Christmas Schooner: Meet Peter Stossel aka Bryan Agee

Journey on the Christmas Schooner With Us

Everyone looks forward to Christmas entertainment from the Charlie Brown Christmas to the Spokane Symphony’s Nutcracker to the Singing Nuns. Well, the theatre world is no different. Spokane Civic Theatre has chosen to celebrate the holiday season with a run of  a fairly new, less well known holiday musical, The Christmas Schooner. So, take  a journey with us and meet Peter Stossel otherwise known as Bryan Agee and find out what the Christmas Schooner is all about.

Headshot of Bryan Agee at Spokane Civic TheatreBryan:  The Christmas Schooner is loosely based on a true story from the late 19th century on the north shore of Lake Michigan. It’s about family, thankfulness, and the importance of traditions and leaving a legacy. It’s about rejoicing and enjoying your blessings, dealing with the pain of loss, and the delicate balance that those have in life.

Civic:   What is your role? How did you prepare for it? What other roles have you played?

Bryan: I am Captain Peter Stossel, the man who decides to start cutting and shipping the Christmas tress to Chicago. He is a family man, an entrepreneur, and a bit of an altruist.

Maybe this is a tad cliché, it feels like the role was written for me. I am a family man and entrepreneur, so I can directly relate to many of the conversations and tensions that happen where those intersect. Family businesses have very unique blessings and challenges–and my family has started a few. He is also head over heels for his wife, something else at which I have about a decade of practice.

Prior to this, I was the Bishop of Dinge and Legles in Les Miserables. Before that, I was the clock in Beauty and the Beast at Spokane Children’s Theatre.

 Civic:  What is the over arching message of Schooner?

Bryan: Life is full of joys and pains–live into them, and don’t be afraid to pursue your calling and/or serve others sacrificially. With it’s highs and lows, life is good.

Civic: What or who is your favorite character (besides yourself) in the production?

Head shot of Heidi Santaigo Spokane Civic TheatreBryan: That is a toss up. Alma (Peter’s wife) is a loving, strong, and slightly feisty character who really brings you into the story, and who you can’t help but love. She is obviously a pillar of the community, and a tireless servant (and she keeps a tidy and welcoming home). Gustav is Peter’s father, and provides a great deal of humor–sometimes very sage.

Civic: Any perfect moments where the audience should be on the lookout? Think Stars in Les Mis =)

Bryan: The two moments that really get me are:

1) half way through Act I when Peter is in the woods, wrestling with why he is so driven to undertake this trip (When I Look At You).

2) later in Act II when Alma and Gustav are struggling with how they each approach loss (Questions).

 Civic: What is your favorite part of the show?

Bryan: There is a really sweet scene between Peter and Alma that shows a window into their complete adoration of each other, and gives a great example of real life marriage–not one in a void, but one where both decide to choose loving each other continuously in the midst of whatever else life brings.

Time to Make Our Own Holiday Tradition

The Christmas Schooner

Book by John Reeger. Music & Lyrics by Julie Shannon. Directed by Scott Doughty. Music Direction by Janet Robel. Opens Nov 22 – Dec 22, 2013. So join us for this new holiday musical that follows the Christmas tree’s perilous journey into America’s homes and traditions. Notable musical numbers include: “We All Have Songs,” “Pass It On” and “Hardwater Sailors.” See you on Friday! Call 509.325.2507 to reach the box office and order your tickets or purchase them online. Happy Holidays!

 Image of the Christmas Schooner Billboard. Opening at Spokane Civic Theatre