Christmas Fandango
WHERE Harlequin Productions’ State Theater,
202 Fourth Ave. E, Olympia
WHEN 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 30-Dec. 31
HOW MUCH $25-$49
LEARN MORE 360-786-0151 | harlequinproductions.org