Encore Michigan

Encore Musical Theatre presents family-affair ‘A Christmas Story’

Uncategorized November 07, 2022

DEXTER, MI–The Encore Musical Theatre, Michigan’s award-winning, non-profit professional theatre company, is gearing up for the holidays with A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL.

Described in The New York Times as “a collage of childhood snapshots taken from the tingly, exciting month before Christmas,” the show, based on the popular 1983 movie, was nominated for three Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The story takes place in 1940s Indiana where young Ralphie Parker dreams of the ideal holiday gift — a Red Ryder® Carbine Action BB Gun – despite Mother’s warning that “you’ll shoot your eye out!” With a book by Joseph Robinette, this hilarious and touching family musical boasts a score by University of Michigan alumns Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the songwriting team behind the Tony Award-winning Dear Evan Hansen, the Oscar-winning La La Land and The Greatest Showman.


Narrating the story as “Old Ralphie” is local radio host, BRIAN “BUBBA” COWAN from W4 Country’s Breakfast with Bubba Show. Encore favorite DAVID MOAN (Mamma Mia!, Sweeney Todd, Assassins) will play “The Old Man” and, in the role of “Mother,” is JESSICA GROVÉ (Broadway: Les Misérables, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Sunday in the Park with George, A Little Night Music). Grové, who also serves as The Encore’s Marketing Director, has been seen on The Encore stage in various productions including Into the Woods, directed by husband, fellow Broadway vet and Encore Artistic Director, DAN COONEY, who also helms this production. Their son, GAVIN COONEY (seen at The Encore as John in Fun Home) is taking on the role of RALPHIE, and daughter, LOLLY, joins the children’s ensemble.

In fact, there are three other sets of siblings; CHARLOTTE and LILA TEALL BEAVER, VAAN and CARSON OTTO, and JACK and CORA STEIGER. ELLY BRIGGS, COOPER BUSH, PIPPA GLASS, ELLIOTT GRAY, and ARIA JOHNSON round out the cast of children.

The rest of the large, 25-member cast is comprised of singer/dancers from across the country, including New York and Chicago, as well as local professionals. They are STEPHANIE AINSWORTH, TERRENCE BENNETT,  CODY DENT, ALLEY ELLIS, MITCHELL HARDY, AIDAN JONES, LUCIANA PIAZZA, NATAKI RENNIE, and TAYLOR TOWERS.

Production staff includes Music Direction by R. MacKenzie Lewis (conducting at certain performances will be Brian Rose), Choreography by Jillian Hopper, with assistant choreographer Sasha Yakovenko, Costume Design by Marilee Dechart and Sandee Koski, Set Design by Shane Cinal, Props by Anne Donevan, Lighting Design by Chelsie McPhilimy, Sound Design by Chris Goosman and Sound Engineer Prince Bawhua. Sarah Tanner is Technical Director, Assistant to the Director/ASM is Danielle Kropveld, Production Supervisor is Christina Fisher, and Production Stage Manager is Alexander Kunitz.

The show will be performed from November 25 through December 18. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at theencoretheatre.org, through the box office (no fee) by calling 734-268-6200, or in-person at The Encore Musical Theatre Company, 7714 Ann Arbor Street, Dexter MI 48130. Box office hours are currently Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 10AM – 2PM.

Week of 12/4/2023

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