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ABC Players to put new spin on classic children's tale

The dangerous side of gingerbread houses takes center stage in a new holiday musical.

On Friday, The ABC Players will present a Christmas musical take on Hansel and Gretel at Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville.

The holiday show, with music written by Engelbert Humperdinck and storyline written by director Celeste Parsons, is based off the classic children’s tale about a poor family whose children are lost in the woods while searching for firewood when they meet a witch who lives in a gingerbread cottage.

Parsons said that she wanted to write a show that captured the holiday spirit and would also fit into the group’s tradition of family-friendly Christmas shows.

“We try to choose Christmas shows that are family-oriented, and plays with children in the cast usually meet that criterion,” she said. “We haven't had a musical Christmas show recently, and the opera by Engelbert Humperdinck from which the musical numbers have been adapted is full of wonderful melodies.”

Having children be a part of the show is something that Kaylla Steadman, a student at Hocking College who plays the mother in the show, said has made the production so enjoyable.

“Having the children in the show has been such a fun experience,” she said. “They are all so talented, and it has made the show all the better.”

While many fairy-tale moms are the token villains of the story, Steadman said she enjoys playing her character because she is a sympathetic, maternal figure.

“Obviously she still gets frustrated and that’s the reason that she sends them into the woods, but when they do go missing, you can tell she is so concerned,” Steadman said. “She really wants to give them everything, and I think she feels badly because she is poor and sometimes can’t.”

Following the production each evening, the cast, crew and audience will have the chance to meet in the lobby for caroling and refreshments. All profits will support Stuart’s Opera House, and all donations for refreshments will benefit the Nelsonville Food Cupboard, which Megan Wanczyk, public relations head for the ABC Players, said is in keeping with the spirit of the show.

“I think it really captures the spirit of the holidays, which is giving back to the community and family togetherness,” she said.

Parsons said that she hopes that the spirit of the show will get the audience ready for the holiday.

“I hope audiences will come to see the show as families, leave humming the music and think the experience was a joyful beginning to the Christmas season,” she said.

If You Go:

What: The ABC Players present Hansel and Gretel

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Stuart’s Opera House, 52 Public Square

Admission: $5

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