By ANGIE CARNATHAN
A tribute to the holiday season begins tonight at The Playhouse on Main with Starkville Community Theatre’s presentation of “Uh Oh, Here Comes Christmas.” The show begins at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday. A 2 p.m. showing will be held Sunday. General admission tickets are $15, while student tickets cost $10. The show is directed by Marianne Ulmer, and cast members include Matt Crane, M. J. Etua, Madeline Golden, Brian Hawkins and Gabe Smith. Assistant Director Terry McDowell also makes a cameo appearance in the play.
Ulmer said “Uh Oh, Here Comes Christmas” is a collection of holiday stories from the international best-selling author of “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” Robert Fulghum. The show manages to be funny, heartwarming and often poignant, Ulmer said, as it takes audiences on a journey to find the spirit of the holidays amid the avalanche of commercialism, stress and chaos that crashes down every December. Among the many stories audiences will hear is one about a small immigrant child who trick-or-treats in a cheap Santa mask a few days before Christmas, inadvertently delivering the true meaning of the season to a grown-up with a serious case of “Scroogitis;” hilarious musings about a love/hate relationship with the vibrant poinsettia that arrives in most homes every December and hangs on long after the holidays have ended; and a tribute to the winter solstice, celebrating nature’s precious annual gift of rebirth.
“The show is a compilation of 14 different stories or situations typical of the things that happen over the holidays,” Ulmer said. “The actors play different characters in each story. The stories include Christmas weddings, the church Christmas pageant and family memories discussed after the holiday meal.”
McDowell, who has always been a fan of Fulghum, said the play is full of beautiful moments that will make the audience laugh and cry.
“He (Fulghum) has a way of telling a story that makes you feel as if you are there,” McDowell said. “He finds the correct balance of humor, humanity and spirituality to make people just feel better about themselves.”
McDowell said even though those involved with the show only had two weeks to prepare, it was a great experience.
“It was my joy and privilege to work on this show with my best buddy, Marianne Ulmer, and to have a group of veteran SCT actors and actresses that are always brilliant,” McDowell said. “The fact that we are all great friends has made this short journey full of good cheer.”
Hawkins said the wonderful thing about the production is how it takes several different of humorous and heartwarming looks at this special time of year.
“The emotions conveyed in the situations depicted are very real, and many in the audience will be able to relate to what they see onstage and will be moved by it,” Hawkins said. “As one who loves Christmas and everything about the holiday, performing in this production is a complete joy. Being able to share that joy onstage with a cast and crew of dear friends is just the icing on the cake. All of them are phenomenal, and I can’t wait for audiences to experience this with us.”
Hawkins said the play has a unique way of sharing the joy of Christmas with people who may never even see the show.
“One of the vignettes deals with multiple generations of fathers and sons and their involvement with the Salvation Army,” Hawkins said. “Because the local Salvation Army branch does so much to help those facing a variety of needs in the community, the cast and crew thought it fitting to join in the annual kettle campaign. Audience members will have an opportunity to make a donation to the Salvation Army after each night’s performance.”
This is a limited run of shows, so those interested should call and make reservations to reserve a seat. Any remaining tickets are sold each night before the show at the box office.
For more information or to make a reservation, call 662-323-6855, or go by the box office located at 108 E. Main St.
Ulmer said she hopes the community will come out and share the joy of the holiday season with the cast and crew of “Uh Oh, Here Comes Christmas.”
“There is something for everyone,” Ulmer said. “You will laugh, you will cry (and) you will leave filled with the spirit of the holidays.”