In the Loop
Student Stories : Dec 9, 2014

School of Theatre + Dance talent help the holidays come alive at the Hippodrome Theatre

By Elizabeth Boone

The holidays are in full swing in Gainesville and at the Hippodrome Theatre where Winter Wonderettes and A Christmas Carol are currently on the mainstage.   

The School of Theatre + Dance is well represented in the Winter Wonderettes holiday musical created by Roger Bean and directed and choreographed by Associate Professor Ric Rose that features classic songs such as “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Run, Rudolph, Run,” and “Winter Wonderland.”

Taking the stage are Katrina Asmar (BFA Musical Theatre ’11), in the role of Cindy Lou, and current musical theatre senior Yael Reich who plays Suzy. Behind the scenes is Robert “Bob” Robins (BFA Theatre Production ’85), serving as lighting designer.

With four women leading the show, each character brings a unique element to the performance.

“My character is fun, over-the-top and also has a vulnerability that is unexpected,” says Asmar, who is performing at the Hippodrome for her fourth time.

Reich’s character is naïve and gullible, but she also possesses a child-like whimsy. “She keeps that part of Christmas and the holidays alive,” says Reich, performing at the Hippodrome for the first time.

Leading the production is Rose who Asmar says has been wonderful to work with. “He works with flexibility and care with each actor. He is patient and creative, yet still pushes us further every day.”

Reich agrees. “Ric has truly infused this show with the spunk and spirit it requires.”

Asmar says there have been difficult aspects of the performance, which requires a lot of energy and is challenging musically. “We sing rock songs and ballads within moments of each other. It's a real test of vocal flexibility.”

Another thing both actors agree on is that the show is perfect for the whole family.

“It rides through the ups and downs of the holiday season while maintaining a celebratory tone,” Reich says. “This show has everything.”

Winter Wonderettes runs until Dec. 21, 2014 at the Hippodrome Theatre. For information, visit