Sunday, December 03, 2006

Annual presentation spreads joy to community

By FRANK and LINDA PHILLIPS
frankphi@hotmail.com
Last Thursday through Saturday, Community Theatre of Clay County Inc. presented its annual Christmas show.
This year's offering was "Christmas at the Lark: Bell Birthdays and Heralds of Christmas" and it was really great.
Like an old-fashioned Christmas card, it opened to more than one page.
Through it all, the cast had past Christmases in mind. Christmases when two of the much loved theater cast were able to participate.
The much-loved Jean Sneddon-Martin took part in the shows. Not many years ago she tap danced on stage, her daughter-in-law, Susan Sneddon, recalled. Jean passed away unexpectedly last week. Christmases when Carl McKinney sang on stage after building the sets, some of which may have been used last week. Who can forget his enthused and energetic portrayal Nicely Nicely Johnson in "Guys and Dolls" earlier this season?
Carl suffered a broken shoulder in a car accident a week before the current Christmas show began.
Nevertheless, "the show must go on" as The Christmas Band director Col. Matt Huber has been known to say, and the show was wonderful.
Open page one of our community Christmas card and you see and immensely entertaining production called, "Heralds of Christmas" featuring the herald, Herald (David Maurey), and his brother Herald (Nick Ellis), whose job it is to get Santa Claus (Lee Reberger) to stop for the first time in their tiny village of Tater, at the end of the North Pole runway.
Herald's idea is to flash red lights at Santa during takeoff, so Rudolph gets disoriented and crashes. The townspeople do and Rudolph does. Santa's reply -- "all you had to do is write me a letter." Like the rest of the world. Duh!
Other cast members were Ashton Swearingen, Chris Swearingen, Elaine Clarke, Carol McConnell, Michelle McCrea, Amber Payne, Melody Lunsford, Nancy Kulow, Ashley Clarke, Becca Maurey, Kendra McCrea, Alyssa Clarke, Elizabeth Emmert, Katie Perkins, Misty Rissler, Kendra England, Bonnie Hutchins, Revecca Beyers, Trey Reberger, Samuel Beyers, Chandler Downing, David Swearingen, the Rev. Edward Randall, TJ Sneddon, Keri Fagg, Becky Taken Jim Garber, Julie Marey, Harold Burton and Kevin McCrea.
The Christmas Band featured Matt Huber, Allen Basore, Steven Garlits, Jeff Shively, Andy Whittington, Miranda Goodale, Darlene Shephard, Betty Niswonger, Janelle R. Huber and TJ Sneddon.
Rita Rothrock was the dinner theatre pianist and Barbara Randall the dinner theatre coordinator.
Turn the page and we find "Bells and the Birthday of Christmas" featuring a reverent look at the season in words and music.
Several of the songs were written by cast members.
"The Shepherd's Song" was written by Rev. Randall, "Jesus in the Manger" was written by Kevin McCrea and "A Mother's Prayer" was by Mitchell Lunsford, in honor of his brother, a Marine stationed in Iraq.
It was a wonderful evening of music, food and laughter, surrounded by dear friends and family members.