This is what Christmas is about

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    The cast of “Christmas in Rockville” gathers before rehearsal at Calvary Chapel Lihue.

Two words come to mind about “Christmas In Rockville.”

It rocks.

OK, so that’s not exactly original, but this original play being put on by Calvary Chapel Lihue Theater is outstanding, which is no surprise.

This is the same group that put on “Candle in the Window” and “Hope Station” in years past, and those were excellent productions in terms of stage, character, dialogue and theme.

Christmas In Rockville was written by Sophia Ross and directed by Lance Kerwin. Consulting Civil War historian was David Parsons. Music was by The Welch Family.

This play is filled with highlights. It’s clever, it’s charming, it’s convicting. It is just what’s needed to remind us what Christmas is all about. Yes, there are moments when the characters are marked by anger, despair, bitterness, but in the end, they overcome. They get that new beginning. It leaves us filled with joy. The finale is guaranteed to have you standing, smiling and singing.

Mind you, this is produced by a Christian church and the cast is not bashful about the message it is sharing: A fresh start is possible with faith in Jesus Christ. So, if you’re offended by evangelicals, this might not be for you.

But if you could use some holiday cheer, this one’s for you.

Briefly, here’s what it’s about: “It’s the first Christmas after the Civil War; the country is in a time of great division, racial tension, and family upheaval. Can healing come to a family, and a town, after they have been broken and divided?”

Of course, the entire cast is terrific. But a few get more stage time and shine.

One is Woodie Ross, as Betsy. She nearly steals the show with her smile, charm and natural flair in front of an audience. She leaves you chuckling at her delightful, playful spirit.

Sophia Ross, the author of this play, has the role of Margaret. She displays the bitterness and cynicism perfectly that you would expect from one who lost her only son in the war. When she finally lets love back in, it’s a moving scene. The tears are real.

Same for James Kerwin, who plays James, a soldier back from the war, minus an arm. He’s also torn up inside by fighting against his family, a man unwelcome with the exception of his mom, unsure if his father loved him, battling doubt and despair and uncertain of the future.

And Jennifer Plunkett as Mary portrays well a woman with the absolute joy in her new-found faith as her smile brightens the stage. But the shame of a past haunts her and she may be forced to flee.

Watch for the performance of O Holy Night” arranged by Daniel Welch in act four and song by Bruce Baumgartner as the reverend, Hannah Hoshide as Helen, Anwar Ali as Johnny and Noah Cabello as Alfred. It is beautiful and brilliant, sure to inspire and lift you up.. Each actor displays powerful vocals. If one song stands out, this is it.

And the Welch family, Taylor, Daniel, Katherine and Annamarie, provide the musical magic. It’s amazing to have such talent in a small community production.

And please, when it comes around to “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” sing along. It feels good! And there is a final surprise awaiting as the cast takes a bow, so don’t leave early.

An added bonus: the refreshments afterward. They’re free and they’re good.

Tickets are $10, and are limited to 150 per night. All proceeds go to local charities Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Relief, Camp Agape Kauai, U-Turn for Christ Kauai, William Graham’s Kauai Celebration, Gideon’s International, and Operation Christmas Child.

Tickets can be purchased at: Scotty’s Music, Word4Word Bookstore, Kauai Music &Sound, Calvary Chapel Lihue, and online at: cclihue.com/tickets.

Don’t wait. Last year’s shows sold out and many were scrambling for tickets. The bad news is, three shows were already put on last weekend, and there are only shows remaining on Saturday and Sunday, 7 both nights. The play takes a break tonight for the Lights on Rice parade.

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Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or bbuley@thegardenisland.com..

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