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Sussex Countian
  • The Christmas spirit hits Sussex County stages

  • Now that Christmas is less than a month away, holiday performances are cropping up on a weekly basis. And, for this first weekend of December, it seems as though the classics reign in Sussex County.
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  • Now that Christmas is less than a month away, holiday performances are cropping up on a weekly basis. And, for this first weekend of December, it seems as though the classics reign in Sussex County.
    Check out these three:
    "WHITE CHRISTMAS: THE MUSICAL"
    WHERE Possum Hall, 441 Old Laurel Road, Georgetown
    WHEN 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday
    COST $22 to $23
    INFO www.possumpointplayers.org
    There's just something about Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" that endures year in and year out. Made notably famous following the 1954 Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney movie release, the story follows two song and dance men who team up with a pair of dancing sisters to save an innkeeper's Vermont lodge.
    As most fans know, the movie is rife with funny and heartwarming moments but what draws most people back for more each and every year is the music.
    And, according to Director Michael Murnin, there's even more Berlin music in the stage production and that all the changes made actually work for the better.
    "The plot is identical to the movie but the stage version has even more music seamlessly woven into the story," Murnin said. "For instance, there are a couple of lesser known songs like 'Blue Skies' and "I Love a Piano" that people will get to hear. But, because they're also Berlin classics, people will instantly recognize them."
    Murnin added that while people will adore the beloved songs, he hopes people love one of his favorite aspects of the show, too.
    "It's a musical within a musical," Murnin said. "And, I've tried to elaborate on that so that the audience really gets to feel what it's like to put a show together."
    Originally, only six performances were scheduled for the course of the next two weekends. However, high ticket sales prompted the theater to add a rare Thursday night (Dec. 6) performance and as of Tuesday afternoon Murnin said that he had been asked to discuss scheduling one more performance as well.
    "We are thrilled with the interest, "Murnin said. "We're virtually sold out and tickets are going very quickly. There's a waiting list for some performances but that Thursday show does still have some good seats available."
    "A CHRISTMAS CAROL"
    WHERE Clear Space Theatre, 20 Baltimore Avenue, Rehoboth Beach
    WHEN 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 3 p.m., Sunda
    COST $15 to $30*
    INFO www.clearspacetheatre.org
    Page 2 of 3 - The popularity of Charles Dickens' beloved 1843 book, "A Christmas Carol" has seen itself adapted thousands of times for audiences all over the world. From the pages of the iconic book, movie, television and stage viewers have seen every version imaginable, from funny slapstick to spooky morality tale.
    The enduring nature of the story may be the moral journey the audience accompanies the cantankerous Ebeneezer Scrooge on as he meets the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future, until finally arriving at a destination of transformation and redemption.
    What's new to this production? Well, in addition to Doug Yetter's original score and orchestration, the audience will be greeted by costumed cast members upon their arrival and escorted to their seats in a charming Victorian village.
    Lance Ekas, who portrays Scrooge's clerk bob Crachit was formerly involved in the holiday production and came back this year.
    "After a couple of years off, I'm delighted to reprise Bob Cratchit in this totally new show," Ekas said. "I'm confident that this production will be greeted with an even greater reception by the community."
    Newcomer Liane Hansen is also excited about the show.
    "To be in the cast of 'A Christmas Carol' is a dream come true. I'm one of the narrators and a member of the ensemble so I get to exercise my acting, dancing and singing muscles," Hansen said. "Getting to meet and work with people who are as passionate as I am about theatre is bliss."
    "THE NUTCRACKER"
    WHERE Cape Henlopen High School, 1250 Kings Highway, Lewes
    WHEN 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 1 p.m., Sunday
    COST $12 to $15
    INFO (302) 645-7855
    "The Nutcracker" is another timeless classic and holiday tradition that seems to be growing in Sussex County thanks, in large part, to the nine-year efforts of the Sussex Dance Academy and its youth ballet company, Sussex Ballet.
    The cast of 65 children and seven adults includes dancers from almost every nook and cranny of the county: Georgetown, Milford, Milton, Lewes, Millsboro, Rehoboth, Ocean View, Greenwood and beyond.
    The cast has been rehearsing since September and SDA Artistic Director Kate Walker said that she's enjoyed watching the dancers grow.
    "Morgan Brower of Lincoln is our Sugar Plum Fairy and in her first Sussex Ballet performance, she was a mouse and angel," Walker said. "Now, though, she and the rest of the older dancers are great role models for the younger cast.
    Walker added that the production means more to her than people realize because it's the reason she started taking dance lessons at age five.
    Page 3 of 3 - "My parents took me to see the ballet and the rest is history," Walker said. "Our 'Nutcracker' is classical ballet and follows the traditional storyline. Additionally, our grand pas de deux choreography is based on the original choreography of Lev Ivanov, a famous Russian choreographer who is credited for choreographing the premiere Nutcracker in 1892."
    Walker also thinks the production is part of what makes the holidays special.
    "People never tire of 'The Nutcracker,'" Walker said. "The season just wouldn't be complete without it."
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