THEATER | Soap opera star returns home to Osseo to pull off a Christmas “Miracle”

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Yellow Tree Theatre is a professional theater created in a space vacated by an Osseo furniture store. The stage was created by dropping black curtains and building risers on three sides for a small audience. Two months ago, with rehearsals set to begin, they suddenly lost the rights to their holiday show: Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol. Three weeks later, playwright Jessica Lind, a co-founder of the company, had written Miracle on Christmas Lake and they were back in business.

miracle on christmas lake, a play presented through december 28 at yellow tree theatre, 320 5th ave. s.e., osseo. for tickets ($17) and information, see yellowtreetheatre.com.

Miracle on Christmas Lake is the story of a small theater company in a tiny Minnesota town that loses its rights to It’s A Wonderful Life right before opening night and has to come up with a new show in 24 hours. Colin, a successful New York City soap opera star, has moved back home to Christmas Lake after inheriting the theater from his father. In the role of Colin, Jason Peterson has to take a cast of misfits and create a miracle. (Peterson himself moved back to Minnesota from New York City, where he appeared in Guiding Light and As the World Turns.) Colin and his wife Tess need a successful Christmas show to earn the financial backing of wealthy Mrs. Burlington (Sarah Broude). He also needs to convince Tess (Mary Fox) to not turn in her long underwear and move back to New York.

Miracle at Christmas Lake is a madcap holiday farce that has the audience laughing at the miscues and mishaps that occur. My friend Sue, who is Norwegian, could identify with all of the inside jokes about lutefisk and hotdish. “It was just like being at my family’s Christmas party,” she said. The actors are so convincingly bad that I started to believe that I was actually in Christmas Lake watching their production.

In the end, the play is a huge success. Colin gets his financial backing, two cast members find true love, and everyone lives happily ever after. A happy ending: isn’t that we all want for Christmas?

Jean Gabler is program manager for undergraduate business programs at the University of St. Thomas.