Christmas Belles, a Ganado Townhall play
By Millie Diaz
They say laughter is the best medicine, and the cast of Ganado Townhall Players in the production of Christmas Belles will make you laugh.
The story of Christmas Belles, a “southern-fried yuletide comedy,” revolves around three Futrelle sisters in the fictional town of Fayro, Texas. The sisters, Honey Raye and Frankie, played by Holly Tyler and Sarah Tupa, with the help of other Fayro residents, attempt to debut a Christmas play titled Bethlehem-a-looza, but like in show business, nothing goes as planned, and as a spectator, you’ll be glad plenty of hitches get in the way.
Santa Claus, played by Ganado Mayor Clinton Tegeler, has kidney stones, and his pregnant wife Frankie has been holding in more than twins – she’s got a secret, too. The stress is heightened when one of sisters, Twink, played by Jessica Coleman, gets leave from jail to attend the play and has a slightly different agenda than the others.
Hilarity ensues, as they say.
Christmas Belles has a healthy cast of 12, but the majority of scenes highlight duos, trios and sometimes monologues that allow the actors to shine. Every character lives up to their purpose, and even when the entire cast is onstage, it doesn’t overcrowd your senses.
The scenes make good use of the stage width in the Ganado auditorium, and the backstage is elevated at just the right angle for depth to be seen whether you have a front-row seat or a back-row one. The lighting and curtains, coordinated by Virgil Knowlton and Alex Campuzano, worked overtime and were well-maneuvered to set the ambiance and the tone of conversation during any given moment.
Jonel Knuppel, playing the haughty Patsy Price, was the biggest scene-stealer for all the right reasons, and the portrayal of Geneva Musgrave, played by Bonnie Reeves, is spot on from head to toe – even her hairstyle fits her character perfectly. Christian Palacios, who played Justin Waverly, proved why he earned numerous Best Actor awards in One-Act Play his senior year of high school; Coleman truly lived up to her maiden name of Ham; and the character of John Curtis was made for William Reeves.
Oh, and did you know Elvis ends up in the building?
The southern drawl was so thick you were inclined to speak in an exaggerated southern accent for hours after the play, and it made you wish the town of Fayro was in Jackson County. Shirley Schmitt’s directing efforts were once again top notch and it paid off in spades.
Ganado’s Townhall Players rendition of Christmas Belles does not disappoint in laughs or story, and honestly speaking, it could get the grumpiest of Scrooges in the holiday spirit.
The play will run for one more week, on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 9-10, at 7:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. respectively. Tickets can be purchased at the door or from any cast member or executive committee for $10.