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Back Stage

The Gift of the Magi

Cast from Gift of the Magi

Cast from Gift of the Magi

An exciting, albeit, hectic time at the Whaley House during the production of the musical "Gift of the Magi" was an interesting experience and enlightening glimpse into the world of theater. I was most impressed with the crew, all professionals who donated their time and talents. The double cast of young actors, Spencer Moses, Christopher Redding, Stephanie Saunders, and Susan Stuber, seemed, to this novice bystander, to metamorphise into their characters, changing their pace and style as directed by Welton Jones.

Recently retired from the San Diego Union-Tribune after 35 years, Welton threw himself into the task at hand and seemed to relish every moment. With his wife Holly at the piano providing the musical direction for the show, and long-time friends Ron Ray, who adapted the story, Tony Wood as stage manager, and Roger Henderson providing the professional lighting system, Welton was in his element. Erik Hanson was responsible for building the authentic raked stage for the museum room and is also a member of the theater committee. Tony Kutowski and his assistents, Ben Zamora and Ben Nixon, provided further set design along with Mary Jones, Charley Bast and Hobie Esper as scenic artists.

The show relied much on costumes and wigs, to this end, wigmaster Peter Herman, was both generous and patient with his time and talent. His wig work, an essential prop for the play, was fabulous. Ingrid Helton's costume work was, as expected, great. She is well-known throughout both the theater and the historic reenactment crowds. Ingrid also made the front curtain which was flanked by period 19th century draperies. SOHO volunteers and staff learned all about theater house management rules, protocol, traditions and superstition of this magical world. The audience chamber itself is in the process of restoration, and having it ready for opening night was due to great effort by Executive Director, Bruce Coons, Sandé Lollis, Mary Jones, Autumn Acker, Ingrid Helton and SOHO President, Erik Hanson.

The period paint colors, draperies, and raked stage created an ambiance that was unmistakably frontier town theater. Veteran actor, Ron Ray, narrated the touching story with grace, wit, and style. We look forward to working with Ron again as he is very interested in bringing George Derby to live theater. Along with this lovely Christmas story of love and selflessness, the mix of museum and theater as living history was most well received, and the four song prologue of early California music was a fitting and educational piece of show biz. Do you know what song was the number one hit in America in 1868? Come find out and sing along if you like. SOHO wishes to thank the entire theater cast and crew, and the SOHO volunteers, who's long hours and devotion to this historic venture made us all proud.

2001 - Volume 32, Issue 4

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Volunteer Profile: George Plum


A Very Whaley Halloween


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The Gift of the Magi Cast & Crew


Back Stage: The Gift of the Magi


Contributors to Success


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