There’s a specific passion when it comes to Christmas shows, says Sheilagh Guy-Murphy. If you go to see Handel’s “Messiah,” you expect to hear “Messiah.” If you go to see “The Nutcracker,” you expect to see the classic Tchaikovsky-scored ballet. If you go to see “Our Divas Do Christmas,” you expect to see some of the province’s top performers, doing traditional holiday tunes and exciting contemporary Christmas music.
This year, for the first time since 2009, that’s just what you’ll get.
After a four-year break, producer Guy-Murphy and director Terri Andrews of TaDa! Productions present “Our Divas Do Christmas” at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre Nov. 21 to 24.
Due to an exceptional demand for tickets, they’ve just added an afternoon matinée on the Nov. 24, with a special rate for children under 12 years.
“Our Divas” was an annual show from 2003-09, but took a hiatus because of personal circumstances involving Guy-Murphy.
Andrews continued to put off shows, including “White Christmas,” two years running, and Guy-Murphy got back into the producer’s chair last year for an Our Divas performance of “Disney in Concert: A Tale as Old as Time.”
“Everywhere we’ve been going, people have been saying, ‘Are you ever going to do ‘Our Divas Do Christmas’ again?’ This has been going on now for a couple of years, so we said, You know what? Let’s do it,” Guy-Murphy says. “I’m physically as fit as a fiddle now and rearing to go.”
She admits she’s, surprisingly, also nervous.
“I’m over the moon, but I’m so nervous about hosting. You get butterflies, sure you do,” she explains. “All our performers get butterflies. It shows the level of excitement, the level of dedication and the level of respect for your audience; you want to give your best.”
This year’s show, with a cast of well over 100, is a little shorter than previous years, with a mix of established and up-and-coming talent.
Along with the Our Divas orchestra, conducted by Bill Brennan, and the Our Divas dancers, who will perform everything from kick-line to Irish step dancing, vocalists will include Shelly Neville, Kelly-Ann Evans, Calvin Powell, Tessa Crosbie, Bob MacDonald, Leanne Haye, Kiersten Noel, Tim Matson and Justin Nurse, among others. The Quintessential Vocal Ensemble will also grace the stage once again.
“QVE is performing at Carnegie Hall in New York in May; a great accomplishment and we’re proud they will be performing with us again this year,” says Andrews.
Special guests will include aerialist Victoria Howard, the Gower Street Men’s Choir and Kittiwake Dance Theatre.
“The image that will be created is an artist standing on stage with a fabulous choir behind them, sometimes two, a beautiful orchestra and a line of dancers. It’s a great opportunity. They don’t come much bigger than ‘Our Divas Do Christmas,” Guy-Murphy says.
Tickets for “Our Divas Do Christmas” are $58.50 ($41.50 for students), HST and service charge included, and are available now at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre box office, online at www.artsandculturecentre.com., or by calling 729-3900. Children under 12 pay $22 for the Sunday afternoon matinee.