Arts and Entertainment

'4 Christmases' set to make its mark

For The Mirror

The world premier of a major new musical in Federal Way may seem a little oxymoronic. Nonetheless, that’s what will happen this Friday at 8 p.m. when “4 Christmases” opens at Knutzen Family Theater.

The show will continue through Dec. 11. Tickets are available in advance from Centerstage at 661-1444 and www.centerstagetheatre.com

Centerstage Theatre’s production, with writing by three-time Grammy nominee John Forster., a cast of 24 and more than 100 costumes, tells the story of a third-rate regional English theater company and the Christmas show they present every year between 1937 and 1940.

The “play-within-a-play” is familiar only by name to American audiences –– “Pinocchio.” The style, however, is virtually never seen in North America –– the traditional English Christmas pantomime, or panto.

Families in Britain have been attending pantos for hundreds of years. To Brits, the panto is an integral part of the holiday season.

Forster wrote the music and lyrics for “How To Eat Like A Child,” one of the most performed shows in the country. His lyrics for, “Eleanor –– An American Love Story,” have been published by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

His satirical revue, “Both Barrels,” had a long run in Los Angeles, where it received a Los Angeles Times “Best of the Best” citation for 1998. It went on to an off-broadway stand.

As a record producer, he has written and produced albums for children with Tom Chapin and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen.

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