PITTSBURG — Pittsburg Community Theatre is bringing a television classic to the stage for its annual Christmas performance this weekend.
“Red Skelton’s Freddie the Freeloader’s Christmas Dinner” follows Freddie the Freeloader — a loveable hobo character made famous by comedian Red Skelton — as he heads to a Christmas dinner with friends. Freddie meets several interesting characters and helps people out along the way.
“It’s such a great show,” Director John Mazurek said. “It’s all about giving to others, and how can you not love Freddie the Freeloader?”
The show holds a special place in Mazurek’s heart. He saw the original — which was released on HBO in 1981 — and fell in love with it.
The script for PCT’s production was not purchased from a script provider. Mazurek and his wife watched the HBO special to copy down all of the lines. That task also allowed Mazurek to localize the show. The performance mentions The Lord’s Diner, Chatter’s, the Beard-Shanks Law Enforcement Center and more, as well as using snapshots of Pittsburg as the backdrop projections.
While the show is only 30 minutes long, Mazurek has brought in some talented voices to sing Christmas carols between scenes, stretching the show to around 90 minutes. Music direction for the show and caroling is provided by Mary Jo Harper, and the show includes a three-piece pit band.
“The carols really get people into the feeling of the season,” Mazurek said. “It’s a nice way to fill out the show.”
After the show, the cast will lead a carolling sing-along, leading up to a surprise appearance by Santa Claus — a familiar face around Pittsburg.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will stick around after the show to speak to children and take photographs.
The show opens Friday at 7:30 p.m. Saturday shows include a 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performance. A 2 p.m. matinee will be available Sunday. All performances are at Memorial Auditorium.
Tickets for the show range from $8 to $12, and are available at the Memorial Auditorium box office, or by calling 620-231-7827. Tickets may also be purchased online.
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.