Tonawanda News

The Town

December 13, 2013

Christmas on stage keeps Towne Players busy

Tonawanda News — Things are looking pretty Christmasy on the Sheridan-Parkside Community Center stage these days.

The Towne Players will finish up their holiday production of “Babes in Toyland” this weekend, followed by their Christmas variety show Dec. 20 at the center. It’s made for a busy, if festive, season for the group.

Director Tim Kordela said the Towne Players’ rendition of “Babes in Toyland” (which opened last week and continues at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday) closely follows the 1961 Disney version of the story, in which the residents of Mother Goose Land are threatened by the evil Barnaby — and Mary (as in, Quite Contrary) and Tom-Tom ( as in, the Piper’s Son) take a group of nursery-rhyme characters into the forest and encounter the mysterious Toymaker.

“It’s definitely a fun Christmas show, without a doubt,” Kordela said.

The show has a large cast, with 23 people taking part, and most of them range between the ages of 4 and 18, Kordela said. It can be a challenge to keep track of all the different characters and cast members, but it’s worked out.

“It’s all come together very nicely,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun ... an adventure, to say the least.”

Savannah Easton appears in the show as Mary Contrary, with Douglas Giordano as Tom-Tom, Tim Bookhagen as Barnaby and, in a gender-swapping twist, Kasia Abramo as the Toymaker.

A week later, the group’s annual Christmas variety show will take place on stage Dec. 20. Last year marked the return of the show — which originally started in 1988 — after a hiatus, and it proved so popular the tradition is now back for the foreseeable future, said director Glenn Jumper.

“This year we have two dance numbers by The Lisa Taylor dance group, ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ and ‘Peter and the Wolf,’ a selection of readings, skits, songs, the usual assemblage,” he said. “It’s a one-time-only thing. This is the only chance to see it.

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