‘My Favorite Christmas’ opens Monday

Rob Tracy

Morgan DeTogne

Matt DuMont

Elsa Harchick

"My Favorite Christmas," a two act musical produced by the Chatham Theatre Company of Rome, opens Monday with a daily 2 p.m. matinee for a seven week run, ending on Dec. 19, at Beck’s Grove Dinner Theater, 4286 Oswego Road.

Reservations are required for the "family friendly" show and are made by contacting Beck’s Grove owner Linda Dunn at 336-7038. The price for the dinner and show is $41 with a reduced price for children under 12.

"Probably one of the most music intensive shows we’ve ever done" is how director Rod Foote of the Chatham Theatre Company describes the production that features more than 25 songs and medleys that relate to this special season.

"Fortunately," Foote continued, "we have a cast that is more than equal to the task." Three of the cast members were cast from auditions held in New York City in September and are now settling into two more months of Rome living following an intensive rehearsal period.

Musical Director Mark Bunce of Ilion is equally impressed with the talent. "An exceptionally gifted cast with solid musical theater skills" is how Bunce describes his charges.

In addition to both the religious and secular songs of the season, the show also features several comedy sketches and scenes including a "Tony Soprano Christmas Story" and a re-enactment of the famous Francis Church column "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus."

The ensemble cast includes local actor Rob Tracy, now in his 20th year and coming up on his 1600th performance with the Chatham Company, and New York actors Morgan DeTogne, Matt DuMont and Elsa Harchick.

DeTogne, originally from Chicago, is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in music theatre. Among the productions in which she has been featured in various parts of the country are "Oklahoma!," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and "Songs for a New World" at the Prairie Fire Theatre in Normal, Ill.

DuMont, who is just back from two months in Fort Meyers, Fla., appearing in repertory in "Run For Your Wife," and "Caught in the Net," is originally from Norman, OK but raised in Kent, Ohio. A graduate of Marymount Manhattan College in New York City with a bachelor of arts degree in theatre performance, he is a certified rock climbing instructor.

Harchick, originally from Flint, Mich., is a graduate of University of Michigan and has a bachelor of fine arts degree in theatre performance. A veteran of more than 20 stage productions ranging from "Julius Caesar," to "Assassins," she has appeared at New York’s Don’t Tell Mama Cabaret as a featured soloist. She has lived in London, where she studied theatre and visited most of western Europe.

Tracy is now in his 20th year as a professional actor. He serves with or on the boards of Rotary, Capitol Theatre and the Rome Rescue Mission, formerly Welcome Hall. A graduate of Yale and Syracuse Law, he is, according to director Foote, "our go-to guy for just about any role we need."

Foote’s wife, Janet, owner of the Chatham Theatre Company of Rome, produces the production. Costume construction is by Darlene Dixon of Vienna.

Immediately following the opening of "My Favorite Christmas," Foote will go to Shawnee-on-Delaware, Pa., to direct another show he has written, "Christmas at the Stage Door Canteen," for the Shawnee Playhouse.

The professional dinner theater at Beck’s Grove in its 24th year of continuous production.

After the show the Beck’s Grove Christmas outdoor lighting display is on view right. The display features thousands of lights and several animated displays that can be viewed from a car on the drive around the grounds.

On the net: www.chathamtheatre.com