Wayne Puchkors, director of Hammond Community Theatre’s production of “The Christmas Express,” takes pride in bringing the seldom-seen comedic holiday tale to area audiences.
“I don't mind 'A Christmas Carol' and 'The Nutcracker,' but if you've seen it five or six times, the novelty wears off and you start looking for other things,” he said. “I want people to come to Hammond to see something they haven't seen and something that they're going to enjoy, which is exactly what this play is."
Opening Dec. 7 and running through Dec. 6 at Hammond’s Beatniks on Conkey, “Christmas” is the tale of the residents of Holly, a small village whose holiday season is given a jolt by Leo Tannenbaum, who makes his way to the small town on Christmas Eve.
“Christmas” was penned by Texas-based playwright Pat Cook, whose credits include more than 150 plays including works centered around Halloween and Thanksgiving as well as Christmas plays such as “The One and Only Santa Claus” and “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus.”
Puchkors helming of “Christmas” marks his third holiday season production in the director’s chair for Hammond Community Theatre.
"It's funny and it gives you the meaning Christmas,” Puchkors said of the play. “It’s a fun play and it fills you with a little bit of the Christmas spirit.”
For “Christmas,” Puchkors assembled a cast of 10 region based actors, including Phillip Myers as Tannenbaum, Caitlyn Desjardins, who runs Holly’s train station, Jill Watterson as Penelope Blaisedale, the editor of the town’s newspaper, and Patrick Stapinski and Caitlin Laverman as Jerry and Donna Fay Cummings, the town newlyweds.
“They're doing a really good job,” Puchkors said of his cast. "I think the audience is going to enjoy it. It's a funny play and it gets funnier as we rehearse it because they're all having a great time."