Paul Burch will be making his directing debut with “Yuletide III,” an Orange Community Players, Inc. production that starts its three day run at 7:37 p.m., Thursday night.

The third annual fundraiser will raise funds to be used on building repairs and maintenance.

“Usually its just a Christmas show, a Yuletide thing. What we’ve done is divided the stage with a manger on the right side and a Christmas tree and homey looking scene on the other side of the stage,” Burch said. They will play with both sides of the stage so as Christians, they can honor the true meaning of Christmas, but at the same time they can show the fun side of Christmas too.

“We are doing songs that are from the part of Jesus Christ and songs from the Spirit of Christmas, you know, ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town,’ ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,’ those types of things,” said Burch.

“We’re trying to do both ends of the spectrum.”

“It is different than the ones we’ve done before, but I believe we can pull it off,” he said with a smile.

“I’ve been assistant director to two other shows. ‘Rico Vásquez and I have built this show. Rico hasn’t been a director either.” Vásquez is Burch’s assistant director for the production.

Burch said they couldn’t have done it without Judy Smith, ‘Rico’s grandmother. “She’s been our costume person and she has done a little bit of everything to help build this show. She has really worked hard. She has not missed one rehearsal.”

A good deal of credit also goes to John Gray as choreographer for the production.

According to Burch rehearsals are going well, but are kind of slim some days because the flu season is here. He said there have been people that have been sick and had to drop out. “It has been quite interesting, but we’ve managed to pull together a show. We are adjusting as we go,” he laughed. “When someone drops out, we have to adjust the number or ditch the number and create another one.”

What’s really remarkable is the show is put together in only two weeks. “We will be ready, we have a show now and we’re tweaking it.” He has a few special treats planned. “John Gray is going to be our tapping Santa Claus!” Burch said Gray will be doing a Boogie Woogie number. Children will also be participating in the show as elves.

Previously, the Yuletide shows were directed by Brook Doss, but she retired, got married and moved to Sugarland. When she left, Burch agreed to take on both the Yuletide and Broadway Fun for Funds as director.

“I get to do the fun ones. There’s no script. We chose our songs. We chose our talent and build a show from song to song.”

Cost of tickets is $25, which includes heavy hors d’oeuvres and wine before the show, with desserts, wassail and coffee at intermission.

Santa will be in the Lobby before the show to visit with the children at 7 p.m.

Yuletide III will be performed Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week. Reservations are HIGHLY recommended so they know how much food to prepare each evening. To reserve your spot call 409-882-9137 and leave a message for which day and how many attending. It’s a great way to kick-off the holiday season.

The theater is located at 708 West Division, Orange, Texas 77630.

Santa will be in the lobby of the Orange Community Players Theater at 7 p.m. before each production of “Yuletide III.”

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.