BWW Interview: Dave DiGeronimo of A LITTLE HOUSE CHRISTMAS at Abbeville Opera House
Ma, Pa, Mary, and Laura Ingalls return for A LITTLE HOUSE CHRISTMAS, opening December 13 at the historic Abbeville Opera House in Abbeville, SC.
"When a natural disaster strikes, it seems like Santa won't be able to make it to Walnut Grove, but Christmas is a time for miracles, and Laura and Mary are determined to help ensure Ma and Pa do not have a gift-less holiday."
This comedy/drama, filled with music and warmth, is a perfect way for families to kick off the holiday season - and a great excuse to visit a historic landmark!
We asked actor Dave DiGeronimo to tell us a little about the show as well as the historic venue where it's being performed.
BWW: First, please tell us a little about the show.
If you loved the acclaimed television series LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, you are going to love this sweet Christmas story of the Ingalls Family. Based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, adapted by James DeVita, the story focuses on experiences of the Ingalls family and friends during a stormy Christmas holiday on the plains of Walnut Grove, and how hardships cause you to value what you have - family and friends.
I get to play the role of family friend "Mr. Edwards". He is big hearted, loud, joyful and has an over top personality, which has made this a really fun role to play.
Director Jimmy O. Burdette artfully sets the mood of this Hallmark-like production with his signature stunning set design, underscore music, dance choreography, and songs of the season.
What do you hope audience members will take away with them after seeing the show?
I guarantee audience members will leave with a smile on their face and a Christmas glow in their heart. Those that have read the Little House books or remember the Little House television series will be able to take a wonderful step back in time. For first timers, they will leave wanting to experience more of Laura Ingalls' Little House.
Tell us a little about the venue and how long you've been involved there.
I've been in 6 productions over the last few years. Two of my favorites were HELLO, DOLLY! where I played Horace Vandergelder, and GILLIGAN'S ISLAND: THE MUSICAL, where I played the Skipper.
Here is a summary of the historical aspects of the Abbeville Opera House:
At the turn of the last century many "road companies" began touring from New York to Atlanta, with the Opera House as an overnight stop. Between 1908 and 1913, Abbeville audiences enjoyed approximately 260 live performances on the magnificent 7500 square foot Opera House stage. The theater offered a rich variety of Vaudeville, Minstrel and Burlesque shows - along with touring productions of many of Broadway's most popular musicals and plays.
The first motion picture "talkie - TTHE JAZZ SINGER - played the historic Abbeville Opera House in 1927 and the road shows began to fade. The Opera House remained a movie theater until the late fifties, when it joined many other grand "movie houses" that were losing money and were forced to close.
In the 1960's, a group of supporters visualized the potential of the abandoned Opera House and mounted a community-wide campaign to restore the grand old theater. To celebrate the return of The Opera House to its original purpose, Thornton Wilder's OUR TOWN was presented on stage in May, 1968.
Today the Opera House is fully restored to its turn-of-the-century condition with two exceptions - the addition of air conditioning and rocking chair seats.
Both Laura Ingalls' stories and the opera house itself could be viewed as icons of American history. What do you think makes stories and places like these continue to resonate with us - especially at Christmas time?
Because Christmas is a time for reflecting on faith, family, and friends. If we have faith, family, and friends, at the end of the day, that's all that matters. The Abbeville Opera House has been a place where families gather and create wonderful memories - and shows like A LITTLE HOUSE CHRISTMAS remind us of what really matters.
A LITTLE HOUSE CHRISTMAS runs December 13 through 22 at the Abbeville Opera House in Abbeville, SC. All tickets are $15. For reservations and showtimes call the box office at 864.366.9673 or visit abbevillecitysc.com/310/The-Abbeville-Opera-House.