Campbell Family Christmas Show Poster

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Performing at the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center



Campbell Family Show Poster


Campbell Family Show Poster

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Campbell Family Show Poster









If you have ever tried to plan a holiday gathering for your family, you will enjoy this endearing story of family and the pursuit of the "perfect" holiday.


Maddie is planning the "perfect" Christmas for her family. Her husband Joe is trying to help, well... where he can. Things get a little tricky when a snow storm delays Mom and Dad's arrival, a cookie crazed neighbor keeps popping in, Maddie's sister Diane ends up in another country, brother Howard decides a religion change sounds like a good idea, and rum-loving Grandma gets her groove on with an impromptu holiday soirée. Toss in some kugel, an ever-green allergy, a dash for vegan eggnog (is that even a thing?!), a secretly meat-filled vegan pot of soup, and you've got holiday chaos at its best!


Director: Trevor Frets
Musical Director/Conductor/Accompanist: Marsha Canaday
Costume Designer: Francie Kuzila
Props Designer: Louisa Swithenbank
Hair and Make-up Designer: John Hollan
Scenic Designer: Bethany Elliot
Lighting Designer: Jayson Chandley
Sound Designer: Brady Rose
Stage Manager: Catherine Lewis
Asst. Stage Manager: TBD


Maddie: Kelsey Nichols
Joe: Peter Volmert
Linda/Diane: Meredith Hollan
Howard/Linda: Paul McArdle



Our story begins in the quaint little home of Maddie and Joe – a young married couple preparing to host family Christmas at their house.  Their home is plastered with an assortment of Christmas and Hanukkah decor. Wait… what?  Yes, that’s right.  This holiday they will be celebrating Christmas/Hanukkah because…  well, we will get there.

In the dining room is an ornately decorated Christmas tree surrounded by gifts. There is a menorah in the center of the table.  We are introduced to all of the characters via an opening montage (Merry Christmas).  When the song ends, Joe enters the kitchen to find Maddie finishing up a conversation with her mother.  Maddie’s parents are on their way to pick up Grandma on their way over.  Joe has been battling to get the Christmas lights up before they all arrive.  He wants to meet the unspoken expectation of his father in law by having the lights on every roof line – including the gables!  Maddie thinks it silly and it doesn’t matter if the gables have lights.

During their playful banter, Joe complains about the real Christmas tree in the house.  He is allergic and it causes him sneezing fits.  Maddie explains a real tree is a requirement because, well, her parents always had a real tree when she was growing up so there must be a real tree this year.

You see where this is going?  But wait, there’s more…

Maddie has hung a Happy Christmas/Hanukkah! banner and she is baking kugel (The Perfect Christmas). 

Next, we meet Linda – the middle-aged neighbor who is into everyone’s business and lacks boundaries.  She invites herself in and hands over a plate of cookies.  Ever the polite hostess, Maddie tries to decline the cookies since her sister is vegan.  Linda completely ignores Maddie’s protests, sets the cookies down, and complements Maddie on her live tree before scurrying home to make more cookies.  Joe enjoys a cookie and offers one to Maddie, who is visibly frustrated that things are not going according to plan. (You Know Diane is Vegan) What could go wrong with a Vegan Christmas/Hanukkah?

The phone rings.  Maddie’s brother, Howard, explains that he is very excited that he is now Jewish (Me and My Jewish Girlfriend) and they would like to bring wine to the gathering.  Maddie reminds him that Mom is sober since the Thanksgiving gravy incident last month.  Both shutter at the memory – carpet had to be replaced in half of their parents’ house after.  They are having a dry vegan Christmas/Hanukkah.  Howard reveals he is so committed to his new relationship that he is recovering from his circumcision.  Shocked, Maddie tells him he can tell everyone about it as soon as they arrive, and she quickly gets off the phone.

Joe reenters the kitchen victoriously completing the lights that will finally earn him a complement form his father-in-law…he hopes.  He would like to celebrate with a quick glass of Eggnog.  While Maddie removes the unwanted cookies, Joe tends to the vegan Eggnog (The internet swears the dairy-less eggnog tastes the same) and adds a little “holiday cheer” (aka rum) while he stirs (Eggnog).  Linda returns with more cookies to share after letting herself in through the back door which was “open”.  When she notices the first batch is gone, she scolds Joe for eating them all and goes back home to make more.  Paying no attention to his protests.  Joe hides the cookies to prevent Maddie having a meltdown.

Maddie returns and decides to taste the vegan eggnog.  When she discovers he has added rum, she reminds him they are having a dry vegan Christmas/Hanukkah or they risk a repeat of the gravy incident from Thanksgiving.  They both shutter.  Joe races off to purchase vegan eggnog form the store before it closes in 15 minutes.  Good thing it is just down the street.

After he leaves, Maddie notices more cookies on the table; she screams out of frustration that the cookies are multiplying and Joe races back in to check on his wife.  She yells at him to get to the store before it closes.  The phone rings and it is Grandma.

Grandma is confused why no one has picked her up yet.  She tried to call Maddie’s mom, but no answer.  Maddie reassures Grandma that the cell reception may have been affected by the incoming snowstorm.  Just sit tight and they will be there soon.  Grandma tells her not to worry, she is making her famous eggnog, with rum, to bring along.  Maddie tries to explain vegan eggnog to Grandma who is confused about how to make eggnog without eggs, milk, and rum (Eggnog Reprise).  Maddie reminds her that her mom is sober because of the infamous gravy incident and Grandma says she isn’t afraid of a little gravy.  Maddie changes the subject and hangs up the phone. 

Joe returns with the vegan eggnog in a Christmas/Hanukkah miracle!  Diane, Maddie’s sister, calls. She has been having terrible vibrations.  She even had a kombucha to help cleanse her system, but the bad vibes continue (Bad Vibrations).  She is convinced their parents are in mortal danger.  Maddie tries to calm her down, but it is not working.  Joe hops on the call to try to calm Diane and Maddie, but his sneezing fit because of the real tree causes some tension when he dismisses the homeopathic remedies that Diane suggests.  The whole conversation is derailed when someone around Diane asks for directions to Ontario Canada and she hangs up the phone.

Bewildered by the bizarre conversation with Diane, Maddie decides to call her parents.  No answer, just voicemail.  Seconds later, the phone rings.  Hopeful it is her parents, Maddie is surprised to hear a slightly tipsy Grandma on the other end.  Evidently, Diane called her to declare her bad vibrations to Grandma.  Maddie assumes Grandma is in a tizzy, but she is doing just fine.  Maddie offers to send Joe to get her, but Grandma says she will wait.  There are some carolers coming around and she wants to invite them in for a little of the Christmas cheer (eggnog) she made earlier.

Furious with Diane for calling Grandma and worrying her, Maddie calls Diane.  They argue and Maddie hangs up mid conversation.  Joe enters with his phone.  Howard called after he spoke to Diane.  While trying to have a conversation with him, the doorbell rings.  Maddie assumes it is her parents, but it is Linda…with, you guessed it, more cookies.   Mayhem ensues when Maddie it trying to talk to Linda in person and Howard and Diane on separate phones.  No one knows which way is up and who is talking to who.

While Maddie tries to sort out her siblings, Linda scooches in to see what Maddie is cooking on the stove – stew.  After tasting the stew, she realizes what it needs is some andouille sausage to give it a little kick.  She grabs some from the fridge and adds it in.  Joe tries to stop her, but she won’t take no for an answer.  After a quick taste, Linda leaves.  Maddie returns, after hanging up with both Diane and Howard, and tastes the soup.  She is shocked that a VEGAN soup would taste so good with all of that fake meat in it.  Joe is slowing dying inside but says nothing.  Maddie reminds him the whole meal is vegan, but it was still going to be a wonderful holiday.  (Different This Year)

Linda returns, but not with cookies this time.  Brownies.  Thankfully, Maddie is distracted by a phone call.  Howard has called to let her know that he and his girlfriend would not be coming.  (Me and My Jewish Girlfriend Reprise) He is in the ER because his recovery from his circumcision is not going as planned.

As Joe says, no one understands the rules of kosher anyway…except Maddie… because she has been planning this dinner for over a month.

Dianne calls again, but this time Joe picks up the phone.  She has completely lost track of the day because she has met her “soul partner” Thor in the parking lot of Whole Foods and he whisked her away in his van to Canada.

At least it doesn’t matter that the stew has andouille sausage in it anymore.

While Joe tries to explain this to Maddie, she sees more cookies and flips out.  Grandma calls again.  She explains that she is having a little party with the carolers since the dinner was canceled since everyone was going to Diane’s wedding.  Maddie explains there is no wedding, but Grandma isn’t concerned and she will see them at New Years.

Joe enters and shares the text he received from Maddie’s parents.  They are stranded in the snowstorm and can’t make it.

Now everyone can enjoy Grandma’s Famous Eggnog recipe with rum.

Maddie and Joe try to invite Linda over, but her voicemail says she already has holiday plans.  It is just Maddie and Joe.  The plans went from dinner for seven to dinner for two in the blink of an eye.  The stress of all her plans falling through finally hits Maddie and she breaks down in tears.  Joe reminds Maddie that the two of them are a family…and then offers her a cookie. (Auld Lang Syne/Campbell Family Christmas Medley)