Citadel Theatre Company has announced the cast and crew for its holiday Theatre for Young Audiences season production, the musical JUNIOR CLAUS, by the award-winning writing team of Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond. This musical about the only son of Santa and Mrs. Claus will be directed by Gregg Dennhardt, with choreography by Brenda Good and music direction by Aaron Kaplan. There will be matinees daily at 10 am and 1 pm from December 20-30 (no performances Christmas Day, December 25) at Citadel Theatre, 300 South Waukegan Road, Lake Forest. Citadel Theatre is a resident inside the West Lake Forest High School.
The teenaged Junior, like many others his age, is reluctant to take over the family business. Unsure of himself, Junior puts more faith in his technological inventions than in good old-fashioned Christmas magic, much to the chagrin of his father. But, when a sudden drop in Christmas spirit renders Santa incapable of making the great ride, Junior must take the reins. Meanwhile, a scheming, miserly elf takes advantage of Santa's absence as he plots to turn the workshop into a for-profit enterprise. Together with his overly cheery elf best friend, a gregarious penguin and a host of colorful characters, Junior must learn the true meaning of Christmas in time to save the day.
Dennhardt’s cast includes Ben Ballmer (Junior), Bill Chamberlain (Santa), Elizabeth Bushell (Chipper), Joe Bushell (Grumpo), Katy Crow (Mrs. Claus), Ashley Veltman (Pengy), Kylie Sullivan (Dasher), Asha Dale Hopman (Taylor), Mariana Millan (Brunhilde), Jadyn Marder (Elf 1), Archer Geye (Elf 2), and Millie Pickett (Elf 3).
1st Row (L-R): Ben Ballmer, Elizabeth Bushell, Joe Bushell, Bill Chamberlain
2nd Row (L-R): Katy Crow, Archer Geye, Asha Dale Hopman, Jadyn Marder
3rd Row (L-R): Mariana Millan, Millie Pickett, Kylie Sullivan, Ashley Veltman
The production team includes Jeff Award winner Eric Luchen (Set Design), Victoria Jablonski (Costume Design), Samuel Stephen (Lighting Design), Mary Baca (Sound Design), Patrick McGuire (Properties Design), Jason Clark (Master Carpenter), Alex Trinh (Sound Board Operator) and Ellen Phelps (Production Manager).
* Indicates member, Actors Equity Association.
Tickets for JUNIOR CLAUS are now on sale at www.citadeltheatre.org or by phone at 847-735-8554, ext. 1.
Book and lyrics by Christopher Dimond. Music by Michael Kooman.
Directed by Gregg Dennhardt
Choreography by Brenda Good
Music Direction by Aaron Kaplan
December 20 - 30, 2022
Tuesdays through Fridays, plus Saturday, December 24 at 10 am and 1 pm
All seats $20.00
Citadel Theatre, 300 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest, IL
Tickets available online at www.citadeltheatre.org or by phone at 847-735-8554, ext. 1
Junior Claus is the only son of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Like many teenagers, Junior is reluctant to take over the family business. Unsure of himself, Junior puts more faith in his technological inventions than in good old-fashioned Christmas magic, much to the chagrin of his father. But, when a sudden drop in Christmas spirit renders Santa incapable of making the great ride, Junior must take the reins. Meanwhile, a scheming, miserly elf takes advantage of Santa's absence as he plots to turn the workshop into a for-profit enterprise. Together with his overly cheery elf best friend, a gregarious penguin and a host of colorful characters, Junior must learn the true meaning of Christmas in time to save the day.
Gregg Dennhardt (Director) is known as “Doc” for his PhD in Theatre from the University of Illinois. He has directed hundreds of plays and musicals both for children and adults and served as Artistic Director for a Chicago area Equity Theatre for over 30 years. Before that, he taught Theatre at St. Ambrose College, the University of Illinois, the University of Arizona and Northwestern’s National High School Institute. For Citadel he has directed TYT productions of JUNIOR B. JONES, and WINNIE THE POOH (twice). When not doing theatre, he likes sailing on Lake Michigan and sharing family with wife, Lauren; sons, Joel and Jeff; daughters-in-law, Ashley and Kelsey and grandsons, Sam and Jack.
Michael Kooman (Music) and Christopher Dimond (Book and Lyrics) received the 2010 Jonathan Larson Grant and are the first recipients of the Lorenz Hart Award. Between them, they have received the Burton Lane Award, the Harold Adamson Lyric Award, the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Musical Theatre Award, an Anna Sosenko Grant and numerous ASCAP Plus awards and have been three-time finalists for the Fred Ebb Award. Their musical DANI GIRL has been workshopped at the Kennedy Center, American Conservatory Theater, Cherry Lane Theatre, the ASCAP Foundation/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop and the Festival of New American Musicals and was featured in the 2011 NAMT Festival of New Musicals. Currently, they are working on the original musical THE NOTEWORTHY LIFE OF HOWARD BARNES, which will be developed at the O'Neill National Music Theater Conference in the summer of 2013, as well as two separate commissions. They are proud members of The Dramatists Guild, ASCAP and the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. Kooman and Dimond were The Dramatists Guild Fellows, received a fellowship at the O'Neill National Music Theater Conference and attended the Johnny Mercer Songwriters workshop. Their debut album, OUT OF OUR HEADS, featuring an all-star lineup of Broadway performers, is now available on iTunes.
Scott Phelps (Artistic Director) is in his 21st year as the Artistic Director at Citadel. He’s acted in and directed dozens of Citadel productions over the last two decades since founding this North Shore theatre in 2002 with his friend and lifelong companion, Ellen. He has acted/directed in NYC, and in his home state of California, trained as an actor at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Santa Maria, CA, received his BFA from the University of Utah, and did an apprenticeship at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in Kentucky, where he met his wife, Ellen. For 18 years Scott worked for a promotional company and raised his three daughters and his son in Lake Forest. Recently he has been taking on the next chapter of his life — the role of “Beepa,” with his sixth grandson due just in time for Christmas. Although he is unsure if he is old enough to play that part, he’s been enjoying the challenge.
Citadel Theatre. A professional Equity theatre residing at West Lake Forest High School, Citadel Theatre is one of Chicagoland's premier live theatres, producing hundreds of performances annually and inspiring audiences for nearly 20 years. Founded by Scott and Ellen Phelps in 2002, Citadel Theatre is comprised of its Main Stage performances, its On Tour programs, and its theatre acting classes for children. A proud member of the League of Chicago Theatres and the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff ArtsLink, Citadel Theatre offers a unique intimate theatre experience that transports you to another setting and leaves you feeling exhilarated and wanting more. A recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Citadel can accept tax-deductible donations. For more information, ticketing, and to donate, please visit Citadel online at www.CitadelTheatre.org or call 847.735.8554.