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Richmond native and Broadway star Emily Skinner will perform at the Barksdale. 

Home for the Holidays

It's December 26. The gifts are all opened, the eggnog is gone, and the cousins are on their way back to Arkansas. But that doesn't mean the post-Christmas blues have to get the better of you. You can keep your spirits bright with a trip to the Barksdale Theatre, where former-Richmonder-turned-Broadway-star Emily Skinner will perform a special holiday concert. The event will also include hors d'oeuvres, wine tasting and a silent auction. Skinner plans to share an eclectic mix of theater music with her Richmond audience. She has plenty of material to choose from: Her Broadway credits include "Sideshow" (for which she and co-star Alice Ripley received a joint Tony nomination), "Jekyll and Hyde," and James Joyce's "The Dead." She is currently portraying Vicki Nichols in the wildly popular "The Full Monty," playing at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. Her concert next week will include a song cut from that show, "Maid of the Mist." Skinner will also draw material from her three CDs: "Duets" and "Unsuspecting Hearts," both with Alice Ripley, and a brand new solo effort titled simply "Emily Skinner," which will be on sale at the Barksdale concert. Skinner is contracted to continue with "The Full Monty" until the fall. "I'm trapped, for better or worse, 'til September," she says. That's "trapped" in a good way, though: "It's a blast," she says. "It's the first time I've actually been in a show in New York that's a hit, that's sold out. Most shows, it's like 'hey, are we going to close next week?' You don't know if you have a job to come to." The stage play is similar to the movie, Skinner says, but a little lighter. "It's fun. It's a huge crowd-pleaser." Accompanying Skinner on the piano will be another former Richmonder, R.L. Rowsey. Rowsey now works with the Idaho-based "Company of Fools," which was founded by Bruce Willis and consists of several transplanted Richmonders. "I'm looking forward to seeing R.L.," says Skinner, who worked with him 20 years ago at the now-defunct Haymarket Theater. "We've stayed in touch over the years." Skinner's stage-manager boyfriend will be heading south with her, and sister Eliza, also living in the Big Apple, will be home for Christmas, too. However brief the visit is, Skinner is looking forward to seeing her family and getting a little dose of Richmond. "I actually miss Richmond a lot," she says. Which makes her appreciate the Richmonders who come to see her perform and say hello after the show. "A lot of times it's not even people I know," she says. "I like it. It's a little touch of home."
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