Lively audience chatter died down as the lights dimmed inside Dan Pessano Theater while Clovis West drama students performed their last show of “Dad’s Christmas Miracle,” a delightful holiday comedy by Pat Cook.
Directed by Sandra Hahn, the light-hearted production was ideal with its holiday theme. It ran the last two days of November, followed by shows on Dec. 1, 7 and 8, including two matinees.
The plot centers on Connor Murphy, a boy of the 50s who desperately wants a go-kart for Christmas, and how he schemes to get it. Obstacles stand in the way of Murphy, who has his fair share of humorous interactions with friends and family throughout the show. Yuletide humor even involved a Greek chorus.
The stage was set up in an “avenue” style with seating on both sides of the stage, creating an intimate ambience. The audience enjoyed the play and felt engaged by the plot and performances.
“I know there’s a lot of dedication, they really work hard,” said Rebecca Stewart, mother of one of the actors.
Connor Murphy: Cole Nicholas
Miss McLaughlin: Kathyrn Andres
Neil Garner: Jason Fortner
Tater Taggart: Dante LeDonna
Dad: Jarred Olmstead
Mother: Claire Zante
Frank Murphy: Robert Budd
Jessica Murphy: Jordan Stewart
Madelyn: Andrea Ceron
Harriet: Dezi Heinz
How are the choices for high school plays made?
“School shows are chosen by the director and then approved by our learning director and principal,” said Hahn. “The five high schools at Clovis Unified School District are on a rotating slot system for shows at both the Mercedes Edwards Theater and the Dan Pessano Theater. Sometimes the director picks the show according to the allotted slot for the year. For example, I won’t get the December slot for another five years, so I chose to put on a holiday festive type of show.
“I also tend to pick a play that mirrors the current talent at our school. If you have a lot of girls or boys you might pick a show according to that. Sometimes I will choose to put on an area show and will pick a show that can accommodate younger students.
“Another reason to pick a certain show is based on when royalties for the show become available for high school productions and that is exactly why I picked “Mamma Mia!” for our musical this year. It opened on Broadway on Oct. 18, 2001, and I have been waiting ever since to put on that production.”
“Mamma Mia!” will run on April 25-27 and May 2-4, 2019, at the Mercedes Edwards Theater.