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Asolo Rep Announces Outdoor Holiday Concert, We Need A Little Christmas

Posted: November 20 / 2020

(SARASOTA, FL) – Asolo Rep rings in the holiday season with We Need a Little Christmas, a holiday concert under the stars perfect for the whole family. We Need a Little Christmas will be performed at Asolo Rep’s newly constructed Terrace Stage, an open-air venue located in front of its box office at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. It previews December 17, opens December 18 and runs through January 3.

The production was conceived by and will be co-directed by Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards and Associate Artistic Director Celine Rosenthal, and music directed by Tony® nominee Steve Orich (Broadway: Jersey Boys, The Cher Show and more, Asolo Rep: The Music Man, Ragtime, Beatsville, Josephine, Pulse).

A little bit camp. A little bit sentimental. A whole lot of fun. We Need a Little Christmas is a joyful celebration of the season’s spirit of togetherness. Brimming with colorful re-imaginations of your favorite holiday and musical theatre songs, this not-to-miss production will star some of Asolo Rep’s most beloved artists alongside a live orchestra. Because, while 2020 has been filled with doom and gloom, the magic of live theatre is definitely not cancelled. 

We Need a Little Christmas is, of course, a song from Jerry Herman’s iconic musical Mame,” said Asolo Rep Associate Artistic Director Celine Rosenthal. “But our holiday concert is about so much more than Christmas – it is a celebration of our patrons finally coming home to the theatre. We chose this title because of what the song represents: persevering and rejoicing no matter what obstacles may stand in your way.”

A celebrated performer, Matthew McGee (Asolo Rep: The Music Man, Rhinoceros, Living on Love, Josephine) will lead the all-star ensemble as the emcee, bringing some of the most beloved divas of all time to life with a little holiday flair. Asolo Rep Associate Artist and award-winning director Peter Amster will make his Asolo Rep onstage debut. The cast also includes Ann Morrison (Broadway: Merrily We Roll Along [OBC], Asolo Rep: The Sound of MusicBeatsville), Jenny Kim-Godfrey (Asolo Rep: The Music Man) and Eileen B. Lymus.

“In this world-altering moment, we recognize the profound need to create a sense of camaraderie, joy and empathy that live theatre has the unique ability to nurture and inspire,” said Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. “We eagerly embrace the responsibility to our community to bring people back to the theatre as safely and as quickly as possible. I am so proud that our staff, our board, our local artists and our supporters have banded together, in spite of unprecedented obstacles, to create this exuberant holiday musical event.”

We Need a Little Christmas is the first of hopefully many outdoor productions. The theatre will announce updates to its 2020-2021 season early in January. The outdoor concert series is underwritten by a generous $75,000 challenge gift by Drs. Joel and Gail Morganroth, who will serve as the Headline Sponsor. Also, Asolo Rep extends a special thanks to the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation for their additional support this season and underwriting this series.


Health and Safety Protocols
Asolo Rep Outdoor Performances


Following the guidance of government health officials, Asolo Rep has implemented several policies to help make your experience as smooth and safe as possible.


· Advanced ticket sales only, cut off is two hours prior to performance. No walk-up sales.

· Upon arrival at venue, patrons, staff and volunteers will receive no-contact infra-red temperature checks.

· Ticketless entry: print-at-home and mobile tickets only.

· There will be two points of entry into the performance venue to control traffic flow.

· Masks are required by patrons, staff, and volunteers at all times when inside seating area.

· Concessions will not be available for purchase and food and drinks are not allowed in the seating area.

· Performances will be approximately 70 minutes with no intermission.

· Outdoor venue seats 200. Seats are arranged in groups of two and are socially distanced.

· No physical playbills; performance information will be projected on large screens, emailed to patrons, and available on Asolo Rep’s website.

· Portable outdoor restrooms will be available.

· Patrons will not have access to the building.

· Hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout venue.

· Prior to and following each performance, all seats and common areas will be disinfected with an electrostatic sprayer.


Cast and Creative Teams:

· Casts will be kept small for all productions. Local performers will be used.

· All actors and creative team members must provide a negative COVID-19 test prior to the start of rehearsals.

· Actors, stage managers, creative team and staff will be tested weekly.

· Rehearsal processes will begin virtually.

· On-site rehearsals will be socially distanced and held outside with hand sanitizing stations provided.

· Company members are required to follow all safe distancing practices when not in rehearsal.

· Visitors are not allowed in rehearsal areas or backstage.

· Masks are required in at all times except when the necessity of performance calls for it.

· Orchestra will be kept small and members will be socially distanced during all rehearsals and performances. No woodwind instruments will be permitted.

· Costume changes during shows will be eliminated or completed by the actor as much as possible.

· No sharing of props and costume pieces.

· Performers will be 12’ from one another and the audience at all times.




(In Alphabetical Order)

PETER AMSTER …………..…………………… Performer

JENNY KIM-GODFREY….……………….......… Performer

EILEEN B. LYMUS ………..................………… Performer

MATTHEW MCGEE ……………..………………… Emcee

ANN MORRISON ....…………………………… Performer


Selected Creative Team Members


Co-Director …………………….. Michael Donald Edwards

Co-Director ………….....……………….. Celine Rosenthal

Music Director and Arranger …………..…….. Steve Orich

Scenic Designer ….…………………….. Adam C. Spencer

Costume Designer ……………………….. David M. Covach

Lighting Designer ……………………………….. Ethan Vail

Sound Designer………………………….. Matthew Parker

Projection Designer ..................................... Aaron Rhyne

Hair & Make-Up Designer ........................... Michelle Hart



PETER AMSTER THIRTEENTH SEASON (Performer) We Need a Little Christmas marks Peter’s return to the other side of the footlights in over 20 years. In the meantime, he’s been directing and choreographing theatre, musicals, and opera all over the country. Sarasota is now his home, and Asolo Rep audiences might remember his work as director of such shows as Living On LoveBorn YesterdayYou Can’t Take It With YouA Doll’s House, Part 2; and last season’s Murder on the Orient Express. Deep gratitude to Michael and Linda for keeping the flame alive during these dark times.


MICHAEL DONALD EDWARDS FIFTEENTH SEASON (Director) is in his 15th season as Producing Artistic Director of Asolo Rep. He was previously the Associate Artistic Director of Syracuse Stage and served as Artistic Director of Shakespeare Santa Cruz. A Garland Award and Drama League Award-winning director, Mr. Edwards has directed at Cleveland Play House, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Geva Theatre, Syracuse Stage, San Jose Rep, Opera San Jose, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Old Globe in San Diego, Virginia Stage Company, the Virginia Opera, the State Theatre of South Australia, Opera Australia, Victoria State Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera. In previous seasons for Asolo Rep, Mr. Edwards has directed The CrucibleDisgracedOur BettersThe Grapes of WrathClybourne ParkMy Brilliant DivorceHamlet, Prince of CubaLas MeninasLa BêteThe Last Five YearsThe Life of GalileoPerfect MendacityThe Winter’s TaleEquusA Tale of Two CitiesDarwin in MalibuNobody Don’t Like YogiAmadeusThe Smell of the Kill.

MATTHEW MCGEE FOURTH SEASON (Emcee) is excited to entertain Asolo Rep audiences once again. His favorite Asolo Rep credits include Bruce in Living on Love, Cafe Owner/Bald Soprano in Rhinoceros and the hilarious Mrs. Shinn in The Music Man. Other favorite theatre credits include Bialystock in The Producers, Charlemagne/Berthe in Pippin, and Edna Turnbald in Hairspray. Film credits include Waiting on Mary (currently on iTunes), Small GroupCommes Des Filles, and others. An accomplished drag artist, Matthew has entertained Suncoast audiences for over 20 years. Follow Matthew on Instagram: @thematthewmcgee. www.thematthewmcgee.com

ANN MORRISON SEVENTH SEASON (Performer) is a professional actor, writer, and director whose career spans 40 years. She was last seen on the Asolo Rep stage as Frau Schmidt in The Sound of Music. She has starred in original roles on Broadway (Merrily We Roll Along and LoveMusik); on London’s West End (Peg); Off-Broadway (Goblin Market); and leading roles at regional theaters across the country. She is represented on more than a dozen recordings and is a recipient of the 2010 John Ringling Tower Award. Other accolades include Best Actress at the United Solo Festival, 1981 Theatre World Award, and 1986 Drama Desk Award nomination. Ann is featured in the documentary Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened.

STEVE ORICH SIXTH SEASON (Music Director/Arranger) On Broadway, he received a Tony® nomination for his orchestrations for Jersey Boys and recently wrote orchestrations for The Cher Show. Tours: Annie, Godspell, A Class Act. Regional Theatre: Asolo Rep (The Music Man, Ragtime, Beatsville, Josephine, Pulse); Paper Mill Playhouse (West Side Story, Can-Can); Hollywood Bowl (Bernstein's Mass); Pasadena Playhouse (Do I Hear a Waltz?, 110 in the Shade); Geffen Playhouse (Paint Your Wagon); Mark Taper Forum (The Great American Songbook); Theatreworks (Snapshots, A Christmas Memory); The Goodman Theatre (Turn of the Century); Goodspeed Opera House (You Never Know, Both Barrels). He has orchestrated and/or conducted dozens of albums including the Grammy-winning cast album for Jersey Boys. His orchestrations have been performed by the National Symphony, the Boston Pops, the BBC Orchestra, at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the White House and around the world.

CELINE ROSENTHAL FIFTH SEASON (Director) is an NYU Tisch alum, Tony®-nominated producer (Leap of FaithSeminar) and a New Georges Jammer. She is the recipient of directing fellowships at Manhattan Theatre Club and Asolo Rep, as well as an SDCF Observership. Her work has been seen at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London, NYMF, New York City Center, MMAC, 54 Below, 59E59, Abingdon Theatre, and in the Broadway’s Future Songbook Series at Lincoln Center. Recent projects include Chicago at Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis; A Doll's House at The Studio Theatre; Drowning in Cairo at The National Queer Theater; the FSU/Asolo Conservatory production of Motherf***er with the Hat; and last season's Asolo Rep Educational Touring production of The Tempest. www.celinerosenthal.nyc



Tickets for We Need a Little Christmas start at $25 for blanketed seating in the grass. Patrons must bring their own blankets. Seated tickets start at $40.

Tickets go on sale to Asolo Rep subscribers only beginning at noon on Wednesday, November 18. Tickets go on sale to the general public beginning at midnight, Saturday, November 21.

Tickets are on sale online only at www.asolorep.org.

Tickets cannot be purchased in-person at the box office or by phone. If patrons have questions, they should email Patron Services at patronservices@asolo.org.

Patrons can print their tickets at home, have their tickets scanned on their phones or there will be two box-office tables available for check-in.

Ticket sales will be cut off two hours prior to all performances. Walk-up tickets will not be available.