A popular annual tradition with Chicago theatre audiences for more than 20 years, this timely and stirring tale of love, sacrifice, tradition and hope is being revived for the 2020 Christmas season by Fresh Roasted Films, a company founded by Columbia College alum Agnes Bono Miles ’03, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Musical Theatre, and her husband, Matt Miles. Fresh Roasted Films is a video editing and production company specializing in social media vignettes, digital shorts, events, commercials, brand marketing, and more.
The Christmas Schooner is a musical by John Reeger and Julie Shannon that premiered in 1995. It’s based on the true story of the Rouse Simmons, a Great Lakes schooner that transported fir trees from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Chicago’s German immigrant community during the late 19th century. This year, close to 100 performers – drawn from more than 20 casts – joined forces to create The Christmas Schooner as an online presentation that viewers can experience from the safety and comfort of their homes. The cast and band include Columbia College alums Amy Nell ’97, Dina DiCostanzo ’02, Leah Morrow Pawlik ’05, and Harter Clingman ’11, all graduates of the Theatre Department’s Musical Theatre Program; Columbia alum Scott C. Sedlacek ’93, a graduate of the Columbia College Chicago Music Department‘s BA Program in Music Composition; and Theatre Department faculty member Laura Sturm. All proceeds – including the time and talents of the performers and production team – will be donated to Season of Concern.