The Seasons Dinner Theatre kicks off its 25th anniversary season with the side-splitting “I’ll Be in a Home for Christmas.”
Yes, a nursing home. But playwright Patti Hynes-McCarthy, with her trademark productions based on a recipe that mixes many laughs, songs and more than a pinch of heartwarming messages, promises an entertaining evening out at the Majestic Oaks Golf Club in Ham Lake.
“If people are looking for a feel good, make-me-laugh-lots, cry-just-a-little Christmas experience, this is what we have in store,” Hynes-McCarthy said in an interview.
Hynes-McCarthy’s husband Tom McCarthy, a faculty member at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, directs a cast of eight in this holiday special. Steve Quesnel is musical director and shares accompanist duties with Kris Olson of Blaine.
The McCarthys have reprised the holiday show they produced about 15 years ago. But they’ve updated it and added a new character, Albert Tibballs, especially for The Seasons Dinner Theatre favorite Chris McKenzie.
“He’s such a great comic character,” said Hynes-McCarthy, who worked in a Minneapolis nursing home in human resources for 19 years.
The show is about humorous Genevieve Dover, played by singer extraordinaire Janet Paone. Dover is in her 70s and perfectly healthy, but when she finds her family falling apart after the death of her husband, she schemes to get her bickering children back together for Christmas, despite their threats to skip celebrating the holidays. So she books herself into a nursing home.
Paone has acted widely throughout the Twin Cities area, notably in “Church Basement Ladies” and its sequel at the Plymouth Playhouse.
Expect the usual quirky characters in this Seasons Theatre production.
In addition to McKenzie, local actors cast in the show are: Greg Eiden (Stanley Huttlestad) and Kendall Anne Thompson (Meg Dover) of Coon Rapids, Nykeigh Larson (Jennifer Kemper) of Andover and Evan Willberg (Jack Dover) of Anoka.
For 25 years the McCarthys have been producing and staging mostly original plays in the northern suburbs. Patti writes them, Tom directs. They started their theater at the former Seasons restaurant at Bunker Lake Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids. Last year, they moved their productions, performed twice a year, to Majestic Oaks in Ham Lake.
But what about their 25-year run? Did Hynes-McCarthy ever fathom the longevity The Seasons Dinner Theatre would enjoy?
“Absolutely not,” Hynes-McCarthy said. “It’s just rather amazing.”
The couple have been married for 30 years, 25 years of which they have presented their productions.
“But, they’re still so much fun to do,” said Hynes-McCarthy. “I can’t believe how much I enjoy the process.”
Audience members have made The Seasons Dinner Theatre part of their holiday tradition. Hynes-McCarthy has heard from many play-goers that they’ve been attending their productions for years, she said.
The McCarthys reside in Coon Rapids. They have three children: Christopher, 25, Jonathon, 20, and Joie, 7.
The Seasons Dinner Theatre presents “I’ll Be in a Home for Christmas,” 41 performances, through Dec. 31. Tickets are $44.95- $54.95, dinner (or lunch) and show. Majestic Oaks Golf Club, 701 Bunker Lake Blvd. N.E., Ham Lake. For tickets order online at www.majesticoaksgc.com or call 763-755-2140.
Elyse Kaner is at [email protected]