Juneauites will have four opportunities to see Alaska’s “King Island Christmas” prior to the cast’s departure for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August.
The show, which premiered at Perseverance Theatre in the mid-90’s, is based on a book written by Jean Rogers, inspired by the experiences of Alaska artist Rie Muñoz. In the 1950s, while Muñoz was living on King Island, the North Star, a US government boat, came to the island to deliver winter supplies and the village priest. When an impending storm threatened the supply ship’s arrival, the villagers carried a boat over the island’s mountain to meet the ship on the calm, leeward side.
Muñoz later told her friend Rogers, a children’s author, about her experience, and Rogers was so taken by the story she wrote a children’s book about it, changing the timeframe to Christmas and bringing in Muñoz as illustrator. In the mid-1990s, playwright Deborah Brevoort adapted the story into an oratorio with music by David Friedman.
The show was an annual holiday offering for a number of years, but eventually ran its course. A few years ago Sharon Gaiptman, Deborah Smith and Missouri Smyth revived the show as a tribute to Rogers and Muñoz. They produced the show in 2010 and again this past holiday season.
Now the show will be performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. The cast and family members have been fundraising for more than a year to support the production and members of the Alaska Youth Choir who will perform in Glasgow and at Stirling Castle prior to the performances at the Fringe.
Juneau audiences have four chances to see the show performed before the Scotland trip: on Thursday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m. (a pay-as-you-can performance); on Friday, July 26, after Food Truck Friday; on Saturday, July 27 at 3:30 p.m. (a sing-along) and again that evening at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 general admission, $15 for seniors, $10 for students and free for children under five.
For more information about this production, visit AKKIC.com and www.kingislandchristmas.com.