NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

December 5, 2013

Christmas spirit on display in 'Mister Santa'

It’s a scenario that rings true in today’s times: Tradition is threatened by technology.

In “Mister Santa,” Theater Workshop’s latest production opening next week at Newbury Elementary School, a department store’s Santa Claus has been replaced by Internet deals and corporate executives plan to drive up Christmas profits with performing robots and other futuristic promotions.

“Online shopping and Santa wish lists are the way of the future,” director Stacey April Fix said.

The play features a large cast of 75 — mostly children in grades two through six — and 16 backstage crew members. Because Theater Workshop is an all-inclusive program, “All the kids who want to do it can do it,” Fix said.

Fix, who writes and directs all of the workshop’s shows, waits until the cast is in place before coming up with the script. That way, she can tailor it to the actors, making sure that everyone gets a part.

For “Mister Santa,” Fix decided to bring back Bundles $ Cash, the setting of a play she put on six years ago, “Because It’s Christmas.”

That show centered around the real-life demise of The Enchanted Village, the Jordan Marsh holiday tradition that has since been revived by Jordan’s Furniture.

“We’re sort of revisiting a show I wrote six years ago and reinventing it with a new dilemma,” Fix said. “I’ve always liked this setting.”

This time around, the retirement of the store’s Santa Land prompts its characters to come to life and share their concerns with 10-year-old Megan Gallagher, the daughter of the shoe department manager and resident Santa, played by Newbury Elementary teacher Charlie LaBella.

Megan, who is played by Holly Harris, 10, of Byfield, recruits her friends to create a video “that quickly goes viral,” Fix said.

The video, which features children making and holding up posters about how much they miss Santa, eventually persuades the department store to keep alive Santa and his magical land of reindeer, elves, baby dolls and gingerbread cookies.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Special Features