banner elk christmas 2018

This year, the show will coincide with Banner Elk’s annual ‘Small Town Christmas’ celebration. Pictured are Mike Helms, Josh Yoder, Elizabeth Bokhoven, Eileen Dixon, Logan Bryant, Derek Gagnier, Elise Wright, Jana Prather Greer and Tripp Taylor during the 2018 edition of the show.

BANNER ELK — For the first year since the show began, Ensemble Stage’s “A Banner Elk Christmas 2” will be helping to kick off Banner Elk’s annual Small Town Christmas.

The annual musical variety show has become a hit for Ensemble Stage, growing year after year under the purview of the local theatre company.

The company does not rest on its laurels either, as the show changes each year.

Artistic Director Gary Smith said the show is modeled on 1960s shows that featured lots of singing, fancy dress and costume stages.

“A lot of the songs that we do kind of have their own little story,” Smith said.

The show embodies the friendly atmosphere of Banner Elk.

“We’ve been doing an annual Christmas show since our inception 10 years ago,” Smith said.

Smith said the show, which will be performed five times this year, has become a tradition for people in the area and is also a draw from nearby metro areas.

“Every year it’s different,” Smith noted.

Smith described the show as one of the most difficult the stage puts on. This show has to work around schedules, and while a number of the other productions presented by the company uses professional actors who are in town specifically to perform, many of the actors in this show are locals with other obligations.

The choices of music is also a challenge, integrating secular, nonsecular, slow, fast, funny and other kinds of songs into the mix, as well as timing costume changes and other logistics.

The show is about an hour in length, and squeezes more than 40 songs into that time.

The first show is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Dec. 6, with more to follow on Dec. 20, 21 and shows at 2 p.m. on Dec. 8 and Dec. 22. Ensemble Stage is located in the Historic Banner Elk School. The show features professional talent as well. To order tickets online, click to ensemblestage.com.

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