The holiday season is a wonderful time for celebrations of all kinds.
Family get-togethers, potluck meals, games, and gift exchanges all help us get in the Christmas spirit.
And a few special theater groups in Virginia are bringing inspirational, Christmas-themed productions to the mix!
Christian Youth Theater and Stage Door Productions is bringing Christmas cheer to their communities through productions of “A Christmas Carol” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Christian Youth Theater (CYT), an after-school theater and drama training program for students up to age 18, is the largest youth theater program in the nation. CYT has branches around the country and reaches thousands of students each year.
CYT’s mission is to “[develop] character and creativity in kids of all ages through quality theater arts training that brings families and communities together while reflecting the Creator.”
The organization seeks to instill essential Christian character traits through theatrical instruction and lead students—and their families!—closer to Christ through the performing arts.
The CYT branch in Spotsylvania, Virginia is set to perform Charles Dickens’ holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol,” this December.
Director Josh King explained that CYT chose this play because it is “the perfect story to put you into the holiday spirit.”
In “A Christmas Carol,” audiences meet the classic characters of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Marley, and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. These characters teach the importance of generosity and gratefulness, especially during the holiday season.
“Ebenezer Scrooge…learns that money isn’t the only thing that matters during the holidays,” King noted. “In one night, Scrooge sees his past, present and future with the way that his life is currently.”
“He learns compassion from the smallest of people and begins to share his abundant wealth with all who are in need.”
It’s an important lesson to pass on to audiences and actors alike.
The 69 students in the play’s cast have worked hard to memorize their lines and prepare their performances, but along the way, they’ve also tried to learn the lessons of compassion, humility, and deep change set forth in Dickens’ play.
“The past has made us who we are in the present,” King continued, reflecting on the impact of the play.
“It is up to us to choose whether we let the past and present dictate who we will be in the future.”
He hopes audiences can take away valuable spiritual lessons from each performance. “We can’t change the past, but we can change how we view and react to the future. Change isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith.”
Another theater company that’s taking a leap of faith and presenting a transformational play is Stage Door Productions (SDP). SDP is a community theater group based in Fredericksburg, Virginia that exists to “entertain and inspire audiences.”
Christmas is the perfect time to be inspired. We all need to be encouraged to look toward God and refocus our hearts on His goodness, and SDP’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof” promises to do just that.
“Fiddler on the Roof,” an emotional tale about the Jewish community of Anatevka in Czarist Russia, centers on the character of Tevye and his family of daughters.
“Tevye is trying to marry off his daughters and instill in them the importance of tradition, all the while anti-Semitism is growing in and threatening their way of life,” said the play’s director, Allyson Dodson.
With a unique cast composed completely of students, this “Junior” version of “Fiddler on the Roof” still sends positive messages about family, tradition, and honoring the past.
“There are so many important themes that we touch on even in this Jr. version of the show,” Dodson added. “Obviously, tradition is a huge theme in the show.”
Viewers will be treated to Tevye’s classic “If I Were a Rich Man” song and many other memorable moments from the normal Broadway version of the show. Dodson hopes that the production will inspire viewers to reflect on modern issues through the lens of entertainment.
“There’s also the idea that, we should hold and honor our traditions, but we shouldn’t dismiss progress, either,” she commented. “Both have their time and place.”
It’s refreshing to see young people performing shows about traditional values, especially during the Christmas season! Visit the theater companies’ website if you want to attend one of Christian Youth Theatre’s or Stage Door Productions’ future shows.