Phoenix to Feature 12 Local Child Actresses in MADELINE'S CHRISTMAS

The Phoenix Theatre for Children celebrates the holiday season with the presentation of Madeline's Christmas, a musical play based on the popular and beloved Madeline character featured in a series of children's books, an animated TV series, and a major motion picture. In this musical stage adaptation, it's up to Madeline to find a way to save the day when her classmates come down with the flu while preparing to go home for the holidays.

The clever and plucky Madeline will be played by 8-year-old Taryn Huffman of Olentangy. Her classmates will be played by Emma Lou Andrews (Northland), Grace Babcock (Pickerington), Penny Dow (Grandview), Anna Haught (Upper Arlington), Eva House (Clintonville), Jane Kundu (Worthington), Nichola Lampe (Worthington), Amelia Naille (Grandview), Caroline Smyth (Worthington), Avery Stump (Olentangy), and Victoria Washington (Reynoldsburg). The cast is rounded out with three adults-Kim Garrison-Hopcraft (Westerville) who will play caretaker Miss Clavel, Aaron Choi (Clintonville) who will play Monsieur Brun and Harsha, and Pam Welsh-Huggins (Westgate) who will play the cook, Mrs. Murphy.

Madeline's Christmas will be presented December 4-13 in Studio Two of the Riffe Center (77 S. High St.). Show times are Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 1 pm and 2:30 pm; and Sundays at 1 pm and 2:30 pm. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children and can be purchased at the Ohio Theatre Ticket Office (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and To purchase tickets by phone, please call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. The Riffe Center Ticket Office will open two hours prior to each performance. This production is recommended for children four years and older and has a running time of 55 minutes.

In Madeline's Christmas, the twelve little girls in Madeline's school are preparing to go home for the holidays when everyone comes down with the flu. Everyone that is, except for the ever-resilient Madeline. Saddened that they may not be able to go home for Christmas, the girls take to their beds. On Christmas Eve, a rug merchant knocks at the door with twelve very special rugs, reminding Madeline that Christmas is a time of miracles. Soon, everyone wakes up feeling healthy and the merchant gives each girl a magic carpet so they can fly home and be with their families for Christmas.

Madeline was created by author Ludwig Bemelmans who published his first book, Madeline, in 1939, earning the distinction of being named a Caldecott Honor book. The next book, Madeline's Rescue (1953), received the 1954 Caldecott Medal. Additional Madeline adventures include Madeline and the Bad Hat (1956), Madeline and the Gypsies (1959), Madeline in London (1961), Madeline's Christmas (1985, but first published in McCall's in 1956), and Madeline in America and Other Holiday Tales (1999). Bemelmans' grandson, John Bemelmans Marciano, has carried on his family heritage by publishing a new Madeline book, Madeline and The cats of Rome, in 2008.

The stage adaptation of Madeline's Christmas was commissioned and first produced by Stages Theatre Company in Hopkins, Minnesota, in 2004, and this holiday season, Phoenix is proud to bring the endearing and gutsy little Madeline to Columbus.

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