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World premiere on stage in Hillsborough Dec. 15

The Alchemists’ Workshop will perform the world premiere of an adaptation of Tomie dePaola’s “The Night of Las Posadas” Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Hillsboro United Methodist Church.

First published in 1999 this award-winning book written and illustrated by New London’s Tomie dePaola is a tradition in itself. One of more than 300 books Tomie has written and illustrated, it has become an international phenomenon.

Las Posadas (Spanish for “the inns”) is a traditional Spanish festival which is now quite popular in Mexico as well as the American Southwest. The festival re-enacts Joseph’s search for a room at the inn. Each Christmas season a processional with actors playing Joseph and Mary walks through the community streets. The processional stops at a variety of buildings and is turned away by the devils inside. Finally a church/community center invites them in to sing Christmas carols called villancicos.

dePaola’s publisher gave New Hampshire artists, William Ogmundson (composer and lyricist from North Sutton) and Tom Dunn (librettist from Henniker), rare permission to adapt this work into a 45-minute musical theatre piece that will be sung by four professional singers as well as members of the audience.

Ogmundson and Dunn have collaborated on a number of musical theatre works over the last several years and they’ll be working with singers Linny Kenney of Bath, Cindy Johnson of Sutton, Fred Sprague of Hillsborough and Scott Sweatt of Errol to bring this work to life.

The Alchemists’ Workshop is in its 14th year of presenting musical theatre workshops and camps in communities across New Hampshire as well as commissioning works that help to explore the cultural and historical heritage of those communities. Each year an original work is chosen to tour the state.

The Alchemists’ Workshop was awarded the 2010 Aurand Harris award by The Children’s Theatre Foundation of America for being the best small theatre and has also won awards from Youth Serves America, Hasbro’s United Healthy Heroes and The Points of Life Foundation. For more information on the project, visit www.alchemistsworkshop.org.

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