WHAT: Christmas play, "A Frosty Christmas Surprise"
WHERE: Ritz Theater, 512 Keystone St., Hawley
WHEN: Sat., Dec. 7 & Sun., Dec. 8 at 2 p.m.
COST: Free admission
Jack Frost will visit the Ritz Theater this weekend, freezing some children who make a clubhouse out of a cabin they discover in the woods. As part of the annual Christmas Show, the home actually belongs to a grumpy old man who dislikes children and the holidays. When caught decorating the house, the old man has Jack Frost freeze the children. But, with the help of an owl, a couple of friendly dragons and a little Christmas magic, the children are restored and the old man's heart is thawed.
"A Frosty Christmas Surprise," is one of the many seasonal productions Sandy Gabrielson has written through the years. Gabrielson said the performances are meant to entertain children and adults alike. But the story line for this show, which he wrote 10 years ago, Gabrielson said he is unsure of how he thought of it. For 40 years, the Ritz Theater has provided Christmas shows and when Winterfest started 15 years ago, he said the collaboration began.
Shows have included: Christmas in the Land of Oz, Whooo Stole Christmas, Holiday Hijinks and more. This show, has a cost of 14, many who have been participating in the shows for years.
For 23 years, Deb Waldron has performed in the Christmas shows, and this season, she will be the cat. Her role in "A Frosty Christmas Surprise," is one of her favorites because she can be silly and crawl around the stage, which Waldron said is different. Aside from performing, Waldron said she enjoys how excited the audience gets, often warning the characters that they should be careful as the scenes unfold.
Since 2001, Mark Zimmer has been involved in Ritz Theater productions and in this show, he will be Jack Frost. Ever year, he said Gabrielson's shows are unique, but also good because of the morals presented in the performances. Together, he said the cast is a great group of people who have become like a family. Come Saturday, when the first show starts at 2:30, Zimmer said people will be lined up outside the door and possibly around the block.
Siblings, Katie and Tommy Lane have been performing in the Christmas show for six years, they both said because it is "fun." Without giving any details, Tommy said, "A Frosty Christmas Surprise," is different than what people will expect from an average Christmas show.
Gabrielson said the partnership of the show and WinterFest, is wonderful because every year it appears to grow. Happy to be involved in the festivities, he said its a good way to, "kick off the holiday season."
The "Frosty Christmas Surprise," will be free and doors will open Saturday and Sunday, December 7-8 at 2 p.m. The show starts at 2:30 and following the show, Santa will make a visit. Ritz Theater is located at 512 Keystone St., Hawley.
Read about the weekend's Hawley Winterfest events at www.hawleywinterfest.com or pick up a brochure.