It's 'Christmas in Blowing Rock 2'
"Christmas in Blowing Rock" returns to Ensemble Stage, with a double dose of Bing Crosby pizazz. Reminiscent of pre-claymation holiday variety shows, the spectacular serves as a celebration of creator Lisa Lamont's favorite holiday.
"If it would be Christmas every day of the year, I would be in heaven," she said.
She can still remember watching those shows, the likes of Bing Crosby and Perry Como taking center stage.
"Nobody really does that kind of thing anymore, that variety show, there's singing, there's dancing, there's comedy, there's a little bit of everything," she said.
So last year, she decided to bring it back with a vengeance. Mother Nature, however, got in the way. "Mother Nature, don't do this to me again," she laughed, looking at the weather report.
However cold it is outside, she promises things will heat up at Blowing Rock School Auditorium this weekend, as 20 people, including a seven-member kid chorus, take to the stage to celebrate. Think piano. Think guitar. Think a Royal of Academy of Ballet-trained dancer. Think everything. After all, that's the point of a variety show.
"And it's all local people," Lamont said, with Christmas Carols galore.
Think everything from "Happy Holiday" to "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" with "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus" (in the Andrews Sisters vein) and everything in between.
"We've got an interesting take on the '12 Days of Christmas,'" she said. "We've got a solo that's being sung by one of our adult carolers, and her credits are singing for the Key West Opera, and she's sung backup for Barbra Streisand ... We're going to bring up a few kids from the audience and give them antlers and show them how to be a reindeer."
But it's not just about what's happening on the stage. It's about that spirit, that Christmassy warmth that instills more than celebration; it instills community. It's about appreciating what you have, illustrated by a song that's special to Lamont, "Don't Let Christmas Pass You By."
"I wanted to make sure that we got this particular song in there because it's about how Thanksgiving happens and we hurry up and we go to Black Friday... and we have got to do the decorating, and we've got to have the parties and boom! Before you know it, Christmas is over. Make sure you take a moment. Breathe. See what Christmas is all about."
And Lamont's not kidding when she says she wishes every day was Christmas.
"There's just something magical about it," she said. "Life is hard enough with everything that we deal with and the economy these days and everything day to day... it's something to look forward to, to enjoy one another and remember who our family and friends are."
Lamont, a self-described Christmas "dork," is the kind of person who leaves her wreath on the door all year long. "I try to leave my Christmas tree up as long as it stays alive," she said.
Last year? It was out until April.
But Lamont understands not everyone shares her elf-like glee. That's why she, and the rest of Ensemble Stage, is determined to pack as much Christmas spirit into one weekend as humanly (or elfishly) possible. It's the perfect way, she promises, to kick start the holiday for the entire family. After all, it's about Christmas, "everyone's favorite holiday ... it's bright. It's colorful. It's lights. It's twinkling."
And it's all magic.
"Christmas in Blowing Rock 2: A Yuletide Variety Show," written specifically for the High Country, happens Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students, seniors and military and $5 for kids 12 and under. For more information on Ensemble Stage, visit http://www.ensemblestage.com.