15 merry movies featuring Interlochen alumni

Each December, television networks and streaming services are flooded with holiday-themed movies.

Despite the brevity of the holiday season, there is no shortage of festive films to choose from. As you’re tuning into 25-days-of-Christmas celebrations or building your own cinematic Advent calendar, keep your eyes peeled for these Interlochen Arts Camp and Arts Academy alumni.

Meredith Baxter (IAA 63-64)
Academy alumna Meredith Baxter leads all Interlochen alumni with four holiday film credits. You can see her as Lorraine in the 2004 USA television movie Angel in the Family. She’s also Jessica Claus in Becoming Santa, Carol Boyajian in A Christmas Visitor, and Carol in Naughty or Nice.

Ana Gasteyer (IAC/NMC 79, 81)
Gasteyer is best known for her run as a Saturday Night Live cast member, but she’s made numerous television and film appearances since leaving the show. Last December, she joined several of her former SNL castmates for Fox’s A Christmas Story Live! She can also be seen impersonating Martha Stewart in the 2000 made-for-television movie Christmas Dream.

Dan Amboyer (IAC 95-98, IAA 99-02)
Amboyer’s claims to fame are recurring roles in television series including Younger and Blacklist: Redemption, but he’s also made several holiday films. Amboyer starred opposite Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez in the 2017 Lifetime movie A Very Merry Toy Store. This year, Amboyer appeared as Trevor in the ION movie Country Christmas Album. He also had a small role in the film Love the Coopers, which starred fellow alumnus Ed Helms (IAC 91) as Hank.

Jaime Ray Newman (IAC 91-93, 95)
Newman’s diverse career has seen her appear in a variety of genres: soap opera, superhero, and even horror. She’s also starred a holiday film: The 2006 made-for-television movie Under the Mistletoe.

Dermot Mulroney (IAC/NMC 79)
Christmas 2017 was kind to Interlochen alumni—both Dermot Mulroney and Natalie Knepp landed leading roles in Hallmark holiday films. Mulroney starred in The Christmas Train, the story of a jaded journalist’s transformative cross-country train trip.

Natalie Knepp (IAA 00-02)
A Joyous Christmas was a breakout film for Knepp, whose previous roles were primarily guest appearances on television. In the Hallmark Channel film, Knepp stars as Rachel, a self-help writer who discovers the true meaning of Christmas and family during a holiday visit to her hometown.

Felicity Huffman (IAA 79-81)
Huffman’s sole foray into the holiday genre saw her starring alongside Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Dan Aykroyd in Christmas with the Kranks. Based on the John Grisham novel “Skipping Christmas,” the plot centers around a family’s controversial decision not to observe the Christmas holiday.

Lora Lee Gayer (IAC 02-03, IAA 03-06)
Gayer is perhaps best known for her work on stage, but during last year’s holiday season, Gayer was involved in the stage-meets-screen spectacular Holiday Inn: The New Irving Berlin Musical - Live! Gayer played the role of Linda Mason in PBS’s Great Performances special.

Anthony Rapp (IAC/NMC 85-86)
Rapp’s most iconic role, both on Broadway and on the screen, is Mark in RENT. While RENT isn’t really a Christmas movie, it’s Christmas Eve/Christmas Day setting, snow, and quotations of Christmas carols offer plenty of holiday flair, all wrapped up in a bigger narrative about love in the time of AIDS. And if Die Hard can be considered a Christmas movie, why not RENT?

Bonus feature
Josh Groban (IAC 97-98) doesn’t have a speaking role in the animated feature The Polar Express, but his holiday anthem “Believe” is one of the film’s most magical songs. Groban added it to the tenth-anniversary edition of his best-selling Christmas album “Noel,” which was released in 2017.

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