The Holiday Guys
by Anthony Chase
Broadway’s Jeffry Denman and Marc Kudisch will bring their delightfully engaging evening of holiday song and cheer back to MusicalFare through this Sunday.
Denman celebrates Christmas; Kudisch celebrates Hanukah. The show is a way for people to come together to share in the joy of the season.
For Denman, a trip to Snyder is a return to his old stomping grounds. He is a Buffalo native who went from numerous appearances on Western New York stages to become an Astaire Award nominee who was in the original Broadway cast of Mel Brooks’s The Producers and appeared in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Marc Kudisch is a multiple Tony Award nominee and the star of such Broadway shows as Thoroughly Modern Millie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and 9 to 5.
“After the success we had at MusicalFare last December,” says Denman, “we made a concerted effort to do two things. First, get a recording of the Hanu-Mas show done and second, get it out to other theaters. We aligned ourselves with some co-producers and we set our sights on hitting the regional theater circuit.”
The plan worked. In addition to the return engagement at MusicalFare, the duo has a December line-up that includes two weeks at the York Theatre in New York City.
“In September,” continues Denman, “we recorded our Hanu-Mas show. The recording label is Yellow Dog. Yellow Dog is a burgeoning label that has been doing some great work recording John Tartaglia’s ImaginOcean, the Burnt Park Boys, as well as doing all of Sesame Street’s recordings. It’s an upstart label that’s starting to come into its own right now. They loved the idea of a holiday album and we jumped at the chance to work with them.
“We also landed our official music director, Timothy Splain, a Chicago theater boy who both Marc and I have had the chance to work with. We’ll be bringing Tim along with us this time for the Buffalo run. He’s an incredibly talented guy who fits right in with the Holiday Guys style.”
Denman and Kudisch arrive in Western New York direct from the Pollak Theatre in Monmouth, New Jersey. The community was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy.
“We’re hoping that we can help them, in a small way, bring a sense of normalcy back during the holidays,” says Denman. “[We want to] help them forget their troubles for 90 minutes.”
The multi-talented performers feel a debt of gratitude to Western New York for helping launch their show.
“We’re very excited to bring the show back to where we had so much success last year,” Denman confides. “The Buffalo audiences helped us discover exactly what we had and where we needed to edit or build, and so forth. After Buffalo we head to the Signature Theatre, [a prestigious musical theater outside of] Washington, DC, for a full week. We hear we’re selling really well there, so we’re excited to get a chance to play our music and celebrate with them. Then we head to New York City.”
And what is a holiday without special guests? As an added treat, each performance in Snyder will feature a Buffalo personality to help heighten the holiday spirit with a comic sequence involving “The Night Before Christmas.”
Thursday, December 6 at 7pm, the special guest is Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
Friday, December 7 at 8pm, the special guest is a MusicalFare favorite, actor Tom Owen.
Saturday, December 8 at 4pm, the special guest is actress and media personality, Loraine O’Donnell.
Saturday, December 8 at 8pm, the special guest is aul Elkin, actor and founder of Shakespeare in Delaware Park and Jewish Repertory Theater.
Sunday, December 9 at 2pm, the special guest is WGRZ Channel 2 News anchor Maryalice Demler.
And so, all of Denman and Kudisch’s holiday wishes from last year have come true.
“Marc and I are just glad that everything we set out to do and more has happened: we’re in the regions, we’re playing Off Broadway and we’ve got our CD. Our plans going forward are to complete our other holiday shows. And this year we’re going to be giving our audiences an extra treat. We will be giving them a sneak peek to two other holiday shows—because we’re the Holiday Guys for all your holidays. We give the audience a chance to vote to hear a song from two other holidays. I think they’re going to get a kick out of the Valentine’s Day stuff, especially.”
The CD, The Holiday Guys in Happy Merry Hanu-Mas, will be available at MusicalFare. It’s also on iTunes and Amazon.com. You can follow the Holiday Guys at www.theholidayguys.net.
Ticket prices are $39 for all performances. Student tickets are available for $20. Ticket reservations may be made by calling 839-8540 or online at www.musicalfare.com.
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