* What: "The Christmas That Came Too Soon."
* When: 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14; 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15.
* Where: Mountain Arts Community Center, 809 Kentucky Ave., Signal Mountain.
* Admission: $5.
* Phone: 423-886-1959.
Before the ghouls and goblins were let loose to collect Halloween candy, Christmas decorations were on the shelves at some area stores.
It seems to get earlier every year.
But what if it got pushed further and further and further ahead on the calendar?
A new musical making its world premiere this weekend at the Mountain Arts Community Center, "The Christmas That Came Too Soon," imagines just such a scenario.
Written by Michael Huesman, an artist/composer/piano teacher at the MACC and organist at Signal Crest United Methodist Church, the one-act production finds toy store owner Mr. Flimbel - an homage to Mr. Gimbel in "Miracle on 34th Street" - deciding he'll get the jump on his rival, Mr. Lacy, by putting out his Christmas merchandise during the summer.
The song "Why Not Now," sung by Flimbel (Don Strickland), ponders the possibility as he takes down his summer items.
Further, according to director Colleen Laliberte, Flimbel's children, Virginia (Josie Miller) and Danny (Bryn Adair), are elicited to help market the scheme by wearing Santa outfits to school.
While the son decides it might increase his gift potential, "it causes great distress for his daughter," she says.
Santa (Rob Inman), meanwhile, has left the North Pole and his elves for a little rest and relaxation in a more temperate climate.
Apparently taking a break from seeing you when you are sleeping, he sings "Fun in the Sun."
Later, when both Flimbel and Lacy bid for Santa's services, Santa tells them he is everybody's Santa and sings that they need a "Change of Heart."
Laliberte says the family musical, which has three adult cast members and 34 children, has 10 original songs.
"It's a transformation story in the way 'A Christmas Carol' and 'Miracle on 34th Street' are," she says. "It talks about the true meaning of Christmas not [being] tinsel and the mall."
Contact staff writer Clint Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.