What child is this?

By Eric Gallippo
Joseph (Jonathan Wagner) sings to Mary (Lara Bidus) in BoarsHead's "Hymn & Carol." Background (from left): Sharriese Hamilton, Nathan M. Hosner, Kristi Starnes. (Courtesy of Trumpie Phtography)

‘Hymn’ offers modern nativity scenes

BoarsHead Theater offers an update of the original Christmas story this week when it opens Paul Slade Smith’s “Hymn & Carol.”

Director Kristine Thatcher said the production features a series of songs and monologues performed by an ensemble cast that makes connections between a modern version of the nativity story and the one found in the Bible. “I guess it’s a story that goes on and on and on,” Thatcher said. “It can be told in any context. It can be told in any time.”

While the story is at the heart of the Christian religion, Thatcher said it’s one that people of all faiths can appreciate and find hope in.

“There’s also something there for everybody who just voted in the last election and is looking for a ray of sunshine and hope of some kind, a new day,” Thatcher said. “In fact, as we’ve rehearsed this, I can’t tell you how many political allusions we’ve had as we go from one scene into another.”

The music in the show is a mix of sacred and modern, including tunes by Bach, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Chet Baker.

The cast includes the return of BoarsHead favorites Nathan Hosner and Jonathan Wagoner (“Moonlight & Magnolias,” “The People vs. Friar Lawrence”) and Sharriese Hamilton (“The All Night Strut,” “The People vs. Friar Lawrence”).

The show also includes some newcomers, including potential Christmas star Bryant Bently. “He’s just brilliant and intense and always like a bright light,” Thatcher said.

‘Hymn & Carol’

BoarsHead Theater
Through Dec. 21
7 p.m. Wednesday & Thursday
8 p.m. Friday & Saturday
2 p.m. Sunday
425 S. Grand Ave., Lansing
(517) 484-7805

‘Folly,’ jolly Christmas
Lansing Civic Players is inviting theater-goers to a 1960s-style holiday special hosted by the Dodds — Felice and Navi, that is — this weekend with its production of “Firehouse Follies presents: Holiday Extravaganza.” The couple has high hopes for throwing the perfect Christmas bash, but they’ll have to contend with their outrageous guests in this comedic, musical holiday special by Rob Roznowski and Tony Sump.
“Firehouse Follies presents: Holiday Extravaganza” Dec. 5-14. 8 p.m. Friday & Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Hannah Community Center, 819 Abbot Road, East Lansing. $8-$15. (517) 484-9115. www.lansingcivicplayers.org.

The one that I want

If you’re looking for a song and dance that has nothing to do with Christmas, the Wharton Center opens a six-day run of “Grease” next week. Catch the classic rock ‘n’ roll musical as performed by the touring broadway production, full of hits like “Summer Nights” and “The One that I Want.”
“Grease.” Dec. 9-14. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Wharton Center. $25-$60. 1 (800) WHARTON. www.whartoncenter.com.