Janesville venue gets into the spirit with "Christmas at The Armory"

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Greg Little
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

JANESVILLE—While the true meaning of Christmas never has changed, the way in which we celebrate the season seems to become more complicated each year.

For some, searching for the perfect gift or a deal on a long-sought-after item means hours at the stores. For others, there is extra time for faith or for volunteering with a favorite local charity. And for most, it involves seeking out the perfect tree, planning a huge meal or decorating the house both inside and out in preparation for the family's anticipated visits.

The key commonality is stress. Trying to make sure all the bases are covered so things come off without a hitch can be a daunting endeavor.

That's why Brett Frazier finds the simple things important, and why he considers The Armory's “Christmas at the Armory” a valuable opportunity to relax.

“There's a lot of stuff going on and a lot of things you can do with the family around the season,” he said. “That said, going to the theater and enjoying a collection of Christmas songs and a really great meal together is something we consider unique.

“I'm not saying this takes the place of Christmas events such as church services or mass, but it's an opportunity to get together right before the holidays and enjoy about 90 minutes together before the madness takes over in a couple of days.”

Set in the Drill Hall Theater, “Christmas at the Armory” is a cabaret-style stage revue. Along with some of the area's most talented singers performing 20 different holiday standards, the show will feature a few radio-style plays, comedy bits, stories sharing the origins of many popular Christmas tunes and a visit by Santa Claus.

Presented as dinner theater, attendees also have the option of purchasing tickets for the show only or adding on a waited three-course meal featuring both chicken and pork creations.

“What guests said when we did this last year was that it was just a perfect way to get the family together, get into that holiday spirit and enjoy each other's company,” Frazier said. “It's a perfect event for everyone from kids to grandparents, and that's what the holidays are all about.”

This year's show offers a nod to holiday songs made popular during the World War II era. Frazier feels the homage is significant considering the revue's venue.

“There will be songs that everybody knows, but what you might not know is how those songs came to be,” he said. “One is an old song that will tell the story of 'Silent Night.' Many are from World War II, songs like 'I'll Be Home For Christmas,' and folks will learn what inspired that song.

“You can't help but get misty-eyed, especially in The Armory where men trained to go to war,” Frazier said.

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