MOUNT VERNON – The Community Family Players will present Charles Dickens’ holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, December 2-5 at The Woodward Opera House located in downtown Mount Vernon. Proceeds will benefit The Winter Sanctuary homeless shelter.
The mission of The Winter Sanctuary, a local 501(c)3 nonprofit, "is to provide seasonal, emergency shelter for members of our community experiencing homelessness." The shelter, which operates Nov. 1 - April 1, can accommodate up to 18 men and 12 women in separate sleeping quarters.
“Ohio winters can be brutal,” David Perry, Winter Sanctuary board member, said. “We provide shelter during the coldest and most dangerous part of the year.”
Although The Winter Sanctuary would like to provide shelter year-round, Perry explains that current resources prohibit that and emphasizes the importance of this annual fundraising event.
“It’s a great show for a great cause,” Perry said, who hopes to reach this year’s $70,000 fundraising goal. “And the story of A Christmas Carol ties in perfectly with our mission of helping the needy.”
The show’s director, Rev. Scott Elliott of Mount Vernon’s First Congregational United Church of Christ, agrees. “A Christmas Carol reminds us that Christmas is the time to tend to your neighbors, especially those on the scariest edge of need, and to bring love into the world,” Elliott said.
Elliott, who spent much of his 2021 sabbatical writing an original script for the production, says he couldn’t have asked for a better venue to stage the show.
Originally opened in December of 1851, only a few short years after Dickens first published A Christmas Carol, the Woodward was forced to close in the mid-1920s due to the rise of motion pictures. Thanks to a 20-year, $21 million restoration effort, the Woodward reopened in Jan. 2019.
“The Woodward Opera House is this beautiful 19th century theater,” Elliott said. “Add in the incredible acoustics and this exceptional cast of actors, and you get an extra special experience. The community coming together to raise a ton of money is a wonderful bonus.”
In this re-imagined production of A Christmas Carol, even those already familiar with the redemption story of the play’s protagonist Ebenezer Scrooge are in for a few surprises, including an appearance by Dickens himself as the show’s narrator.
Tickets for the show are available now at www.thewoodward.org or at the door. Tickets are general admission and are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors 65+ and $10 for students.
Performance times are 7 p.m. on Dec. 2-4 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 5. A special gala will precede the Saturday, Dec. 4 show. Gala tickets are $100 and include the performance, as well as an hors d'oeuvre reception and one drink ticket.