Theatre Aquarius has hometown performers singing and celebrating Christmas in Hamilton

News Dec 03, 2022 by Gary Smith Hamilton Spectator

If it worked fine the first time, let’s try it again.

Last holiday season, Theatre Aquarius, strapped by cash and COVID, found a way to still produce a terrific Christmas musical.

Mary Frances Moore, Aquarius’ artistic director defied the odds by bringing together local, professional hometown talent, to create a smart show that celebrated the season.

The show, a collective, took the memories of these local folks and wove them into a terrific musical that told stories culled from Christmas memories, stitched together by well-performed Christmas songs and carols.

It was a terrific treat.

The six performers involved were ingratiating and smart. The music chosen was nostalgic and familiar. And the stories created a hometown feeling that charmed the audience.

The hope is those who saw this treat last year will come and discover how good it is in its new iteration. And those that stayed away will have the chance to see what they missed.

The performers, two from last year’s production and five new members on board to stoke new fires of holiday memories are in rehearsal right now.

I caught up with Stephen Ingram and Eliza-Jane Scott at a recent rehearsal. During a break we talked about theatre and Christmastime.

Ingram grew up in Hamilton. His parents divorced when he was five months old, but he remains close to both his mom and dad.

Ingram is a fine musician.

“I started piano lessons when I was four,” he says. “I hated practicing, but now I’m glad I did.”

He dabbled in theatre at Westdale Secondary School. From those experiences he knew he wanted to be a professional actor, singer and dancer.

“It’s tough,” he says. “You apply for thousands of auditions and you might get one.”

“Doing the Aquarius Christmas show last year was a real boost to my career. And I loved the fact we all worked on writing the show and putting it together.”

“We sit at the rehearsal table and we talk about what things ought to be included in this year’s show. We tell our stories about Christmas and one thing leads to another. Memories are kindled and songs come to mind. There’s so much to draw from. “I’m a nostalgic person with a terrible memory,” he laughs. “Go figure. I love tradition though and I love singing the old holiday tunes, like ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ and ‘Home for the Holidays.’

“When I was little my mom had this big Readers Digest Book of Christmas Songs. Now I have that same book myself.”

Ingram loves shopping at thrift stores and vintage outlets. He loves vinyl records. His best ever Christmas present was a collection of Joni Mitchell songs.

Eliza-Jane Scott is new to the Hamilton holiday show this year.

“I love creating memories,” she says. “And the older you get the more you love to remember the past.”

Like most of us, Scott has a favourite Christmas memory.

“When I was 10 my dad came home with a big red bag. In it was an alto- saxophone. I played that thing forever. Then I moved on to the trumpet. I was always musical I guess.”

Scott is pleased to be in the hometown Christmas show this year.

“In my eight years living in Hamilton, I never got in the Aquarius door before. It’s great that this Christmas show employs local people and shows folks their talents.”

Scott was a student at Etobicoke School of the Arts and then graduated from Windsor University’s Fine Arts program.

“My first big show was ‘Godspell Unplugged’ in Toronto. The fact I play so many instruments has helped me find theatre work. I play guitar, trumpet, mandolin and dulcimer in the Aquarius show.

Scott has recently finished two years as the pilot Beverly in the musical “Come From Away” in Toronto.

“I loved doing it, but it was a four-hour commute every day. And you know you’ve got to deliver at every performance. It’s a high-level, high- energy show eight times a week. In a way you know you’re a commodity. There’s lots of pressure. That’s just how it is.”

When she’s not onstage performing Scott is in Hamilton classrooms as a supply teacher.

Ask Scott about the best Christmas present she ever gave anyone and she remembers giving her son a puppy, a Chihuahua crossed with a Yorkie.

Ask her what her favourite Christmas song is and she tells you it’s The Chipmunks. Really?

“I love it,” she laughs.

Go figure.

Go see “A Hamilton Holiday.”

Gary Smith has written about theatre and dance for The Hamilton Spectator for 40 years. gsmith1@cogeco.ca

Christmas Holiday Show — Theatre Aquarius

What: A Hamilton Holiday

Who: Theatre Aquarius

When: Dec. 7 through 24.. Evenings at 7:30 p.m. (not Sundays or Mondays). Matinees, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 p.m.

Where: Irving Zucker Theatre, Theatre Aquarius

Tickets: $30 to $65 plus fees and taxes.

Theatre Aquarius has hometown performers singing and celebrating Christmas in Hamilton

Mary Frances Moore, Aquarius’ artistic director defied the odds by bringing together local, professional hometown talent, to create a smart show that celebrated the season.

News Dec 03, 2022 by Gary Smith Hamilton Spectator

If it worked fine the first time, let’s try it again.

Last holiday season, Theatre Aquarius, strapped by cash and COVID, found a way to still produce a terrific Christmas musical.

Mary Frances Moore, Aquarius’ artistic director defied the odds by bringing together local, professional hometown talent, to create a smart show that celebrated the season.

The show, a collective, took the memories of these local folks and wove them into a terrific musical that told stories culled from Christmas memories, stitched together by well-performed Christmas songs and carols.

It was a terrific treat.

The six performers involved were ingratiating and smart. The music chosen was nostalgic and familiar. And the stories created a hometown feeling that charmed the audience.

The hope is those who saw this treat last year will come and discover how good it is in its new iteration. And those that stayed away will have the chance to see what they missed.

The performers, two from last year’s production and five new members on board to stoke new fires of holiday memories are in rehearsal right now.

I caught up with Stephen Ingram and Eliza-Jane Scott at a recent rehearsal. During a break we talked about theatre and Christmastime.

Ingram grew up in Hamilton. His parents divorced when he was five months old, but he remains close to both his mom and dad.

Ingram is a fine musician.

“I started piano lessons when I was four,” he says. “I hated practicing, but now I’m glad I did.”

He dabbled in theatre at Westdale Secondary School. From those experiences he knew he wanted to be a professional actor, singer and dancer.

“It’s tough,” he says. “You apply for thousands of auditions and you might get one.”

“Doing the Aquarius Christmas show last year was a real boost to my career. And I loved the fact we all worked on writing the show and putting it together.”

“We sit at the rehearsal table and we talk about what things ought to be included in this year’s show. We tell our stories about Christmas and one thing leads to another. Memories are kindled and songs come to mind. There’s so much to draw from. “I’m a nostalgic person with a terrible memory,” he laughs. “Go figure. I love tradition though and I love singing the old holiday tunes, like ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ and ‘Home for the Holidays.’

“When I was little my mom had this big Readers Digest Book of Christmas Songs. Now I have that same book myself.”

Ingram loves shopping at thrift stores and vintage outlets. He loves vinyl records. His best ever Christmas present was a collection of Joni Mitchell songs.

Eliza-Jane Scott is new to the Hamilton holiday show this year.

“I love creating memories,” she says. “And the older you get the more you love to remember the past.”

Like most of us, Scott has a favourite Christmas memory.

“When I was 10 my dad came home with a big red bag. In it was an alto- saxophone. I played that thing forever. Then I moved on to the trumpet. I was always musical I guess.”

Scott is pleased to be in the hometown Christmas show this year.

“In my eight years living in Hamilton, I never got in the Aquarius door before. It’s great that this Christmas show employs local people and shows folks their talents.”

Scott was a student at Etobicoke School of the Arts and then graduated from Windsor University’s Fine Arts program.

“My first big show was ‘Godspell Unplugged’ in Toronto. The fact I play so many instruments has helped me find theatre work. I play guitar, trumpet, mandolin and dulcimer in the Aquarius show.

Scott has recently finished two years as the pilot Beverly in the musical “Come From Away” in Toronto.

“I loved doing it, but it was a four-hour commute every day. And you know you’ve got to deliver at every performance. It’s a high-level, high- energy show eight times a week. In a way you know you’re a commodity. There’s lots of pressure. That’s just how it is.”

When she’s not onstage performing Scott is in Hamilton classrooms as a supply teacher.

Ask Scott about the best Christmas present she ever gave anyone and she remembers giving her son a puppy, a Chihuahua crossed with a Yorkie.

Ask her what her favourite Christmas song is and she tells you it’s The Chipmunks. Really?

“I love it,” she laughs.

Go figure.

Go see “A Hamilton Holiday.”

Gary Smith has written about theatre and dance for The Hamilton Spectator for 40 years. gsmith1@cogeco.ca

Christmas Holiday Show — Theatre Aquarius

What: A Hamilton Holiday

Who: Theatre Aquarius

When: Dec. 7 through 24.. Evenings at 7:30 p.m. (not Sundays or Mondays). Matinees, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 p.m.

Where: Irving Zucker Theatre, Theatre Aquarius

Tickets: $30 to $65 plus fees and taxes.

Theatre Aquarius has hometown performers singing and celebrating Christmas in Hamilton

Mary Frances Moore, Aquarius’ artistic director defied the odds by bringing together local, professional hometown talent, to create a smart show that celebrated the season.

News Dec 03, 2022 by Gary Smith Hamilton Spectator

If it worked fine the first time, let’s try it again.

Last holiday season, Theatre Aquarius, strapped by cash and COVID, found a way to still produce a terrific Christmas musical.

Mary Frances Moore, Aquarius’ artistic director defied the odds by bringing together local, professional hometown talent, to create a smart show that celebrated the season.

The show, a collective, took the memories of these local folks and wove them into a terrific musical that told stories culled from Christmas memories, stitched together by well-performed Christmas songs and carols.

It was a terrific treat.

The six performers involved were ingratiating and smart. The music chosen was nostalgic and familiar. And the stories created a hometown feeling that charmed the audience.

The hope is those who saw this treat last year will come and discover how good it is in its new iteration. And those that stayed away will have the chance to see what they missed.

The performers, two from last year’s production and five new members on board to stoke new fires of holiday memories are in rehearsal right now.

I caught up with Stephen Ingram and Eliza-Jane Scott at a recent rehearsal. During a break we talked about theatre and Christmastime.

Ingram grew up in Hamilton. His parents divorced when he was five months old, but he remains close to both his mom and dad.

Ingram is a fine musician.

“I started piano lessons when I was four,” he says. “I hated practicing, but now I’m glad I did.”

He dabbled in theatre at Westdale Secondary School. From those experiences he knew he wanted to be a professional actor, singer and dancer.

“It’s tough,” he says. “You apply for thousands of auditions and you might get one.”

“Doing the Aquarius Christmas show last year was a real boost to my career. And I loved the fact we all worked on writing the show and putting it together.”

“We sit at the rehearsal table and we talk about what things ought to be included in this year’s show. We tell our stories about Christmas and one thing leads to another. Memories are kindled and songs come to mind. There’s so much to draw from. “I’m a nostalgic person with a terrible memory,” he laughs. “Go figure. I love tradition though and I love singing the old holiday tunes, like ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ and ‘Home for the Holidays.’

“When I was little my mom had this big Readers Digest Book of Christmas Songs. Now I have that same book myself.”

Ingram loves shopping at thrift stores and vintage outlets. He loves vinyl records. His best ever Christmas present was a collection of Joni Mitchell songs.

Eliza-Jane Scott is new to the Hamilton holiday show this year.

“I love creating memories,” she says. “And the older you get the more you love to remember the past.”

Like most of us, Scott has a favourite Christmas memory.

“When I was 10 my dad came home with a big red bag. In it was an alto- saxophone. I played that thing forever. Then I moved on to the trumpet. I was always musical I guess.”

Scott is pleased to be in the hometown Christmas show this year.

“In my eight years living in Hamilton, I never got in the Aquarius door before. It’s great that this Christmas show employs local people and shows folks their talents.”

Scott was a student at Etobicoke School of the Arts and then graduated from Windsor University’s Fine Arts program.

“My first big show was ‘Godspell Unplugged’ in Toronto. The fact I play so many instruments has helped me find theatre work. I play guitar, trumpet, mandolin and dulcimer in the Aquarius show.

Scott has recently finished two years as the pilot Beverly in the musical “Come From Away” in Toronto.

“I loved doing it, but it was a four-hour commute every day. And you know you’ve got to deliver at every performance. It’s a high-level, high- energy show eight times a week. In a way you know you’re a commodity. There’s lots of pressure. That’s just how it is.”

When she’s not onstage performing Scott is in Hamilton classrooms as a supply teacher.

Ask Scott about the best Christmas present she ever gave anyone and she remembers giving her son a puppy, a Chihuahua crossed with a Yorkie.

Ask her what her favourite Christmas song is and she tells you it’s The Chipmunks. Really?

“I love it,” she laughs.

Go figure.

Go see “A Hamilton Holiday.”

Gary Smith has written about theatre and dance for The Hamilton Spectator for 40 years. gsmith1@cogeco.ca

Christmas Holiday Show — Theatre Aquarius

What: A Hamilton Holiday

Who: Theatre Aquarius

When: Dec. 7 through 24.. Evenings at 7:30 p.m. (not Sundays or Mondays). Matinees, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 p.m.

Where: Irving Zucker Theatre, Theatre Aquarius

Tickets: $30 to $65 plus fees and taxes.