The spotlight will shine on the old Broadmoor Theatre sign to welcome everyone to John Schneider Studios barn for a Christmas Festival on Friday and Saturday.
The festival revolves around three performances of the NOLA Voice Talent Foundation’s staged radio play of “It’s a Wonderful Life” in the barn.
“This will be a family friendly event, but it’s also something special for the grandparents,” Schneider said. “There’s a lot of Christmas entertainment for kids, but sometimes the grandparents are forgotten. The radio play is something the older generation will remember.”
And the Broadmoor sign will also spark memories for the older and not-so-old generation.
“We don’t have it working yet because it’s neon and we have to restore it,” Schneider said. “But we do have it lit by a movie spotlight, and we had it up for the recent concert that I did with Tom Wopat. It’ll be lit up for the festival.”
Schneider and his production staff came up with the idea for the festival after he and Wopat staged a concert in the barn for their Christmas CD release in 2014.
“We’re calling this an old-fashioned Christmas celebration,” said local actor Dane Rhodes, who produces Schneider’s festivals. “We want to make this an annual event, which will be a second festival for us. The first is the Shakespeare in the Swamp festival that we started in the summer.”
Included in the on-grounds entertainment will be professional Christmas carolers, jugglers, clowns, stilt walkers and face painters.
“We’ll have music all over the place, and there will be a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus at the three times the gates open,” Rhodes said. “We’ll also have plenty of food vendors and lots of Christmas crafters. If you don’t want to go inside for the performance, or if the kids get restless during the show, you can walk around the grounds, and there will be plenty to see and do.”
The NOLA Voice Talent Foundation will perform the original 1945 radio play, which eventually became film director Frank Capra’s 1947 Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The play begins two hours after the gates open, and Schneider will make the introduction at each performance.
“They’ve been rehearsing almost 16 weeks for this show,” Rhodes said. “Now we’re bringing it all together and making it happen.”
But it doesn’t stop there. There will be a casting table for actors and actresses to submit head shots and contact information for a chance to appear in Schneider’s next film. Those chosen will be notified within 90 days.
“We’re excited about this event, and we’re trying to figure out ways to do more plays at the studios,” said Alicia Allain, Schneider’s production and business partner. “We’re talking about staging a comedy called ‘Shakespeare on Trial,’ which would feature real Shakespearian actors being put on trial by real Louisiana attorneys and prosecutors and a real judge.”
Another event in the talks is Date Night, where visitors can eat dinner while watching an old movie in the barn.
“We’re thinking about scheduling this for Valentine’s Day,” Allain said.
But focus now is on the Christmas season, where the Broadmoor Theatre sign shines over a different kind of celebration.