Nativity! The Musical is back for its eighth year – and just in the nick of time. If, as the doomsday prophets insist, 12.21.12 marks the end of the world as we know it, this could be audiences’ last chance to see the production The Burbank Leader hails as a “hysterical and yet touching blend of the Christmas story” complete with a “Felliniesque flock” of characters in what might seem a “heavily-spiked-nog-laden-
The original musical comedy is written and directed by entertainment industry veterans Greg and Melissa Baldwin, who weave in fresh topical references each year. Be it the Jonas Brothers, striking Hollywood writers, Lady Gaga or the doomsday crowd that’s counting down the days on the Mayan calendar, the Baldwins and their cast of 100 leave no pop culture phenomenon unskewered as the birth of Christ is retold in song and shtick. “Enjoy the lighter side of Nativity,” urged the Los Angeles Daily News.
This year Mary and Joseph are played by Julia Newton and Nick Rogus, high school students who have been with the production since its inaugural run in 2004, when, playing an angel, Julia cracked up audiences by loudly tapping the microphone and deadpanning: “is this thing on?” She’s now a sophomore at Burbank High School, where she’s part of the drama program and a member of the play pro team. Newton also finds time for soccer, pole vaulting, track and volunteering at St. Joseph’s Hospital. A junior at Loyola High School in Los Angeles, Nick is a member of both the school’s swim team and the LA Swim Club, He, too, has come up through the Nativity! ranks, playing such notable roles as shepherd scout, a palace guard, one of Joseph’s homies and a Manly Man. Rogus, who is a Boy Scout, loves to go Air-softing with his friends and is the son of Paul Rogus, who reprises his role as Gabriel, the archangel with attitude who’s always trying to dodge calls from his Boss (aka God).
The cast also includes W. Earl Brown (“Deadwood,” There’s Something About Mary) as Herod, who re-imagines the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” as his theme, Trenton Rogers (the current voice of Charlie Brown), Emmy award winning writer Bill Motz (Nickelodeon’s “Penguins of Madagascar”) and Greg Baldwin (voice of Uncle Iroh in Nickelodeon’s “Avatar: The Last Air Bender) as Caesar plus members of all four of Burbank’s John Burroughs High School’s award-winning choirs.
Staged by Imagine, the drama ministry of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Nativity! The Musical performances are as follows:
Westminster Presbyterian Church
542 N. Buena Vista Street, Burbank 91505
(at the corner of Buena Vista and Clark)
Thursday, December 13, 7 p.m.
Friday, December 14, 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 15, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sunday, December 16, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
A donation of $10 per adult (or $8 in advance) and $7 per student (or $5 in advance) is suggested.
Tickets are available at http://www.brownpapertickets.