The Christmas Schooner Closing (Theater and Galleries) Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Wednesdays-Saturdays. Continues through Dec. 31 2011

The opening is a little frightening—not because anything terrible happens, but because that's where you get hit with the biggest barrage of saccharin. A lyric saying "we all have songs, we all have stories." Earnest references to the "baby Jesus." Emphatic jolliness. Even a Christian might get queasy. Thank God it's only temporary. A yuletide tradition since 1995, the musical by John Reeger and Julie Shannon maintains a wholesome holiday tone throughout, but in the end it's the tale of a man who saw a good business opportunity and took it. In the late 1800s a lakegoing captain from Michigan's Upper Peninsula gets a letter from a relative in Chicago lamenting the lack of Christmas trees for the German immigrants there. Well, the U.P.'s got nothing but trees. He decides to make a risky November crossing to supply the demand. It takes a little padding and teasing to give the story heft. Reeger's script serves well enough, though, and Shannon's songs in the hands of director L. Walter Stearns, choreographer Brenda Didier, and a sturdy cast make the initial bout of piety worth sitting through. —Tony Adler

Price: $30-$50

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