Snowlion Repertory Company picked a busy time of the year for its inaugural theater production.

But when you have the right show, right cast and right space, why wait?

Based on the Charles Dickens holiday story “The Battle of Life,” Snowlion presents the musical “The Christmas Bride” seven times tonight through Wednesday at Lucid Stage in Portland. It’s a charming, coming-of-age romance about a young woman who is betrothed to a neighbor lad but falls in love with a dashing stranger. Rather than do what is expected of her, she stands up for herself and does what she wants.

The show has a Christmas twist, with themes of love, faith and forgiveness, said Snowlion producing director Margit Ahlin.

“One of the reasons I wanted to do this piece is because it offers a powerful role model for women,” she said. “It’s a story about changing your identity, discovering who you are and what you want. She says, ‘It’s my life, my choice.’ This comes as a revelation to those around her.”

Snowlion is a new theater company in town. Ahlin and the company’s artistic director, Al D’Andrea, moved to Portland about two years ago. They created theater in Los Angeles and New York for many years prior to coming here.

They have spent most of their time since becoming familiar with the community, and have attended shows presented by different companies to gauge the kind of theater available in Portland to see if they could fill a niche.

“The Christmas Bride” felt like an opportunity. While there are many Christmas theater offerings available, there are few Christmas musicals. A three-piece orchestra will provide musical accompaniment. Jim Colby serves as musical director.

Maine native David Arthur Bachrach comes home to play one of the leads in the show. Bachrach was born and raised in Brunswick, making his acting debut at age 5 in elementary school there.

“I have known I wanted to be an actor since then, and I knew I had to go to New York to do it,” he said.

He has acted professionally in New York for 30 years, but has longed to return to Maine to work, and visits often. He last appeared in the Pine Tree State at Maine State Music Theatre in Brunswick in 1976.

“The Christmas Bride” has a limited history. Ahlin adapted the book from Dickens’ “The Battle of Life” using her non de plume, MK Wolfe. Her friend, Noel Katz, composed the music and lyrics.

Ahlin originally presented the play in New York in 1988. Bachrach was in that production as well — playing a character much younger than the one he is playing now. A theater company in Bethlehem, Pa., presented it in 2001.

Snowlion encourages new work by new and established playwrights. It has begun a “play lab” writing group to encourage conversations among playwrights and to provide feedback.

It has several shows in the works, and hopes to begin presenting regularly in the winter and spring.

“We have a strong desire to do new work,” D’Andrea said. “We are interested in doing work that has some spiritual, cultural and ethical value.”

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-64567 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes


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