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HOLIDAY HIGHLIGHT — ‘GIFTS OF THE MAGI’

“The Gifts Magi” stars ChelseMorgan JasRichards. | Phoby Kelsey Jorissen

“The Gifts of the Magi” stars Chelsea Morgan and Jason Richards. | Photo by Kelsey Jorissen

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Updated: January 1, 2013 6:14AM



Something new on the holiday entertainment scene this season is the Chicago premiere of “The Gifts of the Magi” at Porchlight Theatre. The musical by Randy Courts and Mark St. Germain combines two short stories by O. Henry — “The Gift of the Magi” and “The Cop and the Anthem” — to tell the story of a young married couple with very little money and how they deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other.

“The warmth and intimacy of the story” are what drew director Mark Lococo to the piece. “And the music is complex, both melodically and lyrically,” he adds. “I like the challenge of that, as well as making an original stab at a familiar story.”

The heartwarming musical for the entire family is set in 1905 New York City where we not only meet the penniless couple (Chelsea Morgan and Jason Richards) but also other characters going about their holiday errands including Soapy Smith (Kevin McKillip), a cheerful bum hoping to get arrested so he can spend Christmas in a warm jail cell.

“There’s something for everyone in the production — a poignant re-telling of the familiar story of a couple’s love for each other triumphing over the commercialization of the holiday, along with a comic story of an enterprising hobo who can’t catch a break,” Lococo said. “The music is lovely, melodic and soaring, the performances are true and honest, and the comedy is adept and lively.”

“The Gifts of the Magi” runs through Dec. 23 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. For tickets ($39), call (773) 327-5252; stage773.com.



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