Happy, Healthy Holidays to All

Happy Holiday signage
Photo by Jamie Coupaud on Unsplash
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Whatever your experience this holiday season, Splash Magazines Worldwide wishes you joy and good health.  While this year has been overwhelming, frightening and challenging, the wish to keep on keeping on has unleashed creativity in all aspects of life.  Unwilling though many of us were, we learned about Zoom and how to make videos, how to garden, prepare food, take online classes, work from home and more.  Many of us read book and others watched a lot of TV or movies online.

The arts community became worldwide with videos, streaming and Zoom as did religious services.  This, being a different kind of year, you might find the list of  various things to do for the winter holidays of interest. 

Please, be safe, take care and have a wonderful 2021.

The Staff of Splash Magazines Worldwide


Rob Mathes, Virtual Band, 2020, Photo: Courtesy of Rob Mathes

Because of the pandemic, it seemed impossible for Rob Mathes to hold his annual holiday this year. The concert also took a hiatus in 2019 so that Mathes could work with Sting on his musical The Last Ship. Mathes and a generous team have worked to make sure that the 26th concert takes place.

The concert, originally on December 23, will be up online until New Year’s Day. It is free, but Mathes encourages audiences to donate to one of his favorite charities: Through the Eyes of Children.

A Christmas Carol Streaming until Saturday!

This has been a difficult year for everyone. We all feel it. In the spirit of giving, Pear Board Member and all around Bay area theatre champion Michael Champlin has wrangled artists across the Bay to create something special and free for our patrons this holiday season.

In collaboration with Hillbarn TheatreCity Lights Theatre CompanyPalo Alto PlayersDragon TheatreLos Altos Stage Company, and Our Digital Stories, we are proud to share the audio drama:

A Christmas Carol by Phillip Grecian based upon the novel by Charles Dickens

This incredible piece, full of Bay area talent is available for streaming for FREE through Saturday evening.

Happy Holidays from all of us at The Pear and all of the theatres in the Bay area – we hope you are safe and healthy and that this helps you get through. Thank you for allowing us to continue to produce for you.

The Pear Family

A Christmas Carol

Virtual Holiday Backgrounds

Find the perfect festive photo for your next virtual holiday party.

Pocket opera video 

Joffrey Ballet video

In this unique holiday season, Kris Kringle The Musical offers up a free holiday gift for theater lovers everywhere. Starting on Christmas Day, a virtual, streaming production of the perennial holiday musical, featuring a cast of Broadway veterans, will be available to online audiences at KrisKringleTheMusical.com.  As an added bonus, through Christmas, Kris Kringle The Musicalcontinues to release a series of special online musical videos leading up to the Christmas Day streaming launch. All content is available to online audiences, free of charge when you register online. Produced by 2500 Productions Inc. and Angel Polar Bear LLC, Kris Kringle The Musical supports The Actors Fund of America.   Through Christmas, KrisKringleTheMusical.com will continue to host daily musical preview videos featuring musical moments from and inspired by Kris Kringle The Musical.  Daily, each door on the Virtual Advent Calendar continues to reveal a new scene daily, including the celebrated a cappella vocalists Straight No Chaser performing a Spanish version of “My North Star,” one of the show’s most popular songs. On Christmas Day, the full virtual musical and all bonus material will be available for audiences to enjoy.   With the original story, book and additional lyrics by Maria Ciampi, and music and lyrics by Tim Janis and Angelo NatalieKris Kringle The Musical will delight audiences of all ages. Based on one of the most familiar names of holiday folklore, this is the tale of a starry-eyed toymaker, Kris Kringle, who sees toys in the stars and crosses paths with an evil toy company CEO who schemes to destroy Christmas. Kris Kringle teams up with Santa and Mrs. Claus, the beautiful Evelyn Noel, a band of hilarious apprentices and elves, and magical toys to remind us what Christmas is really about.   Having recorded the musical from their respective homes, the cast of Broadway veterans includes Amy Coelho (Jersey Boys, national tour) as Evelyn Noel, Kim Crosby (Broadway’s Into The WoodsGuys & Dolls) as Mrs. Claus, Matt Densky (Wicked, national tour) as Sky, Robert Anthony Jones (Broadway’s Finding Neverland) as Elmer, Chase Kamata (Burn the Floor, international tour) as Ms. Horn, Aveena Sawyer (Little Shop of Horrors,off-Broadway) as Tinselle, Kyle Sherman (Keen Company’s Ordinary Days) as Kris Kringle, Christopher Shyer (Broadway’s Mamma Mia!) as Roy G. Reedy, Jason Simon (Show Boat, Lincoln Center) as Santa, Mary Stout (Broadway’s Jayne EyreBeauty & The Beast) Auntie Sugarplum, Lilly Tobin (How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Madison Square Garden) as Garland, Elizabeth Ward Land (Broadway’s Amazing GraceScandalous) as Grandma Kringle; with an ensemble including Sami Bray (Broadway’s 1984), Quentin Avery Brown (Five Guys Named Moe, Westchester Broadway Theatre),  Angie Cocuzza (Baby Shark Live, national tour), Holden Hagelberger (Matilda the Musical, The Public Theater San Antonio), Reese Lores (Beauty and the Beast at Maltz Jupiter Theatre), Jose Luaces (Broadway’s A Christmas Story The Musical), Patrick Scott McDermott (Les Misérables, national tour), Meg Supina (Lili Marlene, off-Broadway).   Kris Kringle The Musical is directed by Jaimie Selke with musical direction by Randy Glass. The video series features costumes by Inda Blatch-Geib and editing, animation and original illustrations by John Narun.   A holiday perennial, Kris Kringle The Musical debuted in New York at The Town Hall in 2017.   Kris Kringle The Musical proudly supports The Actors Fund during this challenging time. The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that fosters stability and resiliency and provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals over their lifespan. Through offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Fund serves everyone in film, theater, television, music, opera, radio and dance with programs including social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and secondary employment and training services. Actorsfund.org/KrisKringle    

Kris Kringle, Photo: Courtesy of Kris Kringle

Unusual Music

Lithuanian electronic music producers and composers have responded to the extraordinary situation during this holiday season and created a unique take on it by reviving the world-famous Christmas songs such as “Jingle Bells,” “Silent Night,” “Oh Christmas Tree,” and others, and making them sound like social distancing.

The unexpected concept was achieved by making two equal intervals of pause, which symbolize the required two-meter social distance, follow each note from the songs’ main melodies. As a result, all-time Christmas favourites sound unusually new in a slower pace.

You can listen to the album here.

The minds behind the initiative are seven producers and composers, such as Alex Krell(producer of uniquely dark techno), Lakeside Culture(international duo focusing genre-bending music), FUME(electronic music producer with fascination for ambient beats), and others, all of who have collaborated with the electronic music project Antidote and released a new album  “Re-Xmas” of the so-called “social distancing remixes.”

The album is incorporated in an audio-visual installation near the electronic music mecca “Kablys” in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, and will also be played as the “Album of the Week” in the local radio station “LRT Opus”.

Take a high-flying journey to Neverland—and bring the magic of theater home for the holidays
Now through January 1, enjoy FREE access to a newly re-mastered, 80-minute feature film of our acclaimed 2018 production, based on J.M. Barrie’s beloved tale about the boy who wouldn’t grow up. Recorded by multiple cameras in front of a live audience in our beautiful Courtyard Theater, family members of all ages from all around the world can experience the delights of theatrical performance from their own “front-row seats” at home.

This FREE presentation is streaming now through Friday, January 1 at 11:59p (CT), only at www.chicagoshakes.com/peterpan.
Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, “Peter Pan”, photo: Liz Lauren

Plum Pudding and more at MJ Cuisine

Plum Pudding, Photo: Courtesy of MJCuisine

The team of psychologists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have years of experience helping families deal with unthinkable grief and anxiety either around the death of a child or a recent diagnosis of a catastrophic illness.  For the over 80% of children who survive childhood cancer, many face chronic illnesses for the rest of their lives. This creates challenges for families having to navigate tough conversations about health requirements, and other relevant experiences many Americans are facing this year.  

“‘Pandemic fatigue’ has set in, and the holidays are already a time of year where many people experience increased mental and emotional challenges such as depression, anxiety and grief,” said St. Jude psychologist Megan Wilkins, PhD“The additive effects of these stressors make it critical to attend to our own mental health now more than ever.  Remember, you can’t be a support to your family and loved ones until you first attend to your own mental health.”

Important Mental Health Tips for the Pandemic Holiday Season

  1. Tend to mental health – It is critically important, especially given mounting “pandemic fatigue,” that we attend to our own mental health.  We must first take stock of our own mental health and assure we are not trying to “pour from an empty cup.”  It is imperative that parents take time for care of themselves, including spending time outside, seeking social support and engaging in relaxing activities. Give yourself grace to feel disappointment and upset about this highly anxious and uncertain time.
  2. Feel empowered to do what feels comfortable – In our work with families of children with cancer, we stress the importance of facing the upcoming holidays feeling empowered to do what feels most comfortable given the risks and restrictions of their child’s diagnosis.  This is a time for all of us to take this lesson to heart and work to adjust our expectations and prepare for things to be different this year, and in many cases, difficult as well.  It can help to talk about these losses, sharing what we are missing most this holiday season.
  3. Take time to consider what is meaningful to you around the holidays – Take time to consider what is meaningful to you around the holidays. Is it the special recipe for a dish your grandmother used to make? Is it playing games with family members? Watching a game with friends? What parts of these meaningful pieces of the holidays can still happen in a way you feel comfortable with?  Rather than looking forward to our typical parties and family meals, we might choose to focus on the gift of health we give when we make the sacrifice of honoring our families’ and loved ones’ health and safety by staying home.  
  4. Make the holidays special from afar – Planning surprises such as cards or gifts delivered in the mail lets your loved ones know you’re with them in spirit, if not in body.  Recognizing that many of us are tired of looking at screens, virtual games and activities such as scavenger hunts or singing favorite holiday songs may be more engaging than simply video chatting. Families who remain distanced this season may enjoy developing new traditions, such as trying new recipes or playing new games with those they share a household with that might be incorporated into future holidays when they can safely be together again.  Families may choose to reflect on what they are thankful for by coming together to make donations to charities and causes that are meaningful to them.  
  5. Protect your elderly loved ones from loneliness and isolation – In many cases, seniors experience a heightened sense of loss related to pandemic restrictions. These elderly individuals express the feeling that their time is short, and that time is being stolen from them.  Some express a willingness to accept the risk of potential virus infection to spend time with family because they are more fearful of dying of old age than they are of dying of COVID-19.  Reaching out to those at highest risk for loneliness is more important than ever.  Phone calls, video chats, cards, drive-by parades and even socially distanced outdoor visits can help them feel connected and reassure them that you are thinking of them.
  6. For the families of the more than 300,000 Americans grieving the loss of a loved one from COVID-19, make the decision about the holidays that feels right for you – Celebrating holidays for the first time without a loved one is unspeakably difficult. For these families, not only has this pandemic taken the life of a loved one, the threat remains.  That is, not only are they grieving, they are continuing to face the virus and its ongoing impact on a daily basis.  These families should not feel obligated to engage in holiday traditions as they have in the past.  In fact, it might feel better for some to not celebrate at all this year.  Conversely, some families may choose to find special ways to honor and include the memory of their lost loved one. As with all family decisions, this one is highly personal. 


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