Friday, November 13, 2009

Babes in Toyland Press Release

When the Barnstable High School Drama Club put on A Christmas Carol last year, many passages stuck in the memory of the students, but one passage resonated with them more than any other. It occurs early in the play, when Scrooge is visited by two solicitors. When he asks them why they are asking for a donation for the needy at Christmas, one of them responds, “It is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt.” This year, a year when Want will be more keenly felt than ever, the Drama Club will be using its upcoming production of Babes in Toyland to contribute to two charitable causes.

The set from Babes in Toyland, which will cost about $2,000 in materials when completed, will be donated to The Cape Codder Hotel, where it will be used as part of their Enchanted Village. Last year visitors to the Enchanted Village donated over $10,000 in food, toys, and gift cards to Independence House. In addition, Drama Club members will also appear each weekend of the Enchanted Village costumed as Dickens-era carolers, as they have for the past seven years, to help guests and visitors get into the holiday spirit.

Babes in Toyland will also be helping the Cape Cod Hospital Auxiliary raise money for the third year in a row. The Drama Club will be donating the profits from the Dec 21 matinee to the Auxiliary. As an added treat, Hospital Regional Marketing Director Van Northcross will be playing the part of Old King Cole during that matinee performance.

“It’s all about the community in which you live.” says John Sullivan, Drama Club advisor and director of Babes in Toyland. “I try to instill in the club members (totaling over 150) a sense of belonging to a community and helping out whenever we can.”

This isn’t the first time the Drama Club has worked with the community to help raise money for charitable causes. Since its inception the club has also worked with The March of Dimes telethons, the Diabetes Foundation, Housing Assistance corporation, Big Brothers and Sisters of the Cape and the Islands, Champ House, Independence House and many others.

This summer The Drama Club even helped raise money for the Barnstable school system. Sullivan designed the layout for the 9-hole mini-golf course on Main Street in Hyannis and created with his students a 30-foot-long, 14-foot -tall sea serpent, which eventually captured the award for the favorite hole on the course. The attraction helped raise over $15,000, which was recently allocated to different enrichment programs throughout the school system.

RecentlyThe Drama Club donated $6,500 for a large marble fountain which serves as a centerpiece in Barnstable High School’s Memorial Garden, located in the Cobb Astro Park. The Drama Club was proud to help out this important school project, to which many people throughout the community have donated time, effort and materials, to honor deceased Barnstable students and staff.

Babes in Toyland has long been a favorite of the BHS Drama Club. Written in 1903 by Victor Herbert, the operetta has been made into numerous motion pictures, most famously asThe March of the Wooden Soldiers (1933), which featured Laurel and Hardy, and as Walt Disney’s Babes in Toyland (1962). “I’ve always considered Babes in Toyland the ultimate in holiday entertainment,” said Sullivan. “You’ve got Santa Claus, the elves, a befuddled toymaker, Bo-Peep and her sheep, a pair of not-so-sharp funny characters and the classic melodrama villain, the evil Mr. Barnaby. And of course, everybody’s most feared pack of bad guys, the Bogeymen.”

When Sullivan adapted the show for the Drama Club back in 1984, he took out what he calls “the slower songs, the ones that make kids squirm,” and added a few surprises, including the band of heroic policemen from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance led by Groucho Marx, complete with pith helmet and cigar.

Sullivan also notes that in that first production of Babes in Toyland, Barnaby was played by BHS alum Neal McDonough, seen most recently on ABC’s Desperate Housewives. “Once a bad guy, always a bad guy, I guess,” mused Sullivan.

Babes in Toyland is a fun-filled show for all ages and a perfect way not just to welcome in the holiday season, but to contribute to those in need. Babes in Toyland opens November 20 at 7 PM with shows on November 21st at 2 PM and 7 PM, November 22 at 2 PM, November 27 at 7 PM, November 28 at 2 PM and 7 PM and November 29th at 2 PM. All seats are $10. For reservations, call (508) 771-6246.

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