The Illuminated Stage Theatre Co. presents ‘A Christmas Memory’

By: Sherry Williams Kidd | Twitter: @PGJournal
Posted: December 6, 2018 | 12:30 p.m. 

Hopewell’s Beacon Theatre to host production Dec. 14-16

VIRGINIA – The Illuminated Stage Theatre Company will present, A Christmas Memory. The joyous, heart-warming musical will be a holiday treat and highlight of the Christmas season for the entire family! This production will no doubt instill happy memories in the hearts of those that experience the performance, for many years to come! The uplifting musical, by Central Virginia’s and the Tri-Cities’ own professional theater production company, will be presented at the historic Beacon Theater in Hopewell. There will be a total of four performances, presented on three days only–December 14, 15, and 16, 2018.

A Christmas Memory is the tale of a friendship for the ages. The musical is based on the classic short story by Truman Capote and the book by Duane Poole. The music is by Larry Grossman, and the lyrics are by Carol Hall.

A Christmas Memory is set in rural Alabama during the Depression. Young Buddy is being raised by three eccentric cousins. He and his favorite cousin, Sook, still a child herself in many ways, gather ingredients to bake holiday fruitcakes for those who have had a memorable impact on their lives during the past year, including President Roosevelt himself! Buddy makes a surprising friend in Nelle Harper, his tomboy neighbor, leading her on a wonderful adventure of their own. From the vantage point of time, Buddy, now a successful writer, renews his friendship with the family’s housekeeper, Anna, who is now the only living tie to his past. Buddy leads us through a series of hilarious and touching adventures, fondly remembering his childhood.

“When Buddy revisits the memories of his escapades with Sook and Nelle during this particular holiday, he recalls the very best treasures from the happiest part of his childhood,” said Julie Fulcher-Davis, Production’s Director. “His stories are spun in such a way that we all become spellbound in a place that allows us to fondly remember the joy, wonder, and traditions of the heart-warming holidays of our own childhoods.”

 Young Buddy (Sawyer Williams), his beloved cousin Sook (Robyn O’Neill), and little Queenie (Henry) can feel that it’s fruitcake weather! 

Carlen Kernish, who starred in The Illuminated Stage’s production of, Soldier, Come Home, in 2015, returns from Michigan to play the older Buddy. “I am absurdly excited to be a part of this new company’s first musical production,” said Kernish.

Robyn O’Neill brings her many talents to the role of Sook, who cherishes her time with Buddy more than anything else. Jacqueline O’Connor and Eric Williams play Buddy’s well-intentioned cousins, Jennie and Seabon. Dee D. Miller brings Anna, the wise housekeeper, to life.

“Our amazing, critically-acclaimed cast brings years of professional theatre experience to these characters,” said Fulcher-Davis. “In addition to these remarkable performers, we are delighted to have two young actors, Sawyer Williams and Carrie Brockwell, in the roles of young Buddy and Nelle Harper. They are young, but these two are just bursting with talent.”

 Ann Easterling, Julie Fulcher-Davis, and Steve King came together to produce, “Soldier Come Home,” for Hopewell’s Civil War sesquicentennial, in 2015. The three individuals felt that the creative process in the production of the show was infinitely rewarding, and found the audience’s positive reception overwhelming. They had touched a need in the Central Virginia community. After the completion of this first major project, they knew they had to do more. Three years later, the Illuminated Stage Theatre Company is well on its way. The Illuminated Stage Theatre Company is a non-profit arts organization, based in the Tri-Cities and Central Virginia, established to inspire creative expression and to transform and unify the community through theatre, art, music, and dance.

The four performances of A Christmas Memory will be presented on Friday, December 14, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, December 15, at 2:30 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, December 16, at 2:30 p.m. Special holiday ticket prices are $25 for adults and $15 for students.  Tickets for the four shows are expected to go quickly. For additional information or to obtain tickets, you can contact the Illuminated Stage Theatre Company online at, or telephone (804) 452-7011.

What a thoughtful, meaningful, and enduring Christmas gift! Not only will you be helping to support a local professional theatre company, bringing exciting and wonderful productions and the arts to our communities; but you will be giving one of the best feel-good gifts of the entire Christmas season. Merry Christmas!

Copyright 2018 by Womack Publishing
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