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Christmas Spectacular takes stage Dec. 9-12

The Historic Roxy Theatre’s annual Christmas Spectacular will kick off Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. Shows will also be offered Dec. 10 at 7 p.m., Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Dec. 12 at 2 p.m.

The show is described by coordinators as a Broadway-style musical featuring a cast of elementary, high school and college students, along with adults, performing to many Christmas classics.

“This will be a fantastic production that is guaranteed to get you into the spirit of Christmas,” said Franklin County Arts and Humanities president Susie Malone. “The story, backdrop, scenery, props and costumes are all very memorable.”

The show features upbeat Christmas favorites, including “Hot Chocolate” and “It’s a Marshmallow World.” The finale includes a manger scene featuring “The Holiest of Nights,” written and performed by Denise Otis Davis, a Christian singer, songwriter and former Miss Alabama, originally from Russellville.

The production’s director and coordinator, Hillary Malone Hall, also wrote the story. “This is our second time to do the show,” said Hall. “What I’m looking forward to the most is the faces of the children as they watch. Seeing Christmas through their eyes makes it all worthwhile.

“There’s a lot of music and dancing,” Hall added, “and we’ve had a sell-out crowd on all of our previous performances. It’s going to be a fun time for everyone.”

The story spotlights Fred, a mischievous elf who accidentally boards the North Pole Express, which travels from city to city in North America. He gets involved with each city’s holiday celebration through dancing, singing and comedy.

“As an elf, Fred has always believed Christmas was all about Santa; however, in the end, he learns about the real reason for the season,” explained Hall.

Avery Guinn, a music student at Northwest-Shoals Community College who has had a number of roles in Shoals-area productions, plays the lead role of Fred the Elf.

“Working on the Christmas Spectacular has really been wonderful,” said Guinn. “It’s always a fun experience getting to perform in this show.

“Everyone in it wants to be there, and it shows. I played this role when we did the first show in 2019, and I’ve made several friends along the way,” added Guinn, a 2021 Russellville High School graduate. “Hillary is a wonderful director, and the show is filled with very energetic people who love what they’re doing, and that tells me we’re going to have a great show.”

Phil Campbell High School teacher Jonathan Grimes is doing set construction and serving as technical director. “We have a taxi cab and a sleigh, and we also have a new piece this year,” said Grimes. “I can’t wait for everyone to see it. We’re looking forward to getting to hold the show again after having to skip last year.”

Ashley Grimes, who is in charge of costumes, said this year’s shows will feature new costumes along with returning favorites.

“I think this show provides a good opportunity for our community to enjoy an evening together,” she said. “Two of my children are in the show, and they’re excited to be part of it.”

University of North Alabama student Destiny Hatton, another 2021 RHS graduate, is serving as the show’s choreographer. “I’ve choreographed dances for the Russellville cheerleaders and for my old dance studio, but getting the opportunity to work on such a big show has been an enjoyable challenge,” said Hatton. “Everyone in it is fun to work with, and I’m so excited I was asked to help in this capacity.”

“We’re using inspiration from Mardi Gras,” said 10th-grade dancer Macey Welborn. “I’m going to be a feather dancer, a Christmas vacation dancer and a Roxyette. It’s my second year to be in the show, and I love getting to make so many wonderful memories, both from being with friends and through learning a lot about dance and different techniques.

“When it’s all said and done, I think the show brings a lot of good cheer to the community. It’s a terrific feeling to see so many happy children.”

Another dancer, 14-year-old Addyson Farris, is also performing for the second time. “I love getting to dress up and making new friends,” said Farris. “This is my first year dancing with a partner, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“Our show brings people together. Everybody can come out and watch it and have a good time.”

“We’re going to have a wonderful time of it,” agreed Willodean Davis, who will play Aunt Bethany in the Christmas vacation portion of the show. “We will entertain you. It will be a night full of fun, and I think it will be a truly memorable experience for everyone.”

Tickets are on sale and can be purchased Sunday afternoons at the Roxy from 1-3 p.m.; at the door on the day of the show, starting one hour prior to showtime, as long as there are still seats available; or with Venmo through The Roxy’s Christmas Spectacular Facebook Messenger. The Roxy will also be staging a few shows for school groups.

All tickets are for reserved seating, and the cost is $10 for Orchestra and $15 for Mezzanine.