Out Front Theatre Company is ringing in the season with its first-ever holiday production, the world premiere of The Ethel Merman Disco Spectacular! Decking the halls with holiday tunes December 6-22, the production imagines what the legendary Ethel Merman’s 1979 disco Christmas television special might have been. Featuring a dozen blood-pumping disco Christmas songs, arranged by Out Front’s Resident Musical Director Nick Silvestri, the show takes place at the legendary Studio 54. Written and directed by Out Front Theatre’s Founder and Producing Artistic Director Paul Conroy, the holiday special is the perfect change of pace that will have audiences dancing in the aisles, laughing in their seats and feeling the holiday spirit well into the New Year.
The year is 1979 and the undisputed “Biggest Voice on Broadway” has released her now infamous disco album. A cavalcade of celebrities who make Studio 54 their second home have been recruited to help bring a disco beat to the holiday season, and leading the charge is none other than Ethel Merman herself! Things avalanche into chaos, but “The Merm” can’t be deterred in her quest to hustle around the Christmas tree and into every living room in America! Combine a harried stage manager gripping onto his first big assignment, a love affair that would melt Jack Frost’s heart and a miserly producer who doesn’t seem pleased with anything that is unfolding, and the outcome is a night of entertainment that is exactly what everyone has on their wish list.
“About two years ago I was driving from Boston to Atlanta after spending the holidays with my family,” says Paul Conroy, founder and producing artistic director for Out Front Theatre Company. “Somewhere along the trip, I started to listen to Ethel Merman’s disco album and I thought ‘Why didn’t Ethel ever make a Christmas album?’ and ‘What if she made a disco Christmas album?’ One thing led to another and here we are! But this show is a lot more than a campy night of holiday fun. Ethel was a powerful and strong-willed woman, a fighter to the end. This is a love letter to her fighting spirit and to all of the women who keep this country and this world running in their own special and memorable ways.”
The cast for The Ethel Merman Disco Christmas Spectacular! includes Lynn Grace as Ethel Merman, Russell Scott as Jimmy Sinclair, Rial Elsworth as Mr. Aherns, Davin Grindstaff as Andy Warhol, Alaina Holeman as Donna Summer, Patrick Coleman as Michael Jackson and Brandon Deen as Truman Capote. Rounding out the ensemble are Max Mattox, Caty Bergmark, Cansler McGhee, Emily Whitley, Michael Dotson and Zafyre Sexton.
The production team includes Paul Conroy (writer and director), Nick Silvestri (musical arranger and music director), Jordan Kenyon Smith (choreographer), Justin Kalin (assistant director), Sydney Lee (production stage manager), Jay Reynolds(costume designer), Charles Swift (lighting designer), Austin Kunis (scenic and property design) and Elliott Folds(dramaturg).
Performances run December 6-22, with shows on Thursdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. A special performance will also be staged on Monday, December 17 at 8 p.m. Ticket prices are $15 for children under 13, $20 for students and seniors and $25 for adults. Out Front Theatre Company is located at 999 Brady Ave., Ste. 10, Atlanta, Georgia 30318. For tickets and more information please visit outfronttheatre.com.
About Out Front Theatre Company:
Out Front Theatre Company was established to tell stories of the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intergender, Allied+) experience and community, giving voice to LGBTQIA+ authors, composers, artists, and creators through the medium of theatre and the performing arts. Out Front Theatre Company develops new works and produces classic pieces of theatre that have communicated these stories of the LGBTQIA+ population to a wider audience over time.