Audiences will be transported to an “amazing winter wonderland” to get them well and truly into the Christmas spirit with festive musical shows in Norfolk and Suffolk this year.
The Joe Ringer Band will present It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas at two venues with the aim of “capturing that feeling of nostalgia through everyone’s favourite tunes”.
The show will launch at Lowestoft Marina Theatre on Friday, December 2, followed by three nights at Norwich Playhouse from Tuesday, December 6 – Thursday, December 8. Their Lowestoft Marina Theatre debut will feature the DPA Academy of Performing Arts show choir made up from youngsters aged 11-18.
Joe said: “This will be our fifth year of Christmas shows, having performed sell-out runs at both the Norwich Playhouse and Dereham Memorial Hall in the past.”
The big band Christmas variety show attracts audiences of all ages, with Joe saying: “There is something in the show for everyone from kids to grandparents. We span the whole range of Christmas songs, from traditional carols and arias, through the swinging crooners of the 1940s and 1950s to modern pop classics.”
Fairytale of New York, Winter Wonderland, White Christmas, All I want for Christmas Is You, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Jingle Bells, I Wish it Could Be Christmas Everyday are just some of the songs the audience can expect.
Joe said this year’s performance would be going all out on the vocal harmonies, with a main cast of six of the region’s top singers performing specially-arranged versions of the favourite tunes. They will be backed by a live band.
“We are lucky enough to have some of East Anglia’s best musicians and vocalists as part of the show. Our band sizes tend range from six to 25 people for our shows. Earlier this year, we performed a big band show to more than 900 people at the Norwich Theatre Royal to standing ovations and great acclaim,” he added.
Joe loves getting into the Christmas spirit, particularly doing a job he loves. “To be able to do what you love for a job and to now be able to bring everyone’s favourite festive classic to life on stage is an amazing thing.
“My first foray into producing a Christmas Show was actually back in 2010. I founded local theatre company Mixed Voice and one of the first things we did was a Christmas Show at the Norwich Assembly House. As the band really took off, I had to leave this behind, but when the opportunity arose to produce our own show, I jumped at the chance and we haven’t looked back since. Throughout the year we play at more than 100 events, from weddings and corporate events to shows and concerts, but we always look forward to December coming around,” he said.
“There is something inexplicably magic about this time of the year and the songs that have been written for and about it. Just hearing those first few bars of your favourite festive tune warms your heart.”
Christmas is also a special time of the year personally for Joe and his family. “I have so many fond memories of past family Christmases growing up in Norwich. The day the Christmas cassette came out in the car was always a special one for me. I think I know every Christmas song by heart, handy as I have very few lyrics to learn.”
This year he will be working right up until Dec 23 with Christmas functions and weddings. “I’ll then enjoy a few days off before resuming the craziness up until New Year’s Eve when we are Center Parcs in Elveden for some afternoon jazz.”
And he added: “I then go into hibernation for three months before the wedding season starts again. I’ve cooked Christmas dinner for the past four years so am hoping for a year off this time. It’s so lovely to have a little time to relax, although I’m sure my mind will probably be on the next project.”
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas will be at the Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, on December 2. Tickets are £18 (£16 Concessions) from www.marinatheatre.co.uk or 01502 533200 and Norwich Playhouse, December 6-8, 7.30pm. Tickets are £19 (£16 Groups 10+). from the Theatre Royal box office on 01603 63000, https://secure.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk/Online/.