An interview with Duane Poole

On Writing Musicals for the Christmas Season

Duane Poole has written the book for not one, but two Christmas musicals, including a recent hit, Scrooge in Love!, staged at the 42nd Street Moon theatre of San Francisco, and an earlier piece staged in New York City. In our interview we covered a range of topics, including tips for writing this type of show, size of casts, and types of shows. He also shared his journey from idea to full production, which is instructive for showing what kind of steps are involved.

Carol de Giere: I wonder if you could begin with a quick tip for musical writers. Do you have any advice on making a holiday show unique enough that it won’t seem like just another Christmas musical?

Duane Poole: Around the holidays, audiences seem to like — to actually prefer — the familiar, so I’m not sure that “just another Christmas musical” is something bad. With the price of theatre these days…and with the desire to make sure their whole family will like it…I think the familiar is actually a plus. Grinch and Elf and White Christmas and, we hope, Scrooge in Love! all offer some expectation that the experience will be joyous and worth the time and effort and price of admission.

Scrooge in Love! is a delightful and charismatic musical!

42nd Street Moon, who generally presents little known Broadway musicals of the past, is now presenting a brand new, charming musical for the holiday season. Scrooge in Love! is a delightful and charismatic musical about everyone’s favorite yuletide grumbler, Ebenezer Scrooge. Larry Grossman, the composer of Snoopy! and Minnie’s Boys, has written a most enjoyable score that sometimes reminds me of Richard Rodgers. There are sparkling lyrics by Kellen Blair and an entrancing book by Duane Poole. The songs are nice hummable tunes. Duane Poole captures the magic of the Dickens story while finding effective ways of filling it out. The incomparable Jason Graae brilliantly stars as the sourpuss Scrooge.

Many surprising delights awaiting audiences throughout new musical “Scrooge in Love!”

Only in San Francisco will theatregoers find the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and, yes, even Future dancing together on one stage. The mysterious figure clad in all black bops its head back and forth in just one of many surprising delights awaiting audiences throughout new musical “Scrooge in Love!” 42nd Street Moon gives the “Christmas Carol” sequel a perfect premiere at the intimate Eureka Theatre, now through December 13.

A year after the original haunting, Ebenezer Scrooge boasts to Jacob Marley of his newfound reputation as a beloved benefactor. But Scrooge has one more lesson to learn, Marley states, and he cannot find true happiness without it. The three ghosts of Christmas return to help Ebenezer learn that “You Can’t Put a Price on Love.”

Marvelous world premiere of SCROOGE IN LOVE! gets 5 star rating.

Marvelous world premiere of SCROOGE IN LOVE! starring Jason Graae. Rating: ★★★★★

Duane Poole (book) and Larry Grossman (music) teamed up with Carol Hall (lyrics) to write the musical version of Truman Capote’s short story A Christmas Memory that premiered in 2010 at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley in Palo Alto moving to Off-Broadway in 2014. This time around Poole and Grossman brought along Kellen Blair to write the lyrics for a follow up on Ebenezer Scrooge’s life after his harrowing journey in A Christmas Carol.

There have been many variations of A Christmas Carol and it has become a staple production year after year at many venues in the Bay Area and throughout the U.S.A. Have you ever thought what life was like for Scrooge after his fateful conversion by the ghost of Jacob Marley and the three ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future? Think no more and secure your ticket to Scrooge in Love! (the exclamation point is part of the title) starring the inimitable Jason Graae and a strong supporting cast. It has all the ear marks of becoming a staple holiday treat in many venues.


It’s the First Day of Rehearsal for Alice Ripley and Irish Rep’s A Christmas Memory

The cast of the new off-Broadway musical A Christmas Memory met the press on October 21. The Irish Repertory Theatre production at the DR2 Theatre is scheduled to run from November 25-January 4 under the direction of Charlotte Moore.

Inspired by the largely autobiographical short story by Truman Capote, the musical features a score by Larry Grossman and Carol Hall, and a book by Duane Poole. Set in 1930s Alabama, the show looks at the celebration of Christmas in the American South from the perspective of a young boy and his eccentric family.

The New York Premiere of ‘A Christmas Memory’

November 25th- January 4th
at the DR2 Theatre in Union Square

Perfect for the holidays, A Christmas Memory is an elegant, heart-warming, musical celebration of a traditional Southern Christmas.  Set in Alabama in 1933, Memory tells the story of young Buddy, who is being raised by three eccentric cousins, and their last, precious Christmas together at home.  As Buddy and his cousin Sook gather ingredients for their World-Famous Christmas Fruitcake (with one to be delivered to the Roosevelts in the White House!), we are drawn back into a sweet world of innocence… of a warmth and emotion that has all but disappeared.

The National Alliance For Musical Theatre (NAMT) announced initial casting for ‘Beautiful Poison’

The National Alliance For Musical Theatre (NAMT) just announced initial casting for the 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals. Michael Cassara Casting serves as the resident casting office for the 26th Annual Festival of New Musicals, taking place on Thursday, October 23, 2014 and Friday, October 24, 2014 at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street).

Beautiful Poison will feature Terence Archie (Rocky), Natalie Venetia Belcon (Avenue Q), Sarah Davis (The Reckoning of Kit), Michelle Duffy (Heathers), Michael Lanning (Bonnie & Clyde), Brandon O’Neill (Aladdin), and Jesse Nager (Motown). Beautiful Poison will be directed by David Armstrong (Executive Producer and Artistic Director, The 5th Avenue Theatre), with Ian Eisendrath (A Christmas Story, Madison Square Garden) serving as musical director. Beautiful Poison features music by Brendan Milburn, lyrics by Valerie Vigoda, and a book by Duane Poole.