SPRING VALLEY –A small group of weary travelers discover the power of the season in the Spring Valley Stagehands next production, “A Candle in the Window,” by L.Don Swartz.
Showtimes are 7 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11 and 2 p.m. Dec. 12 and 19 at the Stagehands Theatre (S234 McKay Ave., Spring Valley).
Co-directors Elizabeth Erickson and Mary Anderson are thrilled to stage this special holiday show after COVID sidelined productions for a while. In fact, they’re looking forward to several shows this season.
“It is great to be back in the theater,” Erickson said. “We have had one play this fall, ‘How I Became a Pirate,’ and that went well. We
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The children’s cast members of “A Candle in the Window” will wow audiences with their performances. Pictured are (front, from left): Gracie Hurlburt, Gwen Yonke, Lilly Morgan, Grayson Vorlicek; (back) Ezra Sauve and Parker Peabody. Photo courtesy of Lori Peterson STAGEHANDS
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have plans for three other plays this year.”
The cast and crew started rehearsing in October, holding practices 6-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Now that the show is approaching, the group will put in some longer days.
“The cast is well-prepared already, the set is ready and costumes are done,” Erickson said. “We are at the point of fine-tuning the show.”
The most challenging part, as in most shows, has been putting everything together and learning lines, Erickson said, with the added worry that everyone stays healthy.
“We have been careful and we encourage everyone to take care of themselves,” she said. “The most rewarding has been getting to know all these wonderful cast members. Some are new to the stage so it has been fun watching them transform into their characters. The kids are amazing; they really get their parts and enjoy each other. “
In this special and inspiring holiday production, each character has its own story and a lesson to share with a weary traveler (see plot sidebar). Erickson said the end has a twist you won’t want to miss.
“I have the cast sworn to secrecy to not tell anything,” she said.
Erickson said one reason she enjoys this group so much is the abundance of laughter. There is no shortage of funny moments during rehearsals.
“One practice with the kids, Wally, played by Greyson Vorlicek, was to tell about Mary and Joseph,” Erickson said. “He said every name he knew that started with a ‘J’ except Joseph. He’s got it now. But every time Greyson says that line, we all anticipate something other than Joseph.”
As one can imagine, putting on a play takes a lot of hard work, even outside of the four practices a week. The characters practice their lines with their families. Jon Erickson, who plays Neil, even practiced his lines while sitting in his hunting stand. At school, the teachers allow the kids to use their scripts for their 15-minute reading requirement every day at home.
The crew behind the scenes puts in long hours as well, and Erickson expressed her gratitude.
“We are very lucky to have a great group of theater lovers that love to volunteer their time for the behind-the-scenes jobs to put on a production,” Erickson said. “Right now Gary Lukes is starting to prepare for ‘Pippin,’ our summer musical. Ann Turner has begun practice for the children’s theater play ‘Miss Nelson is Missing,’ in February.
Make sure to put 7 p.m. Dec. 10-11 and 17-18 and 2 p.m. Dec. 12 and 19 on your calendars. Tickets are available at the door or by visiting www.svstagehands.org Special notes on COVID-19 There is nothing more important to the Stagehands than the happiness, health, safety, and well-being of every person who comes through our doors. In this spirit and consistent with the recommendations of the CDC, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and the Pierce County Department of Public Health, we highly recommend that EVERYONE (regardless of vaccination status) wear a mask at all times inside the theatre. Hand sanitizing stations will be located at the entrance and in the restrooms, and all hard services inside the building will be cleaned after every performance. We ask that patrons sit in family pods with good spacing between family/friend groups.
The adult members of the Spring Valley Stagehands “A Candle in the Window” holiday production include (back row, from left) Todd Sauve, Derek Huebel, Jon Erickson, Trista Fald, Mark Mastalir; (front) Sydney Traynor, Ann Turner, Chris Fitzjarrell. Not pictured: Frank Ginther. Photo courtesy of Lori Peterson