‘A Christmas Carol’ … ‘The Messiah’ … ‘The Notebook.’ Imagine these three classics along with a hint of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ all tied up in bow. That’s a taste of the new Christmas musical debuting in Salt Lake City.
Paul “Cactus Jack” LaMarr is the creative force behind the original musical and shares the story of it.
The new musical is titled ‘A Time of Forgiving.’ It is slated for several performances around Utah, including two nightly performances at Kingsbury Hall on Friday and Saturday, December 21 and 22. “This is the one musical that will, this season, bring you the gift of Christmas meaning,” he adds.
An ambitious project for Cactus—a former carpenter turned successful recording artist—the musical’s storyline and music are both written and composed by the burgeoning performer and are somewhat autobiographical. “The story is very personal to me. I’ve exposed details of my personal trials and life’s miraculous lessons for the sake of my art,” says Cactus. With his crystal clear voice, the mastery of his arrangements and the confronting honesty of his original songs, Cactus hopes his musical will captivate and inspire those seeking a more meaningful Christmas experience.
After an extensive eight week auditioning process the production crew cast 18 local professional actors from ages eight to 74. “After eight years of writing and refining, watching the characters come to life through our talented cast is far beyond my possible imagination,” says Cactus.
Conducted by Kayson Brown, Cactus’ orchestrations will be performed by the Lyceum Philharmonic, adding an extra dimension of richness to the presentation. “Hearing the 80-member orchestra play was like hearing the London Philharmonic,” Cactus continues, “except for the fact that the average age for players is 17.”
In addition to December 21 and 22 performances at Kingsbury Hall, the musical will be performed December 18 at Mountain View High School in Orem, UT and debuts December 14 at Ellen Eccles Theatre in Logan, UT.