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The Bandito gets into the Christmas spirit

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 1 2015 10:53 a.m. MDT

TJ Davis is Juanito Bandito in the Pickleville Playhouse winter tour show TJ Davis is Juanito Bandito in the Pickleville Playhouse winter tour show "Christmas with Juanito Bandito" coming to Logan and Salt Lake City in December. (Pickleville Playhouse)

GARDEN CITY — If you go to see "Christmas with Juanito Bandito" and forget your stick-on mustache, don't worry.

The Bandito's friends will have some available at the door in Logan and Salt Lake City as the Bandito hits the road for the Pickleville Playhouse's third Wasatch Front winter tour.

El Bandito has enjoyed long-running success with his offbeat, in-your-face, self-deprecating, candid humor since the first offering nine years ago at the playhouse in Garden City for Bear Lake visitors.

Since that time, the Bandito has returned in several sequels, been hanged, shot but lived and now is sharing Christmas with his fans.

("Bandito Rides Again" will play in Salt Lake City and Logan during February 2014.)

Playing “El Bandito” is one of the most exhilarating and challenging things T.J. Davis said he has ever done.

TJ Davis is Juanito Bandito in the Pickleville Playhouse winter tour show TJ Davis is Juanito Bandito in the Pickleville Playhouse winter tour show "Christmas with Juanito Bandito" coming to Logan and Salt Lake City in December. (Pickleville Playhouse)

He and his fellow cast members have done a Christmas variety show in the area in the previous two years, but this is the first time "El Bandito" has come in for the holidays.

"It's a brand-new show," Davis said. "It's brand-new, brand-new. It's a different kind of show. It doesn't have a traditional plotline. There's a lot of sketch and some improv to the madness."

However crazy it may be, the audiences appear to love it.

Davis said the response "has been huge."

"We opened up sales the morning of Halloween and got our best-ever numbers," he said.

Davis works with Jordan Todd Brown with Luke Shepherd on the piano and six exceptional dancers.

Jordan Todd Brown is partnered with the Bandito in the Jordan Todd Brown is partnered with the Bandito in the "Christmas with Juanito Bandito" show coming to Logan and Salt Lake in December. (Pickleville Playhouse)

"There are a lot of musical numbers, a lot of original comedy, lots of laughs," Davis said. "We're trying something new and we're kind of nervous but a good kind of nervous."

Fans started the tradition of wearing Bandito mustaches, and in every show, mustaches are on almost every face in the audience. (All kinds of mustache-adorned merchandise is available from earrings to watches, DVDs and T-shirts.)

It's part of the fun, although a note on the playhouse website makes it clear that there's really only one "El Bandito."

"Juanito Bandito, his mustache, curly locks of hair and stretchy pants are protected by law," the note reads. "Violators will likely be smacked in the jugular with a rusty hammer."

If you go:

What: "Christmas with Jaunito Bandito"

Where: Ellen Eccles Theatre, 43 S. Main, Logan; Grand Theatre, 1575 S. State, Salt Lake City

When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12-16 Logan; Dec. 19, 20 and 21 Salt Lake City (2 p.m. matinee Dec. 21)

Tickets: Adults: $14-$26 Logan; $16-$26 Salt Lake City. Call 435-752-0026 (for Logan) or 801-957-3322.

Website: www.picklevilleplayhouse.com

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com. Email: haddoc@deseretnews.com

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