Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Christmas Again?! A Holiday Delight!

Posted on: December 18, 2013

My marvelous friend, the singer-songwriter Jill Leger:

christmas again 7 Lewis Gautieri

Jill wrote a musical revue in 2012 and brought it to Washington, DC at Christmastime 2013 and I was a lucky member of the cast.  Jill gave me three amazing solos to sing.  The songs ran the gamut of emotion, two funny and one beautiful and thoughtful, all of them story-driven and gorgeously and intelligently written.

I WANT A KARAOKE MACHINE is an 11 year old girl’s letter to Santa about what she wants most  this Christmas, filled with hilarity, big dreams, and impressions.

I MAKE CHRISTMAS HAPPEN is a mother’s frantic attempt to keep Christmas and herself under control without buckling under the pressure, fueled by just a little hooch, and a chance to mount my own “Vitameatavegamin” routine.

MEADOWBROOK SPRINGS is a jewel of a song, a story and a triumph of the spirit.  I take the train to Arlington, VA to visit Grandpa who resides in an assisted living facility.  It seems hopeless and depressing until Grandpa takes to the Baby Grand out in the Common Room.

Jill also gave me the chance to sing in a hilarious duet, a contest of cooking and wit for the best Christmas Pudding

My other joy was to get to play Rosie, granddaughter of Rudolph.  Rudolph is retiring and Rosie’s going to try and fill his reindeer shoes.  We even got to dance, complete with the Reindeer Hop, Hoofing the Ground, and a real life “Doe Si Doe.”

And those were JUST songs that I got to participate in…there were lots more songs and duets for 4 other cast mates (Jill Leger sang a few of her own songs, Barbara Papendorp, Justin Ritchie, and Andrew Harmon).

A HUGE shout out to Amy Conley who accompanied everyone with expert sensitivity and musicality!

I hope Jill’s show finds its audience and gets played in theatres everywhere.  CHRISTMAS AGAIN?! is a fantastic and easy to produce package for a cabaret room or small theatre.  The songs have heart, humor and intelligence.

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christmas again poster

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THOUGHTS FROM SINGER-SONGWRITER JILL LEGER:

After I produced Christmas Again?! last year in Toronto, I was excited by the idea that here was a show that could be performed year after year in different places and remain relevant and exciting. I didn’t have to make much of a leap to begin pondering ways to bring the show to Washington. DC harbors so many of my favorite spots on earth, not to mention friends whom I love dearly. It’s a beautiful place that has a piece of my heart forever.

With the help of my friend Barbara Papendorp, who would be in the show, I began searching for venues and approaching other talented singers whom I hoped might be interested in participating. Soon, I had a dream-team ensemble and a centrally located venue that seemed perfect. I forwarded videos and sheet music to my team and let the magic begin.

I’d never done a show “long-distance” before, but I think because of the commitment and professionalism of my team, it was imminently manageable. Three hours after I landed at Dulles (and only two days before curtain), we were running material at one of our two rehearsals, and I couldn’t have been more pleased. My cast came through for me in ways I couldn’t even imagine. Emily, I thank you again for all the thought and intelligence informing your choices. They shone through in ways that stunned and delighted me more than I can say. Barbara lent the show humor and pathos with her depictions of a love-addled store clerk and a love-lorn woman attending yet another New Year’s Eve party. Justin Thomas Ritchie has pipes of liquid gold; he is a man on his way up in this business, and hearing him sing my music makes the serotonin flow in my brain! Andrew Harmon was the biggest surprise; I didn’t know him before the show, but he committed himself like no-one’s business and all but stole the show with his cowboy Santa and his retirement-ready Rudolph. He has a part in any of my shows any time. And music director Amy Conley stepped in to tie everything up with a big red bow.

In the end, bringing “Christmas Again?!” to DC was one of the most satisfying, validating, exciting and utterly heartlifting experiences of my whole life. Friends came out to see the show, as well as dozens of people I didn’t know. Everyone seemed to get what I was trying to do and responded precisely the way I was hoping: with laughter and tears.

It’s my hope to package the show as an inexpensive ensemble piece that theater companies could perform around the U.S. and Canada during the holidays. Time after time, people told me that the show finally got them in the holiday spirit, ready for the Christmas season. I think that could be a gift to audiences–now to make it happen!

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The following pictures are by Lewis Gautieri, December 17, 2013 at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington, DC

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christmas again 3 Lewis Gautieri
Opening Number, CHRISTMAS AGAIN?!, Black Fox Lounge, Washington, DC, December 2013
L to R: Barbara Papendorp, Justin Ritchie, Emily Gleichenhaus
Photo by Lewis Gautieri 2013

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christmas again 5 Lewis Gautieri
Singer-Songwriter Jill Leger sings her song A LETTER UNDER THE TREE
Photo by Lewis Gautieri 2013

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christmas again 1 Lewis Gautieri
Barbara Papendorp and Justin Ritchie sing AT THE MOVIES with Emily Gleichenhaus and Jill Leger singing backup
Photo by Lewis Gautieri 2013

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christmas again 2 Lewis Gautieri
Justin Ritchie sings NORTH STAR
Photo by Lewis Gautieri 2013

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christmas again 6 Lewis Gautieri
The Cast of CHRISTMAS AGAIN?! 2013 at the Black Fox Lounge, Washington, DC
L to R:  Andrew Harmon, Barbara Papendorp, Jill Leger, Justin Ritchie, Emily Gleichenhaus
Photo by Lewis Gautieri 2013

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The following pictures are by Chad Clayton, December 17, 2013 at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington, DC

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xmas again 8 chad clayton
Amy Conley on piano, Andrew Harmon sings WHEN I GOTTA CHILL
Photo by Lewis Gautieri 2013

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xmas again 7 chad clayton
Andrew Harmon sings as a Honky Tonk Santa in WHEN I GOTTA CHILL
Photo by Lewis Gautieri 2013

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xmas again 4 chad clayton
Andrew Harmon sings as Rudolph laying down the reins in RETIRED AT LAST with Emily Gleichenhaus as granddaughter Rosie ready to light the way on Christmas Eve.
Photo by Lewis Gautieri 2013

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xmas again 3 chad clayton
Andrew Harmon as retiring Rudolph hoofing it up with Emily Gleichenhaus as Rosie in Jill Leger’s song RETIRED AT LAST
Photo by Lewis Gautieri 2013

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xmas again 1 chad clayton
Cast of CHRISTMAS AGAIN?!
Photo by Lewis Gautieri 2013

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MUSICAL NUMBERS IN “CHRISTMAS AGAIN?!” 
Music, Words and Script by Jill Leger

1. Christmas Again?! (Company)

2. I Want …   (Emily)

3. The Better Tree (Justin, Andrew)

4. Mr. Mall Santa (Barbara)

5. North Star (Justin)

6. When I Gotta Chill  (Andrew)

7. The Letter Under The Tree ( Jill)

8. I Make Christmas Happen (Emily)

9. Christmas At The Movies (Justin with Barbara [Jill and Emily backup singers])

10. Retired At Last!  (Andrew [with Emily])

11. The Greatest Blessing (Barbara)

12. Another New Year’s Eve (Justin, Barbara)

13. Meadowbrook Springs (Emily)

14. My Christmas Pudding (Barbara, Emily)

15. Merry Christmas Too  (Jill)

16. Christmas Again?! (Reprise) (Company)

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Jill Leger’s Musical Review titled Christmas Again?!
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/christmas-again-a-holiday-delight/

Link to view video of the show:
https://vimeo.com/90691529
This video requires password:  Leger

Music and Lyrics by Jill Leger
Piano Accompaniment played Amy Conley

I got to sing 3 solos, group numbers and duets.  My favorites are I MAKE CHRISTMAS HAPPEN and MEADOWBROOK SPRINGS, two of the marvelous songs by Jill Leger, one funny, one to swell your heart:

  • CHRISTMAS AGAIN? (opening group number, seen at the very beginning)
  • I WANT (solo, the second number of the show)
  • I MAKE CHRISTMAS HAPPEN (solo, song starts at 30 minutes and 20 seconds into the video)
  • RETIRED AT LAST (duet, song starts at 37 minutes, 40 seconds into the video)
  • MEADOWBROOK SPRINGS (solo, starts at 50 minutes, 11 seconds into the video)
  • MY CHRISTMAS PUDDING (duet, begins right after MEADOWBROOK SPRINGS)

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Performer Websites

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AMY CONLEY
http://whatanicewebsite.com/amyconley/

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EMILY GLEICHENHAUS
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/

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BARBARA PAPENDORP
http://www.barbarapapendorp.com

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JUSTIN THOMAS RITCHIE
http://www.justinthomasritchie.com/

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JILL LOUISE LEGER, YOUTUBE CHANNEL
http://www.youtube.com/user/JillLouiseLeger

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JILL LOUISE LEGER, SING OUT LOUISE YOUTUBE CHANNEL
http://www.youtube.com/user/singoutlouise

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Related Posts

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EMILY’S UPCOMING (AND PAST) PERFORMANCES:
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/emilys-upcoming-performances/

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CHRISTMAS AGAIN!? This Weekend. Two Performances at Black Fox Lounge, DC
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/christmas-again-this-weekend-two-performances-at-black-fox-lounge-dc/

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CHRISTMAS AGAIN!? FACEBOOK PAGE:
https://www.facebook.com/events/415498988572801/

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CHRISTMAS AGAIN?!  Again, this time in a video.
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/christmas-again-again-this-time-in-a-video/

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The Sparrow, a Singable Book, an Interview and a Karaoke Sing-Along by Jill Léger (and an Exploration of Collective Nouns)
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/the-sparrow-a-singable-book-an-interview-and-a-karaoke-sing-along-by-jill-leger/

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Something Martha Graham Said and My Friend Jill
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/something-martha-graham-said-and-my-friend-jill/

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