This Friday will see versatile Broadway actor and music director Dan Micciche performing on the Beauvoir grounds, with benefit appearances by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse and Michael Grimm in coming weeks.
"This cold weather is perfect for us," says organizer Andi Rushton Oustalet. "This weather puts everyone in the holiday spirit. Since we opened on Nov. 4th, we've seen double the numbers from last year pre-Thanksgiving, and we expect to see that trend continue if not quadruple. This year is proving that we are definitely coming into our own as a coastal holiday tradition."
The most striking feature guests to Beauvoir notice is the canopy of 150 brightly lit majestic live oaks facing the waterfront and covering half of the 52-acre estate. But that's only part of the allure: There's the Jefferson Davis mansion decked out as it was for the holidays in 1889, children's activities that include decorating gingerbread cookies or riding on an outdoor train that travels under the canopy of lit oaks, outdoor stages that feature local musicians, choirs and community theater performers, and hot chocolate and other holiday spirits served by Half Shell Oyster House.
There's also a Father Klaus garbed in a flowing velvet robe greeting children and families, tabletop train sets, and an indoor snow village, with 80 snow-draped houses.
This year, Christmas at Beauvoir also allows visitors to see the stately Presidential Library and Varina's Garden, a detailed recreation of a garden that had been overseen by Jefferson Davis's widow.
Last year, Christmas at Beauvoir welcomed 13,500 visitors from 12 states.
"We're heading into the most popular part of our season at Christmas at Beauvoir," said Oustalet, who conceived the idea last year and has willed its success. "Our biggest nights last year were the weekend after Thanksgiving and the weekend before Christmas. And it was steady all between that time. We hope everyone comes out and enjoys the best of the holidays."
Bringing the Bam to Beauvoir
Emeril Lagasse will be at Christmas at Beauvoir from 6 to 9 on Dec. 12th in a fund-raiser for the Beauvoir Foundation, which stages Christmas at Beauvoir. The admission for the indoor event is $200 per person, with guests having a chance to meet Emeril, sample heavy hors d'eouvres and wines served by his culinary team, and receive an Emeril cookbook.
"Every penny from this event goes directly into the Beauvoir Foundation," said Oustalet. "This fund-raiser is what's going to pay for the extra lights and extra things we are offering this year. This fund-raiser is what makes Christmas at Beauvoir possible, and it's a great chance for people to interact with Emeril on a very personal level."
Those interested in tickets can call Oustalet at (228) 234-4950 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Grimm: One for the hometown crowd
Then, on Dec. 28th, America's Got Talent winner Michael Grimm, who grew up in Waveland, will entertain in an outdoor show that will be included in the Beauvoir admission.
"Basically, his people contacted us about three weeks ago, and asked if we would be interested in him doing a benefit performance for Beauvoir," Oustalet said. "This is a great opportunity for people to come out and see a local hero doing something great for his community."
Dan Micciche: From Broadway to Beauvoir
Dan Micciche, a versatile Broadway actor and music director, will perform at Christmas at Beauvoir on Friday, Nov. 29th, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
The performance by Micciche (pronounced mish-kay) and guest Kate Rushton, a student at Pace University, will be included in the regular Beauvoir admission.
Micciche, who made his Broadway debut in "Chicago: The Musical," has performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the Meyerhoff Center in Baltimore, as part of the worldwide celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s 80th birthday performance of MASS, which also spawned a Grammy-nominated recording.
As a music director and conductor, Micciche has been credited with more than 15 shows. He earned his BFA in musical theatre from the Boston Conservatory of Music and has gained recognition as a voice teacher and coach while serving an impressive list of private clientele in New York City, where he resides.