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The Legend of Old Befana

John Gretzinger and Bryan Ibach, onstage during a performance of "The Legend of Old Befana" t the Sawdust Theatre in Coquille, Oregon

John Gretzinger and Bryan Ibach


Classic folklore meets contemporary storytelling in “The Legend of Old Befana,” a traditional Italian story come to life in a musical celebration of the holidays.


The narrative unfolds through song and dialogue. The lilt of old world harp and the rhythm of contemporary guitar invite audience members to step into the magical world of story and song–a place where disappointments give way to new beginnings inspired by the birth of a special child.


“Honestly, I just love the story and the message in it. It gives you hope when you don’t feel you have any—and I never get tired of Lonnquist’s music,” said director Candace Kreitlow.


John Gretzinger and Candace Kreitlow, onstage during a performance of "The Legend of Old Befana" t the Sawdust Theatre in Coquille, Oregon

John Gretzinger and Candace Kreitlow

Kreitlow toured the show for many years with writer and musician Ken Lonnquist. The 1992 audio CD recording of the play features her instrumentation and vocals. The musical debuted in Coos County under Kreitlow’s direction in a 2011 production by the Bandon Playhouse. Corrie Gant and John “Skeet” Gretzinger thrilled the audience with their depictions of Old Befana and the fishmonger. The two will reprise their roles for the 2013 Coquille production.


Meet Befana. By day, she sweeps dust and would-be callers off her doorstep with a swish of her broom. But she keeps her neighbors guessing. Each evening, villagers are drawn to Befana’s little house by the scent of freshly baked sweets. Venturing closer, they hear the strains of a gentle lullaby. Could that be Befana singing?


Bryan Ibach and Corrie Gant, onstage during a performance of "The Legend of Old Befana" t the Sawdust Theatre in Coquille, Oregon

Bryan Ibach and Corrie Gant

Area music and theater fans will recognize bassist Jerene Shaffer and mandolin player Bryan Ibach. Sawdusters actress Kitty Gray appears as the basket maker, with Tomas Fisher as the produce seller. Brodie Blair, Dakota Blair, Sammi Huffman, and Nia Hunsaker complete the village chorus.


The historic Sawdust Theatre presents traditional melodrama throughout the summer. Holiday audiences will be treated to preshow performances by Coquille talent, including Sawdusters cast. Advance tickets at Bree’s Upscale Resale, 71 E 1st Street, Coquille; or call the Sawdust box office for will-call.


The Legend of Old Befana
December 6, 7, 8; 13, 14, 15
7 PM Friday and Saturday; 2 PM Sunday
Sawdust Theatre, East 1st Street and North Adams Street, Coquille
Tickets $10 adults, $5 students

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