Happy Endings Guaranteed: FLST brings magic of Christmas romance to stage

Happy Endings Guaranteed: FLST brings magic of Christmas romance to stage

Everybody loves — or loves to hate — the “Hallmark” holiday movies that fill TV screens this time of year. But what would happen if several of those sentimental plots came together live on one stage?

“Who doesn’t love a Christmas movie to get them in the mood for the holidays,” muses Tina Dale, who is directing “The Holiday Channel Christmas Movie Wonderthon” at Fort Smith Little Theatre. And with six “sweet” Christmas romances occurring simultaneously, she promises, “there won’t be a chance to nod off even if theatergoers had a nice meal beforehand!”

Dale says it’s safe to consider the show a farce, adding that “the first, second, third, fourth and subsequent times I read the script, I couldn’t stop laughing. We all need more laughing.”

The comedy is set in Hopewood Falls, Vt., “where singles in adorable sweaters converge to look for love,” according to the script description. The storylines sound very much like the movies being parodied: Can disguises help royalty and/or movie stars find the down-to-earth connections they crave? Will evil city slickers destroy charming inns and/or Christmas tree farms? Isn’t it a little creepy for a meet-cute to depend on one person being in a coma?

Two narrators (Ian Scott and Brett Short) will help the audience navigate the romances of Holly, Evergreen Inn owner (Jamie Lambdin-Bolin), and Brett, the incognito prince of Artemisia (Eric Wells); romance novelists Joy (Victoria Walden) and Paul (Greg Campbell); war reporter Carol (Micki Voelkel) and veterinarian Jackson (Bradley Nance); lawyer Merry (Melissa Vitale) and tree farmer Blake (Charles Belt); Kris, son of the city’s former Santa (Scott Black) and Noelle, Christmas boutique owner (Rikkee Workman-Black); and Sven, another incognito prince, (Hunter Seegers) and movie star Rita (Emilee Dale).

For Lambdin-Bolin, it’s comfortable to be back on stage instead of directing, and she says she couldn’t pass up an opportunity to work with Dale, whom she calls “one of the greatest people I know.” The emotional roller coaster loads up at the Evergreen Inn, she says, which isn’t “making money, and Holly is worried she’ll have to close the business — one her grandfather built with his own hands — for good. To top it off, she’s alone for the holidays. It’s the perfect setup for a classic Christmas movie storyline!”

Of course, no holiday movie is complete without a villain — so enter Laertes (John Hall), a real-estate developer intent on buying the Evergreen Inn. Added to the mix are sassy best friend Bridgette (Meredith Rice), ex-boyfriend Jimmy (John Hall), the kidnapped girl (Sadie Bagley), and Allison Jones and Porter Black playing Prancer and Vixen, the adorable golden retrievers.

“I don’t know that there is much of a moral to the show, but I hope they take away something from it,” Dale says of FSLT audiences. “I hope they are filled with holiday spirit. I hope they are happy. I hope they giggle and guffaw and thoroughly lose themselves in the moment. The holidays can be stressful, but for two hours, they can escape into a winter wonderland where happy endings are guaranteed.

“I have a cast and crew filled with veterans. It’s volunteer community theater, but these people are as professional as they come,” she adds. “I am so thankful each one of them agreed to take part in this show.”

“I hope audiences will be able to sit back and laugh for a while, and welcome all of the bright and silly aspects of the holiday season we know and love,” Lambdin-Bolin puts in.

“For all those that love to curl up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa and watch a sweet holiday movie but also want to get out and do something with the family, this is the perfect compromise,” Dale concludes. “It’s overflowing with Christmas, and what better way than to enjoy the holiday and loved ones than by sharing laughter!”



‘The Holiday Channel Christmas Movie Wonderthon’

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9-11

WHERE — Fort Smith Little Theatre, 401 N. Sixth St.

COST — $7 general admission

INFO — 783-2966 or fslt.org

Categories: Theater