History Boy will present New Year’s Eve dinner show

JEFFERSON – The History Boy Theatre Co., of Jefferson, will present a unique version of an old story in its winter show, “Striking 12.”

The production is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s short story “The Little Match Girl,” but adds a modern twist as it blends the 1840s story with today.

“It comes from the Hans Christian Andersen story, but it is a modern telling,” said director Angie Pedersen, who also participates on stage as the Little Lightbulb Girl, a 21st century version of the Little Match Girl. “We tell the 1840s version of it while telling the modern story at the same time. The two stories run parallel with each other.”

In the production, Katie Hoskins portrays the 1840s Little Match Girl who takes to the streets on New Year’s Eve to sell matches to help support her family. Her counterpart, the Little Lightbulb Girl, steps into today to sell lights.

“The Little Lightbulb Girl is her modern counterpart,” said Pedersen. “She goes around selling full-spectrum holiday lights to help eliminate Seasonal Affective Disorder.”

The Little Lightbulb girl ends up encountering Grumpy Guy, an overworked New Yorker who resolves to spend New Year’s Eve alone, played by Pedersen’s husband, Robby Pedersen.

“She knocks on his door and ruins his solitude,” said Angie Pedersen.

“He is just a guy who doesn’t do parties,” said Robby Pedersen. “To him, it’s just another night.”

The modern day and original stories are interwoven, with Hoskins’ part taking place on an upper level of the stage.

In the story, the Little Match Girl has visions of a stove, a Christmas tree and her dead grandmother, the only person who ever treated her with love.

The cast will be joined by San Francisco musician Marty McGinn, a Jefferson native, who will portray the fourth character, Jack, for the production.

Robby Pedersen said one challenge of the production has been rehearsing with three out of four cast members while McGinn remains in California until the week of the performances.

“We’ve been rehearsing apart,” he said. “He is a professional singer and piano player in San Francisco and we have been in band rehearsal here since September. We have been working without him here and will put everything together in about 24 hours when he comes.”

Robby Pedersen describes the show is a cross between a musical and a holiday concert.

Each cast member also plays their own instruments in the production.

“We don’t usually play our own instruments,” said Angie Pedersen. “The greatest challenge is that we aren’t daily musicians. There aren’t as many costume changes in this show. All of the complexity we put into the music instead.”

“As an actor I could have prepped for this show in one week,” said Robby Pedersen. “”But the music is a challenge. We have been practicing for three months.”

Robby Pedersen said the show is unique in that it has required them to use microphones.

“Usually we say we are a belting theater,” he said. “But with the music of this show we will have to be miked. The technology has been a lot different.”

“It will be something different, fun and entertaining with some funny parts, but you might also need a hanky,” said Robby Pedersen.

“Striking 12″ will be performed Friday and Saturday and New Year’s Eve at 6 p.m. at RVP 1875, 115 S. Wilson St., Jefferson. A meal, catered by the Lidderdale Country Store, will precede the production. Tickets are $22.50 per person and can be purchased at RVP 1875, by phone at 370-4306 or by email angiervp1875@gmail.com.