Norridge actor in Provision’s new holiday play
The Cast of "The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey" | Photo by John Hockberger
‘The Christmas Miracle of
Provision Theater Company, 1001 W. Roosevelt Road
10 a.m. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 23
$10-$30, free parking
(866) 811-4111 or www.provisiontheater.org
Updated: December 2, 2011 9:18AM
There’s a new holiday musical this year and Norridge native Monica Szaflik is happy to be part of the ensemble. Provision Theater Company is staging the world premiere of Timothy Gregory’s (script) and Michael Mahler’s (music) adaptation of Susan Wojciechowski’s award winning children’s book, “The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.” Provision’s Artistic Director Gregory directs.
Set in the late 1800s, It’s the story of a boy who is devastated when he loses a wooden nativity set that he inherited from his late father. His mother persuades woodcarver Jonathan Toomey to create a replacement set and let her son watch the process. Toomey is ill-tempered because he has also suffered losses but the boy, his mother and the woodcarver are all changed by the project.
Szaflik plays the pastor’s wife as well as the ghost of Jonathan Toomey’s dead wife.
As the pastor’s wife, Szaflik has two children. “The girl who plays my daughter is almost the same height as me,” she laughingly noted.
The role of Rebecca is staged as an interpretive dance, Szaflik reported. “It’s supposed to show what happened with her.”
Szaflik praised Mahler’s score, which she described as “folksy.” “He’s extremely talented,” she said. “I think he’s going to be the next Stephen Schwartz.” She should know. Schwartz cast Szaflik as an understudy in his newest musical, “Snapshots,” that premiered this season at Northlight Theatre.
One of Szaflik’s favorite songs from the show is “There’s a Light in the Winter.” As Toomey’s dead wife, Szaflik sings, “Mary’s Tale,” in which the audience and the other characters finally discover “why Jonathan Toomey is so cold and distant,” she said.
Being onstage is the answer to a long-time dream for Szaflik.”I knew I wanted to be an actress when I was seven,” she said, “However, I wasn’t in my first musical until I was 18. Ridgewood High School didn’t really have musicals. They barely had a drama club or a choir at the time. Now they do.”
Szaflik began pursuing her dream by earning a musical theater degree from North Central College in Naperville.
“I’ve been working professionally for the past seven years,” she said. Until recently, Szaflik primarily performed out of state. Locally her resume includes shows at Circle Theatre, Bohemian Theatre Ensemble, Northlight Theatre and First Folio Theatre. She appeared this season in “Alien Queen” by The Scooty & Jo Jo Show at the Metro.
In addition, Szaflik performed at Disney World for two years and has appeared in several movies, including the soon-to-be-released, “Melody and the Old Fox.”
Szaflik thinks it’s great that there’s a new holiday show. “Everyone does ‘White Christmas’ and ‘A Christmas Carol,’” the actor said.
She noted that “Jonathan Toomey” has elements of “A Christmas Carol,” as well as “Annie” or “Oliver.” “The ensemble has a lot of children in it, so it’s very heartwarming,” she explained. “There’s also needing to reach someone who has closed his heart to the world such as Ebenezer Scrooge has. I think it’s a nice, well-rounded story.”