"Reindeer Games" was a collaboration from 2016 to 2017 with the musician and artist Puddle on a comedy Christmas musical album. Work included developing the story, designing the characters, and illustrating art for each song on the album.
"Reindeer Games Character Lineup"
From left to right: Santa, Rudolph, Dan the Snowman, Elf 99, and Vixen. We wanted to play with some common character tropes when designing these characters, and then give them a more complex story in the musical to counteract their tropes and make them more interesting.
The musical opens with this song, which sets the scene of the beginning of our story, and gives insight into the dynamic between Rudolph, Santa, and 99 (the elf). Rudolph laments about Christmastime and is treated like a joke to Santa, and 99 can barely balance between assisting Rudolph and handling Santa’s demands during the busiest time of year.
Rudolph comes home to his girlfriend Vixen after work and they get into a fight. He storms off into the night, and she sings about how their relationship isn’t the way it used to be.
Rudolph storms off into a bar and meets Dan, a smooth-talking snowman who convinces him that his whole life working under Santa is like living in a snow globe. He explains the system of exploitation that Santa uses to keep everyone in their place. Rudolph is inspired, and decided to start a union among the elf workforce.
“Take a Seat”
Santa finds out that Rudolph is organizing a union, and has a talk with him in his office. He insults and belittles him, accusing him of wanting to ruin Christmas, and says to remember that he was the one who made him successful. Rudolph doesn’t back down, and Santa ends up firing him.
Rudolph runs off with Dan and laments about how he doesn’t know who he is anymore after he’s been fired. But he then decides that this is his chance to defy everything he has been before, and help revolutionize the North Pole.
Vixen and 99 meet one another at a union rally. They talk about their lives, and how corrupt the Christmas system is, a system which made 99 feel like she’s never had a real identity. Vixen encourages her to rally up the elves to demand better treatment. 99 gets on stage, and is able to uplift the elves through solidarity and their shared feeling of mistreatment.
99 and the elves band together and push back against Santa’s unfair treatment. Their rally becomes larger and larger, and it becomes a revolution. Santa is not pleased.
“Take a Seat/Destiny Fighter Reprise”
Things are getting bad for Santa with the elves demanding unionization. Dan the Snowman confronts Santa alone, and after revealing that they used to be partners before he betrayed him, Santa takes him out. Rudolph finds Dan fatally wounded, and goes after Santa. This is the last straw. Rudolph corners him in his office, and Santa berates him one last time before Rudolph decides to take direct action.
“Goodnight my Deer”
Dan sings to Rudolph with his dying breath. Wounded by Santa, he assures Rudolph that everything is going to be alright. They both lay in the snow on top of Santa’s factory roof, and Rudolph holds him close as he dies in his arms.
“Every Christmas Reprise”
Rudolph, Vixen, and 99 sing about how the children of the world will wake up to no Christmas, as Santa has not come this year. They wonder what the future holds, and in the end, they decide that they must rebuild Christmas together.