Raucous ‘Christmas with the Carps’ leaves audience roaring
By Emily Sorensen
Two men are bringing 12 raucous, wild characters to life in “Christmas with the Carps,” running Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Sunday, Dec. 23, at the Welk Resort Theatre, 8860 Lawrence Welk Drive, Escondido.
Written by and starring Randall Hickman and Douglas Davis of Vista’s Broadway Theater, “Christmas with the Carps” is loosely based on Hickman’s family and takes place one Christmas in Louella Carp’s living room with her large, crazy family.
“It’s an evening of dysfunction for the whole family,” said Hickman.
With only two people playing 12 characters, the show revolves around Hickman and Davis making incredibly quick costume changes, sometimes in as little as 30 seconds. Hickman credits his and Davis’ costume magic with “a really good stage manager,” who not only makes sure the show’s sound effects entertain, but that their numerous on-the-fly costume changes go off without a hitch.
Hickman said he isn’t done working on “Christmas with the Carps” quite yet, as he and Davis hope to be able to incorporate even more characters into the show with some reworking to allow time for more costume changes.
“Christmas with the Carps” was originally written by Hickman in 2010, and despite the previous success of the show at his and Davis’ Broadway Theater in Vista, the duo were nervous about bringing it to the larger stage, and different audience, of the Welk Theatre. Luckily, those fears seem to be for nothing as the response opening weekend was positive.
“The audience was roaring,” said Hickman. “We had a great opening weekend.”
Hickman and Davis, who have been acting and working together for approximately 25 years, opened the Broadway Theater nine years ago, in a building that formerly housed a dry cleaning business. Six years ago they opened their small off-Broadway Theater, which houses their children’s theater productions.
“We’re successful because we didn’t try to do a big theater,” said Hickman. The Broadway Theater seats 49, while their children’s theater seats a cozy 36.
“Christmas with the Carps” marks the end of their season producing shows at the Welk, including “The Producers,” in which they also starred. Hickman and Davis’ Welk season was so successful, Hickman said, that they have been invited back to do another season at the Welk, which will kick off with the musical “Spamalot” in June.
For performance times and tickets, call 1-888-802-7469 or visit welkresorts.com/san-diego-theatre.
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