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‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical’: Show speaks to the misfit in all of us

November 19, 2018

Santa’s favorite helper (especially when it’s foggy) and all of his friends will be onstage when the national touring production of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” lands at Waterbury’s Palace Theater Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1.

This show tells the beloved tale of a young reindeer who is left out of things because of his unusual nose, but winds up a hero when Santa seeks his help on Christmas Eve. It also shares Rudolph’s adventures with characters such as Hermey, an elf who wants to be a dentist, and prospector Yukon Cornelius, not to mention Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster.

Shelby Talley, originally from San Jose, Calif., plays Rudolph in this musical based on the television classic. “I love being able to tell Rudolph’s story, it sends such an incredible message of acceptance to younger generations,” she said via email. “I also love playing this character and bringing to life the well known 1964 claymation film!”

Everyone knows Rudolph has the ability to fly — especially when the long-lashed doe, Clarice, looks his way. So will Talley be soaring through the air? “Yes I do get to fly!” she said. “It’s pretty incredible, the audience gasps every time Rudolph flies. The kids go crazy for it!”

Three productions of this 90-minute musical, which includes a 20-minute intermission, will be presented. The afternoon show on Dec. 1 will be a sensory-friendly performance, meaning there’s no expectation of complete quiet from the audience, and other “house rules” are relaxed, as well. The goal is to give people with autism or sensory needs, and their families, an opportunity to enjoy the experience while feeling free to be themselves.

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical,” shares an important truth — that what makes you different can be what makes you special. And speaking of special, can you guess how old Rudolph will be next year?

The brave little guy turns 80 in 2019, though you’d never know it from looking at him. Rudolph, who first appeared in a 1939 booklet written by Robert Lewis May, must be using some holiday magic — perhaps derived from that stash in Frosty’s old silk hat. But that’s a different story!

The Palace Theater, 100 E. Main St., Waterbury. Friday, Nov. 30, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 1, 1 and 7 p.m. $70.50-$50.50. 203-346-2000, palacetheaterct.org

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