musical direction by Deborah Gilmour Smyth
choreography by Colleen Kollar Smith
Step inside the gorgeous Ballroom of the historic Hotel Del and you are back in 1912 for a memorable Christmas feast and celebration! This remarkable 3-hour evening is filled with music, dance, story, song and laughter, all woven throughout a delectable 5-course holiday meal.
Your hosts are the Marshall family who love to celebrate the Season each year at the beautiful Hotel del Coronado. 27 multi-talented performers sweep you up in a festive party that will be the pinnacle of your holidays!
Many guests have come to make AN AMERICAN CHRISTMAS an annual part of their holiday tradition. Guest come from around the Southwest and across the nation for this unique event.
Seating is a round tables of 8. Festive attire, with jackets suggested for gentlemen.
The all-inclusive ticket price includes the evening's entertainment, an hors d’oeuvre party by the windows overlooking the skating rink, a four-course meal at your table, a champagne toast, self-parking, tax and gratuity.
There is also a wine list at the table and a cash bar in the room.
Tickets are for assigned lettered tables, not for specific seats at that table. Discounted tickets for children ages 5 – 12.
(We regret we are unable to entertain children under the age of 5)
An American Christmas Menu
Butternut Squash with Roasted Garlic
Persimmon and Strawberry Salad with Honey and Rosemary
Braised Beef Short Rib with Lemon Poached Prawns
Yukon Potato Gratin, Bluelake Beans, Roasted Mushrooms
New York Style Cheesecake with Pumpkin Angliase
Jesse Abeel (Dennis Sanders u/s) is excited to be a taking part in this amazing, heartwarming production with such great people. Some Lamb’s credits include: West Side Story (Riff), You Can’t Take it With You (Tony), Les Miserable (Marius), The 39 Steps (Clown 1), Fiddler on the Roof, Guys and Dolls, Music Man, The Music Man, Till We Have Faces, The Book of the Dun Cow, The Glory Man, and Smoke on the Mountain (2010). He is a graduate from Cal State Fullerton with a BFA in musical theater. Some CSUF credits: Miss Saigon (Chris), As You Like It (Orlando), Romeo & Juliet (Paris). He also voices the role of Jonathan Park in the audio adventure series The New Adventures of Jonathan Park. Jesse is grateful to God for a good life, an amazing wife – Holly, and more blessings he has space to write down. Thank you friends and family for your support. I love you all! Col. 3:17
Holly Abeel is an associate artist with Lamb’s Players and is a graduate of San Diego Christian College with a BA in psychology and music. Lamb’s credits include An American Christmas (2010 & 2011). SDCC: Little Women (Jo). Music: Musical Director for Christian Youth Theatre’s A Little Princess (Spokane), Aladdin (San Diego), Shadow Mountain Children’s Choir (San Diego), Manhattan jazz club (La Jolla), and church music ministry on the west coast and internationally including South Africa, Romania, and Dominican Republic. Holly also enjoys doing administrative work for CYT SD and giving private vocal instruction. “I am so thankful that I get to share not only the beauty of life, but also the precious gift of music with my loving husband, Jesse. You bring me utter joy.
Melissa is an Associate Guest Artist with Lamb's Players Theatre where she has appeared in such shows as "Joyful Noise", "Festival of Christmas", "South Pacific", "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and numerous versions of "An American Christmas". Her favorite role is that of wife to Larry and mom to Landen, Isaac, Emma and Madeleine.
Patrick J. Duffy
Patrick was last seen as Bernado in West Side Story here, and his other favorite roles have been MacDuff in Macbeth at Intrepid, and Hyde in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at Ion. Other stage credits here at Lamb's include Pete N Keely, The Book of the Dun Cow, Smoke on the Mountain ‘04 & ‘10, Festival of Christmas ‘08, The Voysey Inheritance, An Ideal Husband, Cold Comfort Farm, South Pacific, and Rehearsal for Murder (which he also stage managed and sound designed). He recently won the Craig Noel "Outstanding Sound Design" award for Les Misérables, and his other sound credits here are MIXTAPE, Fiddler on the Roof, Pump Boys & Dinettes, Godspell, Boomers, The Fantasticks, The Light in the Piazza, Joseph ‘07 and ‘15, American Rhythm ‘06 at the Lyceum, The Secret Garden, and Enchanted April. When not on stage or designing, he can be found building sets or as Lamb’s Audio Master. Patrick is thankful for all His blessings in his life, and wishes you the same. Thanks for coming by, enjoy!
Deborah Gilmour Smyth
Willa Ray Marshall
Associate Artistic Director and director of Patron Services, Deborah has been a member of the Lamb’s resident ensemble since 1979 . Originally from the East Coast, she has lived all over the United States and went to school at San Francisco State University where she studied music and theatre. One of San Diego’s most active performers with over 200 productions to her credit, she is a seven-time recipient of the San Diego Theatre Critics’ Circle’s Craig Noel Award including Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play for Martha in Intrepid Theatre Company's Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf, Vivian Bearing in Lamb’s production of Wit and Outstanding Female Performance in a Musical for her performance as Mother in Ragtime at Starlight Musical Theatre, for her role of Margaret Johnson in The Light in the Piazza at Lamb’s Players, and for her role of Mrs. Lovett at Cygnet Theatre. She has been honored with Backstage West and numerous Patte awards for performance, original music, sound design. At Lamb’s Players Deborah has performed in over 160 productions, directed over 70 productions, sound designed, written original music, or musically directed over 80 productions. Deborah enjoys the opportunity to be involved in an amazing ensemble that is the Lamb’s Players family. Deborah and her husband, Producing Artistic Director Robert Smyth, and their good buddy Banjo Billy make their home in Coronado.
Caitie has been in over 30 Lamb's productions since 2010! LPT favorites include Silent Sky, Equivocation, Twelfth Night, Fiddler on the Roof, American Rhythm, Quilters, Wit, Big Fish, Oz, Les Miserables, Mixtape, The Book of the Dun Cow, The Glory Man, and "100 Hours of Stories", the play reading marathon that won Lamb's Players Theatre a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. Recently, Caitie appeared as Tzeitel alongside Danny Burstein and Susan Egan in "To Life! Bock and Harnick on Broadway" with the San Diego Symphony, under the baton of Rob Fisher. Caitie has also appeared at Cygnet Theatre as Rose in Dogfight, and has participated in Cygnet's staged readings of Hair, Side by Side by Sondheim, and Evita. Caitie received her BFA from The Boston Conservatory and is a proud member of Actors Equity. All my love to Charlie!
Kerry wears many hats as actor, director, and playwright. She is the director of Lamb’s Educational Outreach. On staff at Lamb's since 1976, she now serves as Lamb’s Associate Artistic Director. As resident playwright, her work includes Boomers, American Rhythm, Dracula, My Asparagus Is Growing Fine and LPT’s annual Festival of Christmas. Her directing credits include MIXTAPE, Guys & Dolls, Trying, An Ideal Husband, Pretty Fire, Thunder At Dawn, Private Lives, The Boys Next Door, Amadeus, Beau Jest, The Foreigner and You Can’t Take It With You. As a performer she has been seen in such productions as The Great Divorce; Quilters; Tartuffe; Godspell; She Loves Me; A Woman of No Importance; You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown; Till We Have Faces; Pump Boys and Dinettes; Into The Woods; Hello, Dolly!; Boomers, The Hit, Leaving Iowa, Harvey , The Music Man and See How They Run and Dinner with Marlene.
Lizzie made her professional debut at age 8 in Festival of Christmas. She is a LPT Associate Artist whose credits include Oz (Female swing), An American Christmas (2006 – 2012), and Lamb’s 100 Hours of Stories: The Music Man and Guys and Dolls. Elsewhere: Lilly in the West Coast Premiere of Simon Stephens Punk Rock (ion theatre), Maria in Twelfth Night, Anne Page in Merry Wives of Windsor, Wendla in Spring Awakening, Cellar Door (New Fortune); The Sound of Music (Moonlight). TV/Film: The Cast Members, Unusual Suspects, The Blackshirts, Going Together. Upcoming: Sunday in the Park with George (ion Theatre). Merry Christmas!
Molly is thrilled to be back working at Lamb's! Other Lambs credits include Maggie in An American Christmas (2011, 2012), Gracie Shinn in The Music Man, as well as a teaching artist for their youth theatre camps. Other credits: Peter in Peter Pan, Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Featured Ensemble in Spamalot and Mary Poppins (Moonlight), Stewardess Robinson/Italian Couple in Titanic (Elon University), Dancing in the Black Box (Elon Dance Company), Doctor in Agnes of God (Francis Parker), Blanche in King John (Intrepid Shakespeare Co), Betty in The Crucible (Moxie Theatre/ Intrepid Shakespeare Co), and Clara in The Nutcracker (California Ballet). She’s currently studying at Elon University to receive her BFA in Music Theatre. Molly thanks her family for their continuous love and support.
Grandison is elated to spend this Christmas season with you in his reoccurring role as “Jefferson Tolman”, in AN AMERICAN CHRISTMAS. Grandison has worked with several theater groups in numerous productions, he most recently performed in Cygnet Theatre’s repertory production of 7 GUITARS and KING HEDLEY II. His credits include FENCES, PIANO LESSON and GEM OF THE OCEAN (Cygnet Theatre), CAROUSEL in Concert, (The BarnStageCompany); BULRUSHER and AS YOU LIKE IT (New Village Arts); TWO TRAINS RUNNING (u/s) and KOSHER GROCER (u/s) (Old Globe); SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH (La Jolla Playhouse); I’M NOT RAPPAPORT (Patio Playhouse); THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS and GOD’S TROMBONES (Ira Aldridge Players) and JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE and the title role in OTHELLO (Octad Productions) and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (Lamb’s Players) to name a few. Grandison wishes to thank his family and friends for their continued love and support. Especially the love and support of his wife without whom doing what he loves would not be possible.
John Burt Polhamus
John has developed a varied career embracing opera, musical theatre, oratorio and concert singing, as well as straight acting, in the United States, Europe, Mexico, and Asia. A native San Diegan, John has appeared with San Diego Opera, the San Diego Symphony, San Diego Musical Theater, the Bach Collegium San Diego, Welk Resort Theatre, Starlight Opera, the San Diego Gilbert and Sullivan Repertory Company, Pacific Chamber Opera, and in Lamb's Players productions including "Fiddler on the Roof" (x 2), "1776," "The Music Man," "A Man for All Seasons," "Twelfth Night," "An American Christmas" (x 10!) and "Taran-Tara!" John has performed in London's West End, covering and performing the roles of Al Jolson in "Jolson - the Musical, "Mssr. Lumiere" in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," and "Mssr. Firmin" in Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera." He has also toured Europe with Pavillion Opera, Regency Opera, and English Festival Opera.
Baritone Brandon Sherman started his musical career at a young age, appearing on the theatre stage as Colin from “The Secret Garden.” Mr. Sherman's credits include the roles of Valjean in "Les Miserables," Tom Collins in RENT!, Pooh-Bah in Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta “The Mikado,” as well as numerous others throughout Southern California. Mr. Sherman has been a contracted member of the San Diego Opera Chorus since age 19 and has performed in Carnegie Hall under John Rutter’s baton, as well as internationally in Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Lichtenstein. An accomplished pedagogue, Mr. Sherman graduated with a Bachelors in Applied Arts and Science in Voice and has taught private voice for six years as a recognized Associate NATS (National Association of Teacher of Singing) member. As a passionate educator, he is also the Director of Musical Theatre for the Poway School District in an after-school enrichment program, KidzTyme and President of Star Repertory Theatre in Escondido. Mr. Sherman is honored to continue as an Associate Artist with LPT.
is LAMB's Producing Artistic Director. He joined the staff of Lamb's Players Street Theatre as an actor and director in 1976. In 1978 LAMB'S opened its first resident theatre in National City, and then in 1994 brought the old performance space in Coronado's historic Spreckel's Building back to life as its new home. Robert has directed more than 150 productions for LAMB'S, and performed in over 100, including favorite roles in A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1776, Cyrano De Bergerac, The Boys Next Door, and the one-man show Damien. He and his wife, director, actor, composer, Deborah Gilmour Smyth, make their home in Coronado.
Ramona has performed with Lamb's Players "An American Christmas" for all 24 years. Needless to say it has truly become a family tradition. Throughout the year Ramona teaches harp to all ages and recently started a harp ensemble. She has performed in many unique settings of weddings, churches, parties, hotels, and restaurants. She and her husband Randal, repair and service harps through out Southern California.
Lucia is thrilled to be returning to the Lamb's Players Stage! As a Lambs Players Associate Artist she has been seen in: Quilters (Sarah's Daughter), Music Man (Amaryllis), Festival of Christmas ’09, American Christmas ’11, ‘12 & '15; Other credits include: OnStage Playhouse: Diary of Anne Frank (Anne - SD Critic’s Circle Outstanding Young Artist, Aubrey Award); Moonlight Theatre: Oklahoma; Patio Playhouse: The Effects of Gamma Rays… (Tillie - Aubrey nomination); Old Globe: The Grinch '08, Celebrity Sonnets; CYC Theatre: The Secret Garden (Mary Lennox), Seussical (Jojo); TV: Parenthood, Modern Family, 1600 Penn; Film: R.I.P.D., A Better Place; Voiceover: Lego Friends (series), Barbie’s A Perfect Christmas. She is a proud member of SAG/AFTRA and an improviser in the Comedy Sportz High School League.
"A lavish holiday feast with a historical twist! The atmosphere is authentic and undeniably merry. Guests leave with all their Yuletide yearnings satisfied!"
- Westways Magazine
"Exceptionally entertaining! Far exceeded my wildest expectations."
David Lansing - Sunset Magazine
"A perfect melding of food, ambience, and showmanship."
- San Diego Magazine
"I love the Hotel Del at Christmastime. It's like you're back 100 years, which is where you should be at Christmas."
- Ray Bradbury
"Twenty-one years ago, Robert Smyth wanted to develop a Christmas dinner show for his Lamb’s Players Theatre, but every holiday script he read was set in the Victorian England of Charles Dickens.
“I thought, what about an American Christmas?” said Smyth, producing artistic director for the Coronado-based theater company. “An American celebration would be unique because we’re a nation of immigrants who bring a lot of traditions together and that creates a unique flavor all its own.”
In 1992, Smyth’s “An American Christmas” debuted at the Granger Music Hall in National City. The Lamb’s Players production featured actors playing members of a large family coming together in 1905 San Diego to celebrate the holidays, with audience members doing double-duty as the family’s invited party guests. The actors in the show not only sang and danced, they also set the tables, served the meal and cleaned up afterward.
Two years later, Lamb’s Players moved from National City to downtown Coronado and Smyth went looking for a new hall to stage his historically themed holiday dinner. Turns out, one of his new neighbors was interested. Dean Nelson, then president of the Hotel del Coronado, attended a performance of “An American Christmas” and the very next morning, he invited Lamb’s to move the gala dinner into the historic hotel’s Crown ballroom.
Since then, “An American Christmas” has grown to become one of the Del’s most popular holiday traditions. This season’s run opens Monday and runs for 9 nights (no performance Christmas Day). The show includes a gourmet five-course dinner served while the Lamb’s cast of 27 performs a three-hour show that includes singing, dancing and audience interaction.
The show’s plot is the holiday reunion of members of San Diego’s affluent Marshall family, circa 1912. Joining widowed family matriarch Willa Ray Marshall (played each year by Deborah Gilmour Smyth, Lamb’s associate artistic director) are her adult sons, daughters and in-laws, nephews and nieces, business associates, neighbors and family friends (not to mention about 350 ticket-holders who are the Marshall’s honored guests each night).
Between courses, the Marshalls entertain with songs, stories, jokes, poems, Champagne toasts, singalongs and dancing. Diners celebrating birthdays, weddings and anniversaries are singled out for notice (one couple celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary at the dinner one night, while another couple attended on their wedding night). Each night, one male audience member is named Potato King and feted with a parade (led by Robert Smyth, who plays Willa Ray’s bawdy Irish immigrant cousin, Ian O’Casey). The actors circulate to every table and interact (in character) with guests; they wander the aisles singing barbershop harmony, and they bring small children in attendance onstage at the end of the show to perform a choreographed dance.
Each fall, Smyth updates the script so that the story is always 100 years in the past. In one segment of the show, male cast members read historical facts from newspapers of the day (for example, in 1912 the Oreo cookie was invented and Fenway Park debuted). Gilmour Smyth updates the score each year with popular songs of the day. And the costumers and wigs crew make regular updates to keep up with the times.
This year, all of the men’s costumes will be updated with white waistcoats, which were all the rage in 1912. In last year’s show, female cast members wore elaborate hats to celebrate California’s suffragettes (who won the right to vote in 1911). But in 1912, hats were out of fashion, so costumer Jeanne Reith has retired them from this year’s show. Coming soon are changes to the men’s wigs and facial hair. When World War I began in 1914, men heading into the service shaved off their mustaches and beards so their gas masks would fit securely in the trenches.
Each year there is a special themed tribute in the after-dinner program. In 2009, it was the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. This year, the cast will commemorate the tragic sinking of the Titanic with a poignant reading of the Thomas Hardy poem “The Convergence of the Twain.”"
Pam Kragen - North County Times
Producing Artistic Director:
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A Turn of the Century Feast and Celebration
Lamb's Box Office (619) 437-6000
Tue - Sat, Noon to 7pm / Sun, Noon to 2
The Horton Grand Box Office opens at 5pm Wed - Sat, opens Sun at 2pm
Under 30? Find out about half-price tickets!
Seniors (65+) and Groups of 10+ – $5 off
For group discounts for more than 10 people please contact Susan Andrews (619) 437-6050 x126