Even though it takes place during Christmas, the epitome of Thanksgiving is Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” The Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bear Stage Players have been in rehearsals of the classic tale and will present it to the public in early December.

Melissa Johnson, theater arts teacher, is new to LC-M. She and the young thespians wanted to perform a show that conveyed a message of hope and rebirth, with what Orange County has been going through since Hurricane Ike.

A number of students are involved with the production besides the actors and stage technicians. Building and trades students helped build the sets, while cosmetology students will be doing the hair and make-up.

The familiar characters include Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Alex Wray; and Bob Cratchit played by Jake Spurgeon.

Andre’ Robinson, who plays Marley’s Ghost, and Spurgeon, showed their dedication to the show by attending rehearsal on Saturday, which also happened to be their birthday. Johnson furnished a cake to go along with the cast’s lunch of pizza.

Robinson is a ham who loves the attention and really plays it up as the former partner of Scrooge. He says the first acting he did was at age 5. “I was the little camp boy in ‘Ride of Ickabod Crane.’”

Robinson has also played Leroy in “Fame.”

All the theater students are tight knit groups that are close friends on and off the stage. “These people are like family,” said Thespian Society president Jerica Johnson, “I think theater kids are the closest of any kids.”

“We were all hanging out together last night,” said junior Shannon Gordon.

“I love these guys,” said Nikki Moody.

They also love theater, which is apparent by all the hard work they have put into this production. Saturday was their first dress rehearsal. They’ll be off this week for Thanksgiving, but will hit the again the Monday with three more dress rehearsals before opening night. Some of the costumes haven’t been completed yet, and there are finishing touches yet to be finished on the set and props, but it is evident that a top-notch performance awaits opening night.

At the end of February, the players will publicly perform their UIL entry, with the contest to follow in March. That piece has not been determined yet, said Johnson. “I’m still looking for the right one.”

They will also do a children’s production in May. “We always do a fairy tale,” said Jerica Johnson.

Of her first year at LC-M, Melissa Johnson said, “This is the most amazing school … the best job I’ve ever had!” She is blown over by the support the department receives from the school’s administration.

Melissa Johnson taught the previous six years at Cathedral Christian Academy in Beaumont.

Does she plan on staying awhile? “Absolutely!”

Johnson and her students have put their heart and soul into this production … and it shows.

Make plans to add “A Christmas Carol” to your things to do for the holidays. At $3 a ticket, it is one of the best entertainment values out there … cheaper than a newly released movie rental. There will be three performances. The curtain rises at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 4 and 5.

A matinee is offered at 3 p.m. Dec. 6. 

Seating is limited to 450. For tickets, call 886-5821, ext. 1620.

Tickets will be sold at the door, if available.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.