MOORHEAD — Some people complain about the Christmas season creeping in earlier and earlier each year.

Pam Strait is not one of those people.

“I’ve been in the Christmas spirit since July,” she says. “I’m just happy the rest of the world has caught up with me.”

The Theatre B ensemble member is putting her cheer out there for all to see starting this Friday, Nov. 26, with the troupe’s holiday show, “Yule B Jolly.”

While Theatre B traditionally opens a show Thanksgiving weekend, this year’s is something new for the troupe — it will be the first musical in its 18-year history.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

“We talked about doing this for years,” Strait says.

As the ensemble was planning the season, there was an opening for the November/December show and Strait had an idea.

“I wanted to do a cabaret with Christmas songs,” she says.

She started thinking about what that would look like this summer. Even as an oppressive heat wave set in, Strait kept her cool.

“It doesn’t take a lot of Christmas music to get me in the mood,” she says.

The production uses holiday standards like “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Silver Bells,” “Winter Wonderland” and more with accompaniment by pianist Jim Gurney and bassist Max Johnk.

“I can’t wait for the cast to bring these wonderful songs to life,” she says.

The cast includes Ryan Scoble as Santa and Jacob Hartje, Tanya Weets, Jeanie Smith-Murphy, Drew Swenson, Monika Browne-Ecker and Matt Brunsvold, all playing either elves or reindeer or both.

Strait wrote the play with Kevin Kennedy, theater director at Fargo South High School. Theatre B ensemble member Hartje and Scot Ecker also contributed to the script.

“It’s a little homegrown show that’s turned into a labor of love for all of us,” she says.

Santa Claus is back and he has big plans to make up for the bummer that was 2020. Unfortunately for the big man, things aren’t going his way. The elves are in revolt and the reindeer are out of action. Even his trusty guide Rudolph isn’t around as he and his wife, Clarice, have a new baby. Kris Kringle is feeling the crunch.

Drew Swenson had performed with the troupe in the past and after moving back to town, was eager to get involved, saying the troupe is a supportive and creative community.

“The characters are really fun, goofy and self-aware,” he says.

He’ll be playing Sugar Cookie the elf and Prancer the reindeer.

Monika Browne-Ecker, operations manager at Theatre B, is stepping on the stage to play Gingerbread, the elf.

“I think it’s wonderful that Theatre B is sharing not only theater, but music,” she says. “Who wouldn’t want to perform as a singing and dancing elf? It’s the best way to get into the holiday spirit and forget about the state of the world.”

Strait agrees that working the play has had a positive influence.

“It’s changed my perspective and put me in a happier place. It has meant a lot to me personally,” she says. “It’s funny and sweet and I hope people get into my boots, get into the holiday spirit and treat the world more generously, like how Santa lives.”



If you go

What: “Yule B Jolly”

When: Nov. 26 through Dec. 12

Where: Theatre B, 215 10th St. N., Moorhead

Info: Tickets range from $10 to $25; https://www.theatreb.org or 701-729-8880