Community Night

StageNotes - A Christmas Carol

Annual Holiday Tradition at Hartford Stage Kindles Community Magic

By Natalie Pertz, Resident Teaching Artist

It wouldn’t be wintertime at Hartford Stage without the timeless retelling of A Christmas Carol. As the production celebrates its 20th anniversary season, Hartford Stage will host the 15th annual Community Night Performance of the beloved Hartford holiday classic on Wednesday, November 29.

Members of A Christmas Carol cast with a young fan.
Members of A Christmas Carol cast with a young fan.

Approximately 485 children and adults from 21 organizations across the Greater Hartford area will attend the free performance. For many of these local organizations, this performance has become a holiday tradition to look forward to from year to year. The Downtown YMCA Footlights and Education Program is one such organization that has been in attendance for over ten years.

“Over the years, our youth have always looked forward to another year of enjoying the magic of A Christmas Carol,” Debra Mauldin, Footlights Coordinator, explains. “Because we work with youth from various backgrounds, there are new participants every year who have never attended a live show or been inside a theatre. They are overwhelmed with excitement from the beginning to the very end of the show. Meeting the characters after the show, receiving their signatures, and drinking hot cocoa give them a VIP experience they will never forget.”

Majesty and Princess Moore.
Majesty and Princess Moore.

This year, two Footlights students who have been a part of the program for almost a year will experience that unforgettable magic from onstage. Princess and Majesty Moore are first-time cast members of A Christmas Carol.

When I found out I had been cast, I was running all around my house and screaming and shouting,” Princess Moore, 9, explains. “I’ve always liked acting. Also, I like doing things for people and watching their faces light up. It makes me feel joyful inside to see other people happy.”

Her sister, Majesty Moore, 5, adds, “I was excited. I was jumping up and happy because me and my sister got in.”

“I feel every child should be exposed to the arts. We are all artists or actors in some aspect. The arts allow children to explore solutions to many everyday realities,” Mauldin said. “Every avenue in the arts gives children the path to explore ways to release the stressors of their life without feeling overly exposed. It’s like wearing a mask that is telling their story for them.”

Shernett Edwards, Princess and Majesty’s mother, believes that Footlights prepared the girls for this experience by providing a nurturing environment under Mauldin’s strict, empowering leadership. It was through the Footlights staff that the family was first made aware of the opportunity with Hartford Stage.

“Being a part of Footlights’ end-of-year show was very helpful in preparing for their auditions,” Edwards explained. “I’m most looking forward to them not only having a positive experience and enjoying themselves but being a part of a very creative group of people and understanding the work that goes into making a production great.”