Magic and local history are new to this year’s production of “Holiday Delights,” which runs tonight through Sunday at Gloucester Stage Company.
The show features a cast of 40 ranging in age from 6 to 16, all students in the Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshops. This family holiday event marks the fourth time in Gloucester Stage history that a production has featured an entire cast of student actors, all from Cape Ann.
New elements in the 2012 production include a boys quartet performing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” twists on classic holiday stories and an original story set in turn-of-the-century Gloucester, featuring the young girl’s grandmother as a young girl herself growing up on the Fort in an Irish-Italian fishing family.
“On her journey she learns about the special traditions of other families and comes to realize the importance of her own family traditions,” said Heidi Dallin, who conceived and directed the production. “This festive evening of stories, songs, magic and dance tells the story of her journey to discover what is really important during the holidays.”
The show has more than 100 costume changes for the actors, many of whom play multiple roles.
As the story unfolds on Christmas Eve, Mrs. Claus takes the young girl to visit Scrooge’s sister Fan and a young Scrooge, the Cratchit Family and the Fezziwig family from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” as well as the March sisters from Louisa Mae Alcott’s “Little Women.” The girl visits a contemporary family celebrating Hanukkah and the animals of the forest in Henry Van Dyke’s “The Very Best Kind of Christmas Tree.”
The director thanked Susan Pollack, author of the “Gloucester Fishermen Wives’ Cookbook,” Gloucester native Maria (Brancaleone) Theriault, and the Sawyer Free Library for their help with the scene related to Gloucester’s local history.