WEST CHESTER, PA — Uptown Knauer Performing Arts Center is celebrating the holiday season with theatre, music, and film throughout the month of December. The Chester County performing arts destination will welcome audiences and warm hearts with a funny and heartfelt play that honors the meaning of the season; a big band ode to the most wonderful time of the year; holiday movie classics and themed cocktails, hot chocolate matinees, and Christmas Cookie Cocktail hours.
Onstage now through December 23rd is The Butterfingers Angel, Mary & Joseph, Herod The Nut, & The Slaughter Of 12 Hit Carols In A Pear Tree, a smart and poignant retelling of the greatest story ever told. During the run of ‘Butterfingers Angel,’ Uptown is serving Mistletoe Martinis and hot apple cider, both spiked and non-alcoholic, along with hot chocolate at every afternoon matinee. Thursday evening performances feature Cocktail and Cookie Hours, with complimentary Christmas cookies served in Mac’s Lounge.
Uptown’s popular $5 Movie Monday is running through the month with the legendary Frank Capra film, It’s A Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, on Monday, December 12th and The Man Who Invented Christmas on Monday, December 19th. Films are at 7PM and include free popcorn. Later in the month, audiences will enjoy the Big Band sounds of Larry McKenna and Erich Cawalla’s
The Last Big Band Holiday Show, on Thursday, December 20th at 7:30 PM. Ticket prices to shows vary. There are discounts and savings available for families, seniors, students and military available for theatre performances with group savings for . ten or more tickets.
All performances are on the Roy A. Smith Mainstage at Uptown, at 226 N. High Street. For more about shows, theatre subscriptions and other events, visit uptownwestchester.org.
The Butterfingers Angel is a delightful Christmas play
Uptown has kicked off its new theatre season with The Butterfingers Angel, by TONY Award-winner William Gibson (The Miracle Worker.) A fumbling young Angel announces to Mary that she has been chosen to become a mother. But Mary is a free spirit, and her plans do not include marriage, or motherhood. Once a bewildered Joseph is won over, an antic pageant of Tree, Sheep, Donkey, Cow, Kings, and others set off on the road to Bethlehem. The Butterfingers Angel is filled with Christmas songs, entertainment, reverence and joy, but the true significance of the occasion is never lost. The Boston Herald-American said the play is, “Angelic…beguiling wit and humor…as likable as it is lively…” The Syracuse Herald said it is “…a gift of love and hope to the world.”
At all performances, audiences of a legal age can purchase a Mistletoe Martini from Mac’s Foxhole Bar. This holiday drink is made with Tito’s Vodka and White Cranberry Juice and is garnished with cranberries. Hot Spiked Apple Cider will also be available and non-alcoholic Hot Apple Cider will also be available. There will be Hot Chocolate Matinees on Wednesday December 7, Sunday December 11, Wednesday December 14, Sunday December 18, and Wednesday December 21. All matinees are at 2 PM and audiences will find hot chocolate on the pre-show bar menu.
Before each Thursday performance, there will be complimentary Christmas Cookies during a pre-show cocktail hour in Mac’s Foxhole Lounge at 6 pm with all performances at 7 PM. This fun addition to the show is on December 8, December 15, and December 22.
On Thursday, December 8th, after the show audiences can meet and talkback with the director of the show, Domenick Scudera.
Film for $5
It’s a Wonderful Life
Monday, December 12, 7 pm
It’s time to engage in the December debate over which is the best holiday film ever produced. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is arguably first on almost every list. Directed by Frank Capra and released in 1946, James Stewart stars as George Bailey, an ambitious young man who delays his every dream of travel, adventure and the world beyond small-town Bedford Falls to help his family and community. We won’t reveal more for newcomers to this classic film, but we’ll share that it has become a family tradition to watch together at the holiday season. Capra revealed that it was his favorite among the films he directed and that he screened it for his own family every Christmas season. Join us to watch on the big-screen and start (or continue) your own friendly debate.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and has been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made. It was No. 11 on the American Film Institute‘s 1998 greatest movie list, No. 20 on its 2007 greatest movie list, and No. 1 on its list of the most inspirational American films of all time.
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Monday, December 19, 7 pm
In 1843, a struggling writer named Charles Dickens was under pressure to produce a new book in time for Christmas just six weeks away. He had success four years earlier with “Oliver Twist” but his subsequent efforts had not been well received. He decides to write and self-publish a new book, “A Christmas Carol.” Drawing on observations from the streets of London – watching a wealthy man’s funeral that no one attended – and being visited during the writing by his own eccentric father, plus drawing on remembrances of his own childhood of poverty, factory work, and debtor’s prison, in six harried weeks Dickens writes the story that has come to define the spirit of Christmas. The film is based on the 2008 book of the same name about Charles Dickens by Les Standiford. Regarding the film’s historical accuracy, actor Dan Stevens (Charles Dickens) said, “Frankly, whether it’s historically accurate I’m not that concerned about. I was interested in that moment of the creative process, watching a great man struggle – to me, that’s dramatically and comedically interesting.”
The Last Big Band Holiday Show
Tuesday, December 20, 2022 7:30PM
Tickets: $35 in advance, $40 at the door
There is nothing like a seventeen piece big band to celebrate this holiday season. The Last Big Band returns to the stage under the direction of saxophonist-bandleader and crooner Erich Cawalla. Special guest saxophonist, Philadelphia’s legendary Larry McKenna, will join the band with some original arrangements.
Reading PA native Erich Cawalla released his first-full length solo album at his hometown Berks Jazz Festival in front of 700 people on March 30th featuring a 26-piece band and orchestra performing songs in The Great American Songbook as well as one original composition. Songs from the album are receiving airplay throughout the world.
WRTI stated in a recent Hometown Heroes Spotlight on Larry – “Hailed as one of the world’s finest jazz saxophone players, Larry McKenna is firmly rooted in his Philadelphia birthplace where he has spent over six decades showcasing a gorgeous tenor saxophone sound. Aside from being a frequent guest on recordings by other top jazz players, Larry has released three records under his name to critical acclaim.” Larry is quite simply, a living legend.
Audiences can plan a holiday celebration in West Chester with lunch or dinner at the wide variety of restaurants within walking distance of the theatre or a pre-show cocktail at Mac’s Foxhole Lounge and Bar in Uptown’s lobby. Nearby parking is available within a block of the theatre. They can enjoy West Chester’s Lights Up Holiday Weekends including lights on Gay, Market, and High Street and the 25-foot Christmas tree on the lawn of the courthouse. Uptown donors enjoy discounts at Uptown’s Dining Partners – Limoncello, Greystone Oyster Bar, Roots, Opa Taverna, Sedona Taphouse, Dolce Zola, Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, Mae’s West Chester, and others.
Uptown’s 2022-2023 theatre season continues in the new year with Katori Hall’s spellbinding reimagination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final hours in the Olivier Award-winning Best New Play, The Mountaintop, running February 1 to February 26, 2023. The season concludes in the spring with a family-friendly finale as audiences experience a classic story through Laura Eason’s adaptation of Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer running April 19 to May 7, 2023.
For more information about the upcoming theatre season and all the music, dance, comedy, film and special events happening at Uptown, visit https://uptownwestchester.org/.
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