Three theater performances to highlight holidays

LIfestyles: Act 1 Theatre’s ‘Joy to the World’ includes a storyline dedicated to veterans

Special to the HeraldNovember 20, 2013 

The holiday theater season will be in full swing this week.

Three theater companies are preparing to throw open their stage curtains for community members to who want to warm up with a little holiday spirit.

The first leg of the performances will be led by Puyallup-based Spotlight Players and its production of “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!).” Opening night will be at 8 p.m. Thursday. The first show has been labeled with a pay-what-you-can admission fee.

The show will be a more involved experience for the audience as three actors take them through a whirlwind comedic performance.

Director Paul Hill said the show requires some actors to have improvisation skills.

“We have about five stories that we go into detail with, but we do a mix or include at least another seven to eight stories,” Hill said.

The play will include snippets of traditions from around the globe and several seasonal icons.

“There are a few times where we will be bringing audience members onto the stage with us,” Hill said.

The actors will ask for volunteers during those participatory moments.

The show is recommended for ages 13 and older. Wine will be available to purchase for those 21 and older.

Sumner’s Act 1 Theatre will put on an original production of “Joy to the World” starting Nov. 29. Petra Karr, a founding member of Act 1, wrote the play with the goal of addressing the difficulty of loss during the holidays.

“I think theater is such a powerful way to actually move people,” Karr said.

Karr added a military storyline because of her close involvement with families at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“I am constantly inspired by the road they are on and how hard they work at home and abroad to truly preserve our freedom, safety and security,” she said.

Including intermission, the play will be less than two hours. Popcorn and hot chocolate will be available at the concession stand.

Meanwhile, ManeStage Theatre, another Sumner company, will put on “Miracle on 34th Street — the musical” starting Nov. 30. More than 70 performers and musicians will be involved. The company will use the Meredith Wilson-adapted version of the 1947 film.

This will mark ManeStage’s seventh season, 40th full-length production and the second time it has produced a musical version of “Miracle on 34th Street.” The production will run about two hours.

Each performance will conclude with an opportunity for a complimentary photo with Santa Claus. Those who are interested in photos are encouraged to bring a camera.

ManeStage has produced a holiday musical each year since it was founded in 2008. It also has presented “White Christmas,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol.”

If you go

“Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)”

 • Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday; 7 p.m. on Nov. 22-23, Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 6; 2 p.m. on Nov. 30 and Dec. 7. Performances will be held at the indoor auditorium at Meridian Community Center, 14422 Meridian E. on South Hill. For tickets, call 253-251-1930.

“Joy to the World”

 • Show times are 7 p.m. Nov. 29-30, Dec. 6-7, Dec. 13-14; 2 p.m. on Dec. 1, Dec. 8 and Dec. 15. Performances will be held at the Black Box Theatre (next to the Fred Meyer gardening center), 5814 152nd Ave. Court E. Tickets are available at

“Miracle on 34th Street — the Musical”

 • Show times are 7 p.m. Nov. 30, Dec. 6-7, Dec. 13-14, Dec. 20-21 and 2 p.m. on Dec. 1, Dec. 7-8, Dec. 14-15 and Dec. 21. Performances will be held at the Sumner Performing Arts Center, 1707 Main St. Tickets are available at

Elsy Pawelak is a freelance reporter for the Herald.

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