BWW Previews: With A CHRISTMAS MEMORY, The Illuminated Stage Theatre Company Brings a New Treat to the Tri-cities Community
*Press Release Compiled by the Marketing Staff at The Illuminated Stage*
Based out of Hopewell, Virginia, The Illuminated Stage Theatre Company is an up-and-coming non-profit arts' organization that hopes to inspire local creative expression through theatre, art, music and dance.
One of their premiere offerings (that is just in time for the holidays) is A CHRISTMAS MEMORY, a holiday treat for the entire family showing at the historic and newly-renovated Beacon Theatre from December 14th through December 16th, 2018.
The Illuminated Stage was born when three Central Virginia-based artists and friends - Ann C. Easterling, Julie Fulcher-Davis, and Steve King - harnessed the culmination of many years of professional experience and training into a new arena of expression.
At a pivotal juncture, these semi-frequent collaborators were brought together by unanticipated circumstances, or as they prefer to call it: "the mystical nature of the creative process!"
"When Ann, Julie and I came together to produce Soldier, Come Home for Hopewell's Civil War Sesquicentennial Celebration in 2015, the creative process was rewarding and the audience reception was overwhelming," said King. "When it was all over, and even before that, we knew we had to do more-and three years later, The Illuminated Stage Theatre Company is on its way."
Executive Director Easterling, Artistic Director Fulcher-Davis, and Managing Director King are guided by their commitment to connect community members on all levels of participation and, importantly, to one another, through the arts and the strong social ties of the region.
"Our comprehensive programming will cultivate arts education and build relationships with schools, teachers and students; inspire artists and provide an outlet for their work; create collaborative partnerships with other theatres and area cultural organizations; and foster arts appreciation and volunteerism," said Easterling. "It is a long-term investment in the community and its residents."
Thus, as a seasonal gift to the Hopewell community (and Virginia theatregoers at large), A Christmas Memory promises to enthrall audiences, young and old, with an infectiously heartwarming tale of friendship through the ages.
Based on the classic short story by Truman Capote with book by Duane Poole, music by Larry Grossman and lyrics by Carol Hall, A CHRISTMAS MEMORY is a "memory musical" told through the means of alternating timelines.
The first timely setting presents rural Alabama during the Great Depression where young Buddy (11-year-old Sawyer Williams) is being raised by three eccentric cousins: Jennie (Jacqueline O'Connor), Sebon (Eric Williams), and Buddy's favorite cousin, Sook (Robyn O'Neill). Young Buddy and the child-like Sook gather ingredients to bake holiday gifts for those who have made a memorable impact on their lives in the departing year- including President Roosevelt! Young Buddy also makes a surprising new friend in Nelle Harper (12-year-old Carrie Brockwell), his tomboy neighbor.
The contrasting time period takes place years later as Buddy (Carlen Kernish), now a successful writer, renews his friendship with the family's housekeeper Anna (Dee D. Miller): Buddy's last, living tie to his past.
Through the magical staging of Buddy's reminiscences of his childhood, the audience is transported into a series of yuletide adventures - all glowing with touching moments of hilarity and wistful tidings.
"[Buddy's] stories are spun in such a way that we all become spellbound in a place that allows us to fondly remember the joy, wonder and traditions of the heartwarming holidays of our youth", said Director Julie Fulcher-Davis.
A CHRISTMAS MEMORY'S creative team includes Musical Director Anthony Williams as well as Set Designer Cindy Warren, Lighting Designer Andrew Bonniwell (lighting designer) Costumer Denise Blake, and...
... Henry, a rescue dog who returns to the stage after a notable appearance in GYPSY at Virginia Repertory Theatre! Henry is also bringing awareness to the Hopewell Food Pantry (www.hopewellfoodpantry.com) for food donations (for humans as well as pets), and the Prince George Animal Services for pet adoption opportunities.
The Illuminated Stage is also making further rounds with community awareness such as the inclusion of student performances as well as an array of holiday photo collages, donated by area-based families that will hang in the Hopewell, Prince George, and Dinwiddie branch libraries, respectively.
Under the mantra "Create! Educate! Participate," and with more exciting innovations on and off stage in the works, the Illuminated Stage intends to have A CHRISTMAS MEMORY be the first, shiny star to guide their way to momentous and affirming future.
"A Christmas Memory is The Illuminated Stage Theatre Company's introduction to the community, but it is only the first of many shows, programs, workshops, and wonderful experiences in and for the community," said Fulcher-Davis.
The four performances of A Christmas Memory are Friday, December 14th at 8 p.m., Saturday, December 15th at 2:30 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, December 16th at 2:30 p.m. Special holiday ticket prices are $25 adults, $15 students.
For more information or tickets, go to www.illuminatedstage.org or call (804) 452-7011.