Holiday musical comedy will premier at Timber Lake Playhouse

‘What A Wonderful World’ features classic and contemporary pop hits

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MOUNT CARROLL – The untold tale of the modern Santa Claus is the subject of a new musical comedy — “What a Wonderful World” — which makes its stage debut at Timber Lake Playhouse.

The musical features a score of classic and contemporary pop hits and will have a two-week run.

The first performance will be 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2. For opening night there will be a tree lighting at 6:30 p.m. with hot chocolate, cider ad cookies. Santa Claus will be on hand for photos the first opening weekend. Other show dates are Dec. 3-5 and Dec. 7-12. Tickets are $30.

The musical was developed by Lively McCabe Entertainment of New York City in partnership with BMG. It features a book by Jeremy Desmon, an award-winning musical theater writer and lyricist. Arrangements and orchestrations are by Jesse Vargas, This production is directed by Paul Stancato, Timber Lake’s artistic director.

The premise: It’s 1959 in New York City. Santa and Mrs. Claus are ready to retire, but they must pass the baton onto another couple. A young New York ad exec is chosen, but he declines, putting the North Pole and Christmas Eve’s toy delivery in jeopardy.

The musical features songs “Best Day of My Life” (American Authors), “Blue Christmas” (Elvis Presley), “Breakaway” (Kelly Clarkson), “Fight Song” (Rachel Platten), “Good To Be Alive” (Andy Grammar), “Hold My Hand” (Hootie & The Blowfish), “Life Is A Highway” (Rascal Flatts), “Man With the Bag” (Kay Starr), “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” (Kenny Chesney), “On Top of the World” (Imagine Dragons), “Still The One” (Orleans), “The End of The World As We Know It” (R.E.M.), “These Boots Are Made For Walking” (Nancy Sinatra), “Treat You Better” (Shawn Mendes), “What I Like About You” (The Romantics), and “What a Wonderful World” (Louis Armstrong).

Featured performers in the cast are Anna Catherine Smith (Lucy), Felicia Finley (Mrs. Claus), Nike Kohn (Santa Claus), Rebecca Larkin (Rhubarb the Head Elf), Mac Myles (Topher), and Jack Cahill-Lemme (Jack). The ensemble includes Joshua Lehman, Josh McWhortor, Alex Rudd, Cate Benioff, Paris Elaine, Nicole Fava, Caroline Portner, Angela Syrett, Avery Moran and Morelia Vargas.

Lively McCabe Entertainment specializes in adapting iconic intellectual property into new stories for theater, film, and television. Projects include the stage adaptation of “Clue” – which is currently the most-produced play in the U.S. – based on the Paramount Pictures film and Hasbro board game. Their other projects include the stage musical adaptation of the MGM film “Mystic Pizza,” country musical “May We All”, and the musical “Punk Rock Girl,” that features Blondie, Avril Lavigne, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett and Gwen Stefani.

Tickets for all Timber Lake events are available online at or by calling the Box Office at (815) 244-2035. The box office is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 or until intermission on show days.

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