GARDEN CITY — The sad news this holiday season is that Juanito Bandito will not ride again.
Not in a live performance, at least.
But the talented Davis family from Pickleville Playhouse is offering a consolation prize to their disappointed audiences that they are calling “12 Days of Pickleville Christmas.”
“It will be a December full of digital Christmas gifts that will help families create an even more memorable holiday season,” according to TJ Davis, the madcap bard of the multi-talented and multi-generational theatrical Davis clan. “Those gifts will include recordings of past shows, including last year’s Christmas show, plus an original mini-series featuring some of our favorite Pickleville characters.
“We think that ‘12 Days of Pickleville Chrismas’ is going to be something really fun for families to enjoy together,” the playwright adds. “They’ll wake up each morning during early December excited to see the next episode and hopefully enjoy it with their loved ones.”
The Davis family have traditionally staged two shows in repertory at their rustic playhouse on the shores of Bear Lake over the summer and then taken other productions on the road to Logan and Salt Lake City during the winter months. Those Christmas shows from Pickleville Playhouse have been one of the highlights of the holiday season in northern Utah for more than a decade.
Starting in 2007, those productions alternated between commercial shows and original musical comedy reviews penned by Davis. Since 2013, the Pickleville holiday shows have been musical parodies of the Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” starring Davis as his most infamous characterization — Juanito Bandito.
“We’re not going to be able to produce a live show this December,” Davis admits, “because of many factors. Mostly, it’s because of seating restrictions due to coronavirus health concerns in the touring venues where we appear in Salt Lake City and (at the Ellen Eccles Theatre) in Logan.
“So we’re planning on something that will be equally entertaining and will serve our audience at an even higher level this December.”
The “12 Days of Pickleville Christmas” will begin on Dec. 1. Full details about the program will be announced in early November and registration for the event will be open from Nov. 25 to 30.
In the meantime, Davis and his wife Erin are inviting their faithful fans to provide input on favorite Pickleville moments they would like included in the “12 Days of Pickleville Christmas” by filling out a quick online survey at: https://forms.gle/4QHJyWZ4KVr3Awvc6
“This has been a tough year due to the pandemic,” Davis acknowledges. “We’re having to innovate even more for this Christmas show than we did over the summer. But it’s a fun challenge for sure.”