Opera House to present ‘Christmas on the Great White Way’

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House will present “Christmas on the Great White Way,” a special holiday musical revue, on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 7:30 p.m.

This special holiday program features a variety of well-known holiday songs (and maybe some not so well-known) that have been showcased in Broadway musicals.

It might be surprising to learn that some of our best-loved holiday songs were featured in Broadway musicals: “We Need a Little Christmas,” from Mame; “White Christmas,” from Holiday Inn; “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” from Meet Me in St. Louis; “Christmas Bells are Ringing,” from Rent; “There is a Santa Claus,” from Elf: “The Musical; Twelve Days of Christmas,” from Promises, Promises; and “Hard Candy Christmas,” from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, among many others!

Starring several of Chautauqua County’s favorite musical theatre performers, including: Julie Costantini, Jennifer Davis, Jim Foley, Katie Ryan, Christopher Switala, Steve Wendell, Holly Weston and James Welch, this is a great family friendly way to celebrate the holidays!

Costantini is the vocal music teacher and musical director at Maple Grove Jr./Sr. High School. A resident of Jamestown, she received her Bachelors in Music Education from the State University of New York at Fredonia, and her masters in Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. At the Lucille Ball Little Theatre, in Jamestown, she has played the roles of Maria in Sound of Music, Grace in Annie, and ensemble roles in Chicago, Spamalot, Ring of Fire and Forbidden Broadway. She played Cosette in Les Miserables at Jamestown Community College and was the winner of the second season of Chautauqua’s Got Talent.

Davis is a vocal and general music teacher at Chautauqua Lake Secondary School in Mayville. She directs three vocal ensembles in addition to teaching general music, guitar, songwriting and piano/theory. A native of Rochester, Davis earned a Bachelor of Music degree from SUNY Fredonia and a Master of Music from the Eastman School of Music. Davis has performed regionally in shows at the Lucille Ball Little Theatre.

Foley has lived and worked in Jamestown for 16 years. He teaches instrumental music at Maple Grove Jr./Sr. High School, where he also coaches track and field and started a judo program. He has appeared on stage at the Lucille Ball Little Theater, as well as Scharmann Theater at Jamestown Community College, in such roles as King Arthur in Spamalot, Gomez Addams in The Addams Family, Felix Unger in The Odd Couple and Javert in Les Miserables. He is active as a tubist with the Jamestown Community Orchestra, Chautauqua Concert Band, and formerly with the Jubilee Brass Quintet.

Ryan is a trained vocalist with more than 16 years of classical, jazz and theatrical performing experience. She received her Bachelor of Music Education and Masters of Music Education from SUNY Fredonia, where she studied under the tutelage of Dr. Gwen Coleman-Detwiler. She has received solo and ensemble musical honors and has performed in numerous venues and productions, including recent local productions of Annie, White Christmas, Chicago and Spamalot at the Lucille Ball Little Theater. She teaches general and vocal music at Chautauqua Lake Central School, where she has five choirs under her direction.

Switala is a resident of Jamestown, and financial services professional at Southern Tier Financial. He was seen in the title role in Lucille Ball Little Theatre’s 2016 production of Jekyll & Hyde. He was the lead singer in Up With People’s world tour of “The Festival” and a U.S. Tour with American Family Theater. He also appeared in motion picture, commercial print and media work during his residence in NYC.

Wendell lives in Fredonia and teaches at Silver Creek Central School. He directed three musicals for Fredonia High School and has been the acting coach for the past six productions there. He has also performed in half a dozen musicals in Jamestown including Chicago, Spamalot, The Addams Family and recently, Hairspray.

Weston was most recently seen on the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown stage as Emma in Jekyll & Hyde, Gretchen in Boeing, and Bombalurina in Cats. When she is not on stage performing, Weston is actively involved as a choreographer at Little Theatre and at area high schools. She was a member of the Jr. Guilders from 1992-2002 and she continues to volunteer with the organization as Choreographer. In 2014, Weston joined the Board of Directors of the Lucille Ball Little Theatre. She is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC.

Welch is on the faculty for the State University of New York at Fredonia School of Music as a collaborative pianist and instructor of class piano. In past summers he has worked on the faculties for the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, and The New York State Summer School of the Arts Choral Program as a collaborative pianist for instrumentalists and vocalists on repertoire including art song, opera, musical theater, choral, jazz, pop and instrumental. He has performed with Peter Schickele, Renee Fleming, Lee Hoiby, Dawn Upshaw, Jake Heggie, Ian Clarke, Eric Ewazen, and Jason Robert Brown.

Christmas on the Great White Way is supported with public funds from the United Arts Appeal of Chautauqua County. Tickets are $17 ($15 for Opera House members) and may be purchased in person at the Opera House Box Office or by phone at 716-679-1891, Tuesday-Friday, 1-5 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online at www.fredopera.org anytime.

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. A complete schedule of Opera House events is available at www.fredopera.org.