Among the many delights of the holiday season is the multigenerational dance celebration, Christmas Dreams, being performed this weekend at the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance’s Howe Theatre. Directed by Islanders John and Kara Curtis, the show will offer four performances and is appropriate for all ages.
Christmas Dreams follows the journey of a woman who has suffered an unexplained loss, leaving her estranged from her family, with whom she had always celebrated the holidays. Her life exploration ultimately leads her back to a joyous reunion with her family. Kara says the show is very family friendly with many delightful elements including jazz, tap, contemporary dance, and even some old-fashioned vaudeville. This is their second holiday production on the Island, following last year’s On the Eve. The couple hopes to make this an annual event that will showcase as much Roosevelt Island talent as possible.
The cast includes eight adults, all of whom are “in the industry trying to make it,” says Kara. There are also 13 children in the cast, 11 of whom live on Roosevelt Island. Eleven-year-old Sophie Pinzari and seven-year-old Savannah Renee Rodriguez, who were also in last year’s show, say they are thrilled to participate again. Rodriguez, who started dancing at age three and has performed in commercials and films, is impatient to be old enough to take acting classes at MST&DA (next year!).
When asked about prominent roles or stars, Kara explained that there aren’t any. Christmas Dreams is an ensemble piece with no leads. Although, like last year’s show, the production is dance-driven, Kara says that the show contains more dialogue. John wrote the story and music, helped with arrangements by Kevin DeYoe, who happens to be Kara’s brother.
Kara and John have lived on the Island for eight years, but only discovered MST&DA when she took a music class with her little daughter, now three and a half years old. She says she told John about the beautiful theater and he contacted Executive Director Kristi Towey about putting on a show. Kara began teaching dance at MST&DA last year.
For John, theater is a passion and the shows provide him with a creative outlet. After watching him dance, I was surprised to learn that he didn’t start dancing until he was in college. Kara, who has a BFA from Syracuse University, always hoped to become an actress. She and John met while involved with several out-of-town productions. Both say they are thrilled to again produce the holiday musical.
The production includes performances by Island children.
One of the show’s music numbers showcases the work of Kara’s dance students. Their talent and exuberance were on full display when I watched part of a rehearsal, and their excitement was palpable when they showed me their costumes. Having seen parts of two rehearsals, I can tell you that this show is not to be missed.
Christmas Dreams will be performed Saturday, December 16, at 4:00 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, December 17, at 4:00 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets, available at the door, are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. Children under five are free. For more information: daydreamsdancetheatre.