A young couple juggles competing family expectations during the holidays, literally shopping ‘til they drop. When they finally stop for a cup of hot chocolate, they discover the "secret recipe" that weaves the diverse threads of their lives into new traditions, and reminds us that love and family are at the heart of the holidays. Director/playwright Austene Van and actor/singer Thomasina Petrus last collaborated on Park Square's stage in Gee's Bend (October 2010). Together, they have conceived a contemporary new holiday story filled with music-Hot Chocolate -on stage for 11 performances at Park Square Theatre. Petrus, well known to Park Square audiences for her performances in Constant Star and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, is joined by Julius Collins III, making his Park Square debut.
"This is a sweet and funny story, with local references included, that talks about all our different perspectives of family traditions and the holidays," said Van, who wrote the script in collaboration with Petrus. "We start with a shared experience-holiday shopping-and use it as a way to explore the blending of traditions that is the reality of holiday celebrations in today's world. There is no longer one shared tradition, but a blending of holiday experiences that can cause stress and division. Yet in the end, it is all about sharing the joy of the season with the people you love."
Singing during the holidays is a shared tradition for Van, Petrus and Collins, and this new holiday revue is filled with music, all under the direction of Sanford Moore, who joins the creative team as musical director. Audiences will delight in favorite holiday songs ("Baby, It's Cold Outside;" "Santa Baby;" "The Christmas Song;" "The Little Drummer Boy") as well as tunes by James Brown, Mariah Carey, Dan Fogelberg/Stevie Wonder-and original songs by Petrus herself.
HOT CHOCOLATE's creative team also includes Dean Holzman (Set Designer), Jason Lee Resler (Costume Designer), Michael P. Kittel (Lighting Designer), C. Andrew Mayer (Sound Designer), Abbee Warmboe (Properties Designer), Megan West (Stage Manager) and McKenzie Merges (Assistant Stage Manager).
HOT CHOCOLATE runs for 11 performances: Previews are November 30 and December 1. Opening Night is December 2, and the show runs Fridays through Sundays until December 18. Tickets are $38-$58. (Previews are $25.) Group, senior and special prices for those 30 and under are also offered. Tickets are available at 651.291.7005 or online at www.parksquaretheatre.org. All performances are at Park Square Theatre, 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul, MN.