Forgotten Carols creator Michael McLean says the new female lead singer in his Christmas show has a vocal range that is an amazing force of nature.
“Her name is Katie Thompson, and just listening to her sing is worth the price of a ticket,” McLean told the Herald. “The entire cast is amazingly talented. I might have written this story, but I am the least talented of those on stage.”
Forgotten Carols comes to the Tri-Cities on Nov. 26 in the auditorium at Richland High School. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. The 2 1/2-hour show surrounds the story of the Nativity.
What makes McLean’s musical story unique is that he tells it from a different point of view, such as the innkeeper who turned away Joseph and Mary — which is how baby Jesus ended up being born in a stable.
A young nurse named Constance, played by Thompson, views Christmas as a meaningless distraction. But her life changes when she’s assigned to care for an elderly man, played by McLean, during the Christmas season.
It doesn’t take long for Constance to fall under the old man’s charm. He is kind and compassionate despite his declining health, and he wins her heart by telling her the story of the carols and characters who are pretty much forgotten about when it comes to the Christian side of the Christmas story.
It has been a couple of years since McLean brought his touring show to the Tri-City area, and he’s anxious to share the newer side to his show.
“Those who saw the show the last time we were in your town will see something a little different this time, though the story remains intact,” he said. “My son (Jeff) is involved with the show, and he plays several roles, including the innkeeper who turned Mary and Joseph away. I know I’m his dad and perhaps a bit biased, but Jeff also has an amazing voice, sort of like Josh Groben meets Michael Buble.”
When McLean wrote Forgotten Carols more than two decades ago, it was a one-man show with no music. It was another one of his sons, Scott, who encouraged his dad to turn it into a musical in 2006 with a full cast of characters, he said.
“Once the music was added, we started out with just me on stage with a choir in the background,” McLean said. “Now it’s grown into a major production, and I couldn’t be prouder of it.”
When Thompson isn’t tackling acting roles, she’s a composer whose original music has been featured on So You Think You Can Dance in the U.S., Canada and United Kingdom. Her music was featured in Playbill’s The Contemporary Musical Theater Songwriters You Should Know column earlier this year, as well as productions at Lincoln Center.
The show also stars Christy Summerhays, Lynne McLean and Gili Getz, all of whom tackle multiple roles.
Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $13.50 to $32 and can be purchased at http://tinyurl.com/ky62xr2.