Even the most famous reindeer of all has his bad days when it comes to fitting in.
The classic story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — whose shining red nose excluded him from playing reindeer games, leading him to flee to the Island of Misfit Toys — flies into F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, Wilkes-Barre, on Wednesday, Nov. 29. The musical production based on the 1964 stop-motion television special starts at 6:30 p.m., and doors open at 5.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” keeps true to the essence of the original television special, even using costumes, puppets and sets reminiscent of the claymation used in the original special, said Natalie MacDonald, who plays Rudolph. After two successful years of touring North America, the holly jolly cast of characters — including Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster — bring the show to life with favorite songs, including “Fame and Fortune,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Silver and Gold” and “Holly Jolly Christmas.”
“When kids see the movie and then they see the show, what they saw on TV comes to life,” MacDonald said. “Kids love it, as well as the grandparents and the parents who grew up with it. I just want to point out how incredible this show is for all generations … and how special that is, how rare it is for something to last so long in this digital age when stories last two seconds and then they’re gone.”
MacDonald always connected with Rudolph’s story because she was homeschooled as a child.
“I think that everyone in their life comes upon a time when they felt like a misfit. … I very much loved my upbringing, but with kids my age I sometimes had a hard time relating to them,” she said. “I was taking college classes and was always around people older than me, so hanging out with kids my age, I felt like a misfit.”
Many of the technical aspects of the show make it special for MacDonald, including the moment when she flies across the stage, and how the cast, crew and production team work together to make each moment magical.
“The show gives off a very poignant message,” MacDonald said. “We’ve really built up this anti-bullying campaign with ‘Rudolph.’ Kids can come see that all of our differences that we have can be brought to the table and make society better. It’s a really important message for kids and parents and grandparents alike.”