When They Say ‘Family Show,’ They MEAN ‘Family Show’

Two of the Christmas shows that open in the next couple of weeks on local stages have a little extra bit of that "family" feel.

At "Ovation!" Musical Theatre Bainbridge (which actually stages its productions at Bainbridge High School), it’s always a family affair, of course, with artistic director Ron Milton directing the shows and handling many of the technical issues while his wife, Marijane , acting, singing and doing publicity. (Daughter Piper , who’s been a regular castmember the last couple of years, must be off at college or something …)

For "Oliver!", which opens Dec. 5, there’s the usual several sets of siblings doing chorus-ensemble duties. But there’s also a father-son tandem in an interesting casting twist. Young Sam Warkentin plays Oliver Twist, and his dad, Don Warkentin , plays Mr. Brownlow. So, the father and son play what turns out to be a grandfather and son (OOPS! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!). Aw, you guys all know by now how "Oliver!" turns out … don’t you?

Over at Bainbridge Performing Arts, where "Once Upon A Mattress" opens Dec. 11, they’ll have three Denis-es in the cast — Robin Denis plays Queen Aggravane, and two Denis relations — husband Peter and offspring Rowan — are among the lords and ladies. There’s also the two Hosterman sisters — Claire and Chloe — who have become downright regulars on the BPA stage.

As a bonus, director Corey McDaniel points out, the characters of love interests Lady Larken and Sir Harry are being played by a real-life husband and wife — Heather McRobbie and Brian Edwards .

So, when they say something’s a "family show" around here, remember — that’s true both figuratively and literally.

For information on the two shows: "Oliver!" — (206) 842-0472, ovationmtb.com. "Once Upon A Mattress" — (206) 842-8569, bainbridgeperformingarts.org.

More later … — MM

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