An American holiday staple, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has gone down in history as the highest rated Christmas television special of all time. Since 1964, the redeeming tale of the misfit reindeer who helped Santa Claus save Christmas has entertained people of all ages. Sunday, Dec. 2, fans of Rudolph will have a onenight- only opportunity to see the stopmotion classic spring from the T.V. screen to the stage in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” at the Givens Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
GPAC Marketing Director Chad Locklear said seeing the movie as a live performance is exhilarating and special for adults and kids alike. “The music is sung live, the props are colorful, and the bright costumes and puppetry all bring an exciting and unique experience,” he said.
The production boasts lots of action and movement. From dance numbers to high-flying elves, all the hard work put in behind the scenes is sure to keep every audience member amused, said Natalie Holt MacDonald, the actress who portrays Rudolph. “With the set movements, they all roll, and people roll them around, so it kind of looks like they’re ice skating the set pieces all over the stage. It’s all beautifully choreographed,” she said.
Raised as a homeschooled student in Simi Valley, California, MacDonald found it simple to connect with Rudolph’s story through what she said was a misfit experience of her own. “When I finally got around to … going to college, I definitely didn’t have all the inside jokes of everyone. I felt like I lived under a rock at some points,” she said.
While written for children, Rudolph’s narrative speaks to multiple generations. MacDonald said the show is close to the hearts of those who come to see it. “It really is a timeless piece that is great for everyone of all ages, and you have that really nostalgic feel for those who grew up with this story — our grandparents and our parents,” she said.
In addition to the magic of Christmas, MacDonald said she hopes the musical will illuminate the message of acceptance for audience members. “I think everyone feels (a little bit) like a misfit sometimes. … Everyone is different, and because of that, everyone has something to contribute to society,” she said. “No matter how different you are than everyone else, you matter and you’re important.”
MacDonald and the rest of the touring cast of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” will perform Sunday, Dec. 2, at 4 p.m. at GPAC. The show is 90 minutes long, including a 20-minute intermission. Tickets range from $21 to $41. Visit uncp.edu/gpac to purchase tickets online. For more information, call 910-521-6361 or visit www.rudolphthemusical.com.