The classic holiday television special Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer is coming to the Schuster stage this November.
The classic holiday television special Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer is being brought to life on stage at the Schuster Center on November 16 & 17 in ‘Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer: The Musical.’ All the beloved characters such as Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snowman, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius will be featured. It’s the perfect way to get the holiday season started as those who miss it must be misfits.
Of course the jolly one himself, Santa Claus, is in ‘Rudolph’ and played for the fourth consecutive year by Jason Michael Hammond. Though initially Hammond felt like he wasn’t the ideal candidate to be Santa, he has found it to be a perfect fit. “I never dreamt of playing Santa as I’m not 85 or heavyset. When a friend asked me about auditioning for it, I thought, ‘What are you trying to say about me?’ However in the ‘Rudolph’ television special, Santa is skinny for most of it; so it all works out,” he said.
After more than 160 performances as Santa, Hammond each new one as much as the last. He takes great pride in buttoning up the red suit and serving as a figure who brings joy to so many. “For me as an actor to walk down the hallway of any theatre in any city and see the look in the eyes of some of the hardened tech crew is always a great joy,” said Hammond.
Under the wishes of the family that owns the rights to ‘Rudolph,’ the Musical is a very close depiction of the TV special. The only difference is the addition of some songs that were cut for time on television, including ‘Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree.’ “Everything from the costumes to the trees are identical to what see you on TV. It looks amazing. You usually don’t get to bring cartoons to life, so it’s very cool,” said Hammond.
While just from the visuals alone, Hammond was certain that children would enjoy the show, but has discovered parents and grandparents are just as enthralled. “I didn’t anticipate how much adults would appreciate it. It brings back what they remember from watching the television special 40 years ago and are reliving their childhood memories,” he said. “When the iconic voice of Hermey is heard for the first time, there is laughter and cheers from the adults, because it’s how they remember it.”
All ages will enjoy the magical story of ‘Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer: The Musical’ at the Schuster Center Nov 16 & 17.
Mike Woody is a life long resident of Dayton, and has a passion for writing, which is good because he doesn't excel at much of anything else, except eating.