Phoebe Kreutz and Gary Adler’s New Holiday Family Musical THE NICE LIST to Feature Telly Leung, Ann Harada, James Monroe Iglehart, Julia Mattison, Jennifer Barnhart, Nick Kohn and Don Darryl Rivera 

In July, Phoebe Kreutz (book and lyrics) received the news that a planned live staged production of her new holiday project was cancelled due to the current climate of public safety and social distancing. Disappointed by the news, Phoebe knew Christmas would still come this year and she reached out to director Alan Muraoka and composer Gary Adler (Altar Boyz) with a new idea. They worked together to bring to life a brand-new musical in one act with the heart and warmth one gets from coming together to be entertained by a holiday theatrical event with family and friends.

The cast includes James Monroe Iglehart as Santa, Julia Mattison as Crumpet, Ann Harada as Raisin, Telly Leung as Chestnut, Jennifer Barnhart as Cookie, Nick Kohn as Fruitcake, and Don Darryl Rivera as Gumdrop.

Phoebe Kreutz (Go! Go! Gilgamesh!) says The Nice List is all about empathy, inclusion and the dangers of lumping one another into categories. In this lemon of a year, the only lemonade we can possibly squeeze out is a reminder of our shared humanity. We’ve all seen how kindness and forgiveness can make a difference- and how devastating their absence can be. So even though the show is full of elves and toys and total nonsense, the message is a timely one for both kids and grownups.

The Nice List is an original 45-minute holiday family musical with 6 original songs conceived for the Zoom Era that will be available in time for the Holiday Season. Costume design by Brian Hemesath, props, toys and holiday treats designed by Kathy Fabian. Featuring a diverse cast while telling a heartwarming tale of understanding and inclusion through the ubiquitous platforms of our current reality connecting through Zoom, FaceTime etc.

Teleconferencing and… Christmas? It sounds like a weird combination. But this year, Santa’s Head Elf Chestnut Telly Leung, Aladdin has convinced the North Pole to adopt this modern new technology. That means all the planning, the toys, the mayhem- it’s all happening on a Zoom-like platform called Workshop Live. And we all get to watch!

At the kickoff meeting all the elves -including our mismatched protagonists: upbeat Crumpet (Julia Mattison, Godspell) and grumpy Raisin (Ann Harada, Avenue Q) – are feeling confident in their roles (“The Whole North Pole”). Well, that is, until Santa (James Monroe Iglehart, Tony Award winner for Genie in Aladdin) announces that he’ll be supervising the season remotely this year while he travels the world, inspecting mall Santas for quality. Chestnut now in charge, Raisin and Crumpet are assigned the biggest responsibility of all: the famous Naughty and Nice List.

Raisin is a reluctant but chronic yes-woman and Crumpet doesn’t know how to say no. Together, she and Raisin begin to tackle the heavy decisions of the List and they even form a tentative friendship (“Nice”). But as the Christmas Season pressure mounts, Chestnut’s plans to impress Santa start falling apart (“Nothing’s Going Wrong This Christmas”) and Crumpet takes a turn for the militant. Feeling overloaded and unappreciated, she starts putting kids on the Naughty List for minor infractions (“They’re All Naughty”). It looks like no one is getting any presents this year.

So it’s up to Raisin to take control of the situation, perform some elven espionage and convince everyone that no one is all naughty or all nice- at one point or another, everyone is both (“Nobody’s Perfect”)!

Everyone on the naughty list this year? The possibility of no presents? Wait until Santa returns for everyone to learn a lesson about the joy that Christmas cheer brings and how it brings people together no matter what (“Always a Holiday”). Rounding out the workshop cast of elves is the decorated Cookie (Jennifer Barnhart, Avenue Q), the fantastic Fruitcake (Nick Kohn, Avenue Q) and the wonderful delicious Gumdrop (Don Darryl Rivera, Aladdin)

The Nice List is a holiday musical for the whole, cool family. This is a timeless and timely story featuring a contemporary score, an irreverent sense of humor and lots and lots of toys. Thank goodness December is just around the corner! Our release date, along with a first look, will be announced very, very soon!

The new Christmas musical The Nice List will receive an online premiere this holiday season.

With book and lyrics by Phoebe Kreutz and music by Gary Adler, The Nice List is directed by Alan Muraoka and choreographed by Michael Mindlin. It is filmed over Zoom, with costumes by Brian Hemesath and props by Kathy Fabian/Propstar. The musical explores what would happen if Santa supervised the activity at the North Pole remotely, leaving the elves in charge.

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Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

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