‘Twas five years ago, during chilly December

I flew to New England – how well I remember

The frost hit my lungs as my chest swelled with pride

To see a production of my lovely Bride

No, I don’t mean Joy, then the newest of mothers

My fictional Bride, which surpasses all others


You might say “What? The Dickens?” and there you’d be right

On his tale of two sisters we’d based our delight

From The Battle of Life sprang the seed of our plot

You might say “What? That’s Dickens?” for most have forgot

His least-heralded story, of sisterly duty

We changed several plot points, retained all its beauty.

Our unfaithful revision seems Charles Dickens’ fulf-

Illment; here credit is due to librettist M.K. Wolfe.

(Excuse the enjambment. This would be pristine

If only she’d kept the name, Margit Ahlin.)


I jump hurdles, sometimes, to rhyme a tough word

But on Christmas Bride something different occurred:

It cried out for romance, the ardor you gush

No score I’ve composed’s more enticingly lush

No lyrics more passionate; each song – it sears!

Stoic New Englanders: mugs streaked with tears.

And the best part? The narrative: T.C.B.’s text

Got patrons to contemplate what happens next.

When scripts keep ‘em guessing, attention is paid

And that’s half The Battle (of Life) as conveyed

In a tiny production, in the smallest of halls

Spanking new orchestrations, they bounced off the walls

‘Twas my maiden endeavor – arranging for reeds

A band – teeny tiny – it met all our needs.

One tooter played flute, English Horn, bassoon, oboe,

Clarinet, piccolo – he looked like a hobo

So ragged ran he, switching quick back and forth

Plus pianist and cellist – all we had there up North.

And that cast, how they sparkled, each player a “playa”

Directed, precisely, by Al D’Andrea.

Maine’s Snowlion Rep the producer, so sage

The Victorian world, gamely stuffed on that stage

And fine choreography, like you don’t see much now:

Country reels! Horseback riding! Even milking a cow

We conjured, precisely, Victorian past

On the wings of commitment by talented cast

One Marissa Sheltra, fantastically she’d

Warble her heart out (I’ve buried the lead)

And Brian McAloon, so dashing a cupid!

One vixen! One dancer! One – wait, this is stupid

The cast was perfection that Providence sent

Like Fran Page, graced our stage at that Maine event.


Now time flips its pages, and stages seem wan

Five years since I’ve seen a book musical on

I’m wishing this Christmas one more might be seen

On the boards near to you in Two-Ought-Seventeen

But I made the same wish back in Two-Thousand-Ten

And had no idea what the future held then

So, I keep my tradition each Christmas, I dream

Of a new show production by a fabulous team.




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