Theater's visually stunning effects help celebrate the seasons
Giant cacti, tumbleweeds attached to old lawnmowers, vultures made from bird cages and the obligatory bad guys bring people to the Old West in the Redmoon Theater's annual Winter Pageant, beginning Dec. 5.
Now in its 12th year, Redmoon's Winter Pageant celebrates the changing of the seasons, including the optimistic idea that spring will come.
"It's just a really great family show," says director Frank Maugeri. "It's really a giant picture book. The images come together and tell the story about a lonesome traveler who recently lost his best friend, his horse named Clop."
It's designed to appeal to both adults and children.
Using handmade puppets, mechanical devices and surprising visual tricks, the musical follows Lonesome Pete and a singing Man in the Moon, who guides Pete across the entire West.
Most importantly, Maugeri explains, the show emphasizes the power of people working together. "We wanted to create a production that includes as many community members as possible," he says. Chicago groups helped decorate the theater and create sets and props. Some are even in the performance.
The show involves the audience, including an original song people learn before the curtain rises. One lucky person at each show plays the role of the Stampede Caller, who can stop the production any time, calling for the entire cast to stampede. Maugeri says a more detailed explanation of the stampede is a secret until the show's opening, but he says that the spontaneity adds to the show's charm.
The Winter Pageant runs Dec. 5 through Jan. 11 at the Redmoon Theater, 1463 W. Hubbard St. in Chicago. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 5 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 and 5 p.m. Sundays. Ticket prices range from $5 to $15. For information, call (312) 850-8440, ext. 111, or visit www.redmoon.org.
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