The holidays are an exhilarating time of year. We surround ourselves with friends and family to enjoy luscious food and joyous laughter. Along with the shopping, shipping and cooking, though, we hope to squeeze in some good downtime and get caught up on activities that may have passed us by during the year. If you happen to be in Marietta, Georgia during the holiday season, set aside some time to enjoy great entertainment on Marietta Square. Theatre in the Square is bringing back two of its favorite holiday plays for its 29th season.
"A Tuna Christmas" will be performed for the second time from now through Jan. 2, 2011, on the 120-seat Alley Stage. "Sanders Family Christmas" will return for the 12th time beginning Nov. 23 through Jan. 2, 2011 on the 225-seat Main Stage.
Tickets range between $25 and $35 and are available at Theatre in the Square's box office by calling (770) 422-8369 or online at www.theatreinthesquare.com. Theatre in the Square is located in Marietta Square at 11 Whitlock Ave.
In "A Tuna Christmas," by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard, actors William S. Murphey and Bryan Mercer play a combined 20 characters as they attempt to sort through the mystery of the Christmas Phantom in quirky Tuna, Texas. Both men starred in "Greater Tuna," the first part of the comedic Tuna tetralogy at the theater this summer.
There are just two men in the show, but they play mostly women. There is a show behind the show. There are at least three dressers helping the guys in and out of costume. It's like walking through a conveyor belt almost and they come out completely changed as another character.
Howard, a Marietta resident, also directs co-writers Williams and Sears, who also perform, in the national tours of the Tuna tetralogy. Off Broadway, he directed "Greater Tuna" and on Broadway "A Tuna Christmas," which garnered Sears a Tony nomination.
The entire cast and production team from last season returns for this year's production of "A Sanders Family Christmas" by Connie Ray, Alan Bailey, John Foley and Gary Fagin. Michael Monroe is music director.
The family-friendly, gospel musical features the singing Sanders clan in the 1940s as they celebrate the holiday season with popular songs such as "Joy to the World" and "Angels We Have Heard on High." So beloved is the musical, that some theater patrons have made attending "A Sanders Family Christmas" a Christmas family tradition.
Karen Howell of Marietta, who both co-directs the musical with Alan Kilpatrick and acts in it as the matriarch of the clan, said her aim is to may the production funny, yet keep the cast of seven characters who play their own instruments, as honest as possible. There is a lot of meaning in the show, which is about faith and family.
This year, the theater remodeled its building facade including a new lobby, bar area and box office. It is now looking for ideas from local artists and students for a replacement to its traditional comedy and tragedy masks logo. Only original artwork may be electronically submitted through Dec. 15 to marketing@theatre inthesquare. com. The three finalists will be announced on Jan. 5.
Yes, time is precious during the holidays, but try to set a few hours aside for some great entertainment. While you're at the Square, why not dine at one of the many fine restaurants serving meals to please any palate. Plan on doing your holiday shopping, too, at the specialty boutiques that offer something for everyone. Want to rest a bit? Grab a pedicab or horse drawn carriage and enjoy the sights and sounds of Marietta Square!