By Gurman Sahota, November 29 2016 —
Moving away from the tradition of the baby, manger and nativity scene, Lunchbox Theatre will host Forte Musical Theatre’s review-style show Naughty… but Nice! for its third year. Filled with new seasonal songs punctuated by the stresses of the holidays, Naughty… but Nice! provides a somewhat cynical take on the Christmas season.
Forte Musical Theatre director Joe Slabe says the show is a fresh take, with half of the songs new and half of the cast even newer. Submissions of works came from across the country, some even arriving from overseas. The themes of the show vary from light-hearted to more traditional sentiments of the season.
“In some cases, we look back at submissions that we really like over the past two years but that one reason or another didn’t fit into the show and a couple of those songs we’ve included this year,” Slabe says. “Sometimes they were just too similar to songs we already had in or they expressed a similar sentiment to a song we had in — so as we retire material, we’re able to bring some new songs as well.”
Cheeky new songs and works from previous performances highlight Naughty… but Nice!, allowing audiences who have seen the show before to still have fun.
“There’s some songs that they’ll recognize and they’ll have fun with. We have a song called Brendan the Brown-Nosed Reindeer about the biggest suck-up in the North Pole and he’s come back this year. We have a song called Bailey’s for Breakfast, which is about making it through Christmas Day by giving yourself a little shot in the morning and this guy takes it to a bit of an extreme over the course of the holiday,” Slabe says. “But then we have new stuff. I’m really excited about another number about a guy who is really into Christmas decorating.”
The show retired the song “Santa’s My Daddy” this year, replacing it with “Waiting Up for Santa” — a playful song with plenty of double entendres for the season.
“It’s very Marilyn Monroe — Santa’s booty call at the end of a long night of delivering presents so then Santa gets a present,” Slabe says.
Audiences have shaped the show over the past three years. Standard holiday songs like “Baby it’s Cold Outside” have been performed, but Slabe says original works garnered more attention.
He says audiences have responded positively to the new material.
“They really liked new numbers, so that’s definitely the direction we’ve gone in because it’s new and they haven’t heard it before and it’s really fresh,” he says.
Calgary culture is reflected in the show through local references. With universal themes of the holiday season sprinkled throughout, submissions were altered to make songs and dialogue more cowtown-local.
Slabe says the show — though naughty — still hopes to be nice for audiences.
“I hope that they laugh at some stresses that we put ourselves under during the holidays, but I think they’re going to come away with a sense that it’s worth it,” he says “It’s worth it in that it allows us time to be with family and friends and celebrate that’s good about the season.”
The show will run from Dec. 6–18, with pay-what-you-can showing on each Tuesday of its run and student pricing available other days.
For more information, visit fortemusicaltheatre.com