The first night's show is over, and hopefully, the initial stage-fright has passed. But having watched The Balch Springs Library Youth Theatre's presentation of Roger Emerson's Santa's Holiday Hoedown, you'd have thought this troupe of young actors had been in the acting business for a good while.
Sure, the fact that I have two daughters, Reagan and Haley, who never have acted before, in the play might make me a little bit biased, but honestly, this was a fun show that I enjoyed from beginning to finish.
At the end of October, I went up to the library to offer my services to photograph the production as it developed. Within five minutes of being there, the twins had been recruited to join the play and my daughter, Chandler, 12, who is in acting classes at her middle school, said clearly she was not going to be a part of it. "Dad, I have friends, and I want to keep them," she told me.
But as we watched the show tonight, I couldn't help but think that down deep inside, maybe, just maybe, she regretted not stepping into the limelight on this one. Directed by Mesquite/Balch Springs theatre veteran, Lloyd E. Turney, and assisted by Delores Lelsz, this diverse group of 16 kids ages 10-14, accompanied by Balch Springs Mayor Pro-Tem, Julie Greer, put on a fun 40-minute musical show that's entertaining and funny.
The show begins with elves Dwight (Kalifornia Harris), Yokum (Dean Sifuentes II), Garth (Lori Ellington), Brooks (Sueiriah Timsah), Vince (Erin Williams), Reba (Carlee Baladez), McEntire (Brandon Greer), Wynonna (Nimeira Timsah) and Judd (Ethen Hopkins) all upset that because of hard economic times, Santa's toyshop will have to close unless they can come up with a "sleigh full of cash" to save Christmas.
Accompanied by Santa's reindeer, Rudolph (Elizabeth Greer), Prancer (Reagan Claxton), Dancer (Haley Claxton) and Vixon (Chelsea McKinney), the crew takes off to Branson, MO to put on a show to raise money for Santa (Justin Tate) and Mrs. Claus (Kiwi Murray).
While in Branson, and not still sure if they can pull off a big presentation where people will come to watch, they encounter Tex Glitter (Councilwoman Greer) and her trusted companion, Roadie (Christopher White), who persuade them that they need a headliner like the former big name Dolly Holiday (Macayla Hopkins) who hasn't had a big hit in several years.
After persuading Santa that he's no Willie Nelson but still a big draw, the kids do several upbeat and fun numbers that are well choreographed and fun to watch.
This isn't Shakespeare Theatre, but it is a good start for kids who want to find out what it's like to be a part of a professional looking production. The singing is good and from having taken the twins to several rehearsals myself, I know the kids all have worked hard over the past two months to put this show together.
If you live in the DFW area and want to see a show that's fun, entertaining, and will take your mind off all the stresses the holiday season can bring, this is the show for you. The Balch Springs Library is doing a great community service by hosting this production in their facility, and while Balch Springs doesn't have a nice black box theatre like they do in Mesquite, well, this helps point to the eventual need for just such a thing right here in Balch Springs.
My hat is off to the kids and Turney and Lelsz for their generous and patient assistance to make this show a reality. Apparently both of them do these productions as volunteers to help out in the community. They've given up many, many hours to ensure that the sets were created nicely, each of the characters have good costumes, and that you felt like the couple of bucks you paid to get in were worth every penny. We need more of this here in Balch Springs, and we certainly have potential for new productions in the future. Congrats to the cast.
I know we're planning to take my mother-in-law, and Kari to future productions of the show, and two of Reagan's teachers came out to the show tonight. That meant a lot to her, and I've posted the photo here of that support, just to help show you, too, what kind of great teachers we have here working in the Mesquite ISD school system.
If you get the chance, the show plays again this coming Saturday, Dec 5th at 2 and 4 p.m., and Dec. 10 and 12 at 7 p.m. at the Balch Springs Library located just off I-635 and Elam Road in Balch Springs.