ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The History Theatre in St. Paul is hoping to bring joy and a message of acceptance to the holiday season.
"A Servants' Christmas" is back for the first time since 2008. The musical is set on Summit Avenue in St. Paul in 1899. A rich, strict Christian family brings a young immigrant in as a maid.
"She's keeping a secret because she feels that if she exposes herself as a Jewish woman that she'd lose her employment," explained Ron Peluso, artistic director for St. Paul's History Theatre.
John Fenn wrote the story based on an actual family, the Warners.
The family's descendants liked the script and it debuted as play in 1980 at the History Theatre. In the early 2000s Fenn teamed up with composer Drew Jansen to make it a musical. One that tackles anti-Semitism in a time where it's made headlines after comments by lawmakers, celebrities and athletes.
"People have been emboldened. People feel, almost proud of their bigotry these days," said Jansen.
This run of the show also serves as a farewell for Peluso after 27 years.
"I was a visiting artist here, you know, and I accidentally stumbled into 'A Servants' Christmas' because a director got ill. They needed somebody. I just happened to be sitting over in one of those seats watching a matinee and a staff member came up and said, 'hey we lost our director for 'A Servants Christmas' are you available?' I was like 'sure I need the gig,'" said Peluso.
Peluso has spent the last 18 months thinking about his final show at the History Theatre and what he'll say afterward.
"So, I've been thinking about that, and I don't think I should share it now. So, I'm not going to say anything," laughed Peluso.
Tinia Moulder, the choreographer, is one of many who were involved in the production in 1988 who have come back to work with Peluso one more time.
"Of all the many, many shows I've done at many, many theatres the ones that have stuck with me and the ones that have meant the most to me have been here. And have been with Ron so that's going to be hard," said Moulder.
"A Servants' Christmas" runs from Saturday, Nov. 19th until Sunday, Dec. 18th at the History Theatre in St. Paul. For ticket information, click here.
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