There’ll be a crowd Sunday outside the State Theatre for pianist Lorie Line’s “Born in Bethlehem” Christmas show.
I base this on years of seeing throngs of Line’s fans on their way to her Hennepin Theatre Trust performances. After seeing “Lorie Line & her Fab Five” last weekend at a suburban venue, I now understand why this holiday show is a must-see.
For starters, there’s her “12 Days of Christmas” pageant. It involves kids from the audience coming backstage to dress up like all the characters in that song, such as ladies dancing and lords a leapin’. The concept was her idea, and it’s become a staple about which Line talked to me in our startribune.com/video.
As someone so exhausted by the pace of Christmas and the music (used to manipulate me into buying unnecessary stuff), I tell people this time of year that I’m Jewish to get them off my back. This show, however, breathed new life into the Christmas music format for me, because Line offers so many fresh, creative takes.
The show is absolutely filled with unexpected, charming elements, and I’m not just talking about her “Fab Five” — Mike Linden, guitar; Drew Moore, bass; Marcus Farrow, drums; Ryan Christianson, trombone, and Robbie Nordstrom, violin — some of whom probably weren’t twinkles in their parents’ eyes when Line started this annual show 24 years ago.
“There are 11 of us on the bus; it sleeps 12. I have one junk bunk for Christmas gifts,” Line told me. “It’s wonderful traveling with them. You wouldn’t think it would be fun, but it’s fun. They are all in the back of the bus and they’re playing video games, and I’m up with the adults and we’re having nice glasses of wine and talking about how the show went. I assign a chore day to each of these kids. After the show tonight, when we start rolling to Lincoln, [Neb.,] I have one kid who helps me cook the dinner. We chop and do things together. I kind of mentor them and I really like it. It’s one of my favorite times of playing music because it’s brand new to them. They listen to you.”
I’m already planning my next Q&A with Lorie Line. It will feature her 50-something beauty secrets.
Q What’s the most unChristmasy music we’re likely to hear you play?
A I just did a Beatles tour. I grew up on that music. I try to do a spring-summer show that’s totally different from this.
Q Are you a good dancer?
A I’m a fairly good dancer. But when the kids got out there and did the hip hop, I don’t see myself getting on the floor anymore. I was like, ‘We’ve got to do the hip hop?’ because they can do it. I don’t think I have to be involved in every little aspect of the show. Share the spotlight.
Q Who is your favorite singer?
A Kelly Clarkson. I think she’s awesome. I really like her voice. I don’t know if I like her style and look, but just listening to her, man, I think she can sing. My all-time favorite is Whitney Houston. Oh, I LOVED her. She could bring you to tears. I think Kelly Clarkson has a little bit of her style; she has such range and power
Q Would you rather have dinner with Kanye West, the self-proclaimed creative genius who may not know how to spell the g-word, or Celine Dion?