By Aamir Malik
Doing a Christmas show can never be like doing other shows. Christmas isn’t like other holidays. It’s a time of reflection and a time of looking forward. It’s a time of being grateful for all we have and a time of giving to others. It’s a time for inward thinking and a time for cutting loose to have a good time. And it’s specifically that latter spirit of the season that Loki Miller is evoking this Saturday night.
Originally the theatre was going to do The Christmas Carol narrated by Loki, but instead he got handed the reins to do a one-night show of his creation. Thus, the “Loki Miller and Friends Blue Room Christmas Spectacular” was born.
By a wonderful twist of fate (i.e. being his friend, acting coy, and saying things like, “Gee that sounds like fun”) I got asked to be a part of the show! The first order of business: Write it!
Loki appointed local jazz/experimental band Bogg – featuring Michael Bone (drums), Joshua Hegg (keyboards), and Gavin Fitzgerald (bass) – to be the band for the show. He wanted a live band for all musical numbers that occurred throughout an original Christmas story.
We hunkered down a few weekends ago and wrote (and wrote and wrote). Then after two days Loki, with that special gleam in his eye only the privileged know, decided not to do a story show but focus instead on fun with the band and musical numbers.
“I’m a professional writer now,” I told my kids. “I just wrote for days then tossed it all away.”
Given I had no idea how he was going to pull our story off, I looked forward to seeing him create a magic hat that would make a snowman disappear and reappear on stage as well as a group of Christmas revelers who turned into pigs before our eyes. I also thought him pegging me to play a medieval Muslim knight, questing for Santa’s kingdom, cutting edge to say the least.
The focus then became songwriting. The first practice with the band was the next night and we were ready. Songs like “No Sleep ‘Til Christmas” and “Christmas Is A Work Of Art” were well received.
Our band now included electric violinist Matt Weiner (of Clouds On Strings) and three female back-up singers: Zoe Karch, Jadea Nash, and Danielle Dupper. All three girls, ranging in age from 12 to 16, were chosen by Miller from previous summer theatre projects. Each night at practice they work hard to learn the songs, choreograph moves with the music, and keep us gentlemen in line. When I joked with Danielle about dropping Loki off one looking a bit disheveled, she got the most serious face I never expected to see and said, “Loki works SO hard…” She seemed in awe, and it made me want to be as well.
I’m beginning to realize that’s not a difficult thing. Loki’s confident beyond common sense. He’s talented beyond any expectation. And he’s simple and generous like they write about in books but we rarely see in this day and age. Not to mention he’s simultaneously as goofy as a Muppet, yet professional as anyone.
These qualities are obviously part of how he keeps picking up friends along the way. Sue Reed of the newly opened modern and vintage clothing store, Bootleg, has agreed to dress everyone. The Blue Room Young Company Christmas Choir, as well as other surprise guests, will drop by to sing and entertain. And in addition to the great tunes, the laughs, and the “spectacular”-ness of it all, there are also rumors of a local Jello artist’s involvement…
It’s all a true pleasure, but also a source of anxiety when I think of how much is still left to do! Though it wrecks my brain, it all seems par for the course to Loki. At 22 he’s certainly way ahead of the game. Heck, he’s already got a swell epic written for next year’s show…!
The Loki Miller and Friends Blue Room Christmas Spectacular will run one night only at the Blue Room on Saturday, December 15th. The show starts at 7:30PM and costs $20.