AE presents magical musical for the holidays: ‘The Gifts of the Magi’

Alex Smith and Gary Wingert in “The Gifts of the Magi.” (Photo by John Cobb)
Alex Smith and Gary Wingert in “The Gifts of the Magi.” (Photo by John Cobb)

Staff Report

How can you have Christmas with $1.97? And what does a fellow have to do to get arrested in this town? Both questions are answered in Artists’ Ensemble Theater’s (AE) holiday offering: the enchanting musical, The Gifts of the Magi, running Dec. 6-22 in the Cheek Theatre at Rockford University.

This tuneful delight intertwines two classic O. Henry stories set in 1905 New York. Jim and Della are penniless newlyweds with no money for extras like Christmas presents. Meanwhile, Soapy Smith, a “gentlemen of leisure,” abandons his park bench to embark on a quest to spend the winter in a warm, cozy cell.

AE favorite Gary Wingert, familiar to playgoers as Jeeves, plays the irrepressible Soapy. The young lovers are played by Rockford University students Katie Kuehner and Alex Smith, both featured in last season’s Meet Me in St. Louis.

From Chicago, Adam Molloy makes his AE debut as the newsboy, Willy, while Ensemble members Carolyn Cadigan and John Chase tackle the considerable challenge of playing everyone else in New York!

Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Thursday tickets are $19. All other performances are $30, $28 for seniors, and $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling (815) 394-5004.

Artists’ Ensemble is an Equity professional theater performing at Rockford University.

From the Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2013, issue

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