These 4 plays of Christmas, Utah Valley gives to thee

December 2, 2017 GMT

’Twas a few weeks before Christmas across Utah County, and with Thanksgiving passed, Christmas shows were a bounty.

Each theater had prepped its best seasonal play, in hopes of bringing cheer to your holiday.

Classics and musicals are all in array, professionally done and now on display.

Orem’s Hale Center continues tradition, performing “A Christmas Carol” with hope as its mission.

The Lehi Arts Council boasts “It’s a Wonderful Life,” while the Covey’s “Plaid Tidings” with music is rife.

And don’t forget SCERA in your holiday stress, they’re playing “Miracle on 34th Street,” the musical, no less.

Find out some more about each holiday show, by taking some time to keep reading below.

Hale Center Theater Orem’s “A Christmas Carol”

“No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused.” – The ghost of Jacob Marley

On Nov. 25, the Hale Center Theater Orem opened its annual production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” welcoming back for the 20th time veteran actor Chris Brower in the miserly role of Ebenezer Scrooge.


The opening also marked the 19th year in a row actor Scott Healy has been in the production, as well as his 16th go-round in the lofty role of Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s deceased business partner who puts the wheels of redemption in motion for the bitter old man.

“Nobody is a lost cause,” Healy said of one of the biggest takeaways from the show.

And as to why he keeps coming back? “The story itself,” he said. “The story of redemption, the story of caring, the story of bringing out the Christmas spirit; bringing out the love that I think people inherently have for each other.”

Read a full feature on the production with insights from both actors playing Jacob Marley at, or by visiting

Lehi Arts Council’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”

“Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole …” – Clarence Oddbody

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to forget that simple things can make the biggest difference in the lives of those around us. It’s definitely a lesson lost on George Baily (played by Jake Hart) in the Lehi Arts Council stage production of the classic holiday film “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

In the show, it’s Christmas Eve, and Baily is contemplating ending his life when his guardian angel, Clarence Oddbody (Jim Murphy), is sent down to show him what the world would be like without him.

“Life sometimes comes with a handful of discouragement and a little bit of despair,” Murphy said. “This is a story about recognizing the good things in your life; focusing on them, being positive and making sure you’re counting your blessings every single day, regardless of the challenges you face.”


Though according to Murphy the show wasn’t popular at first, it’s grown to be a Christmas classic that shows every holiday season.

“It’s the story of a person who gave up everything for other people to fulfill his familial obligations and civil duty, and made the world a better place because of it,” Murphy said. “It’s something we all can do.”

Murphy has a strong background in local community theater, working with venues across the valley and bringing the magic of the stage to audiences of all ages. This show in particular, though, is one Murphy says carries valuable lessons for real life.

“It’s been, in a lot of ways, a reminder for me of the importance of reaching out to virtually everyone you come in contact with,” he said. “My life has been wonderful in so many ways and to actually be a character in a show that exemplifies that makes it easy to tap into.”

Covey Center for the Arts’ “Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings”

“It’s a yuletide, Plaid Christmas holiday show: Plaid Tidings!” – The Plaids

In the musical “Forever Plaid,” the lovable, deceased crooners Frankie, Smudge, Sparky and Jinx return to Earth to give one final, spectacular performance.

Now the classic characters are back, and on a mission to spread some holiday cheer.

“I don’t know anyone who has seen ‘Forever Plaid’ and doesn’t love it, and I think it’s because of the characters,” said “Plaid Tidings” director Skye Cummins. “In ‘Plaid Tidings,’ they return to Earth again, and as they forget themselves and focus on their mission to spread Christmas cheer, they overcome their individual insecurities and find peace and joy. The message of selfless giving is subtly woven in between hysterical bits, magical notes, phone calls from heaven, audience participation, and beautiful four-part harmony.

Skye Cummins and her husband, Ben, who serves as the music director for the show, have six boys at home, but, as former music, dance, theater majors at Brigham Young University, still make time for at least one show a year.

“We feel so lucky to get to work together doing what we love,” Skye said. “When we were asked to direct ‘Plaid Tidings,’ we had never seen it or read the script, but we knew we would love it because it combines two of our favorite things -- ‘Forever Plaid’ and Christmas.”

The show is packed start to finish with Christmas favorites presented in perfect harmony.

“Audiences will laugh out loud as the spirit of Christmas possesses (the Plaids) and they break out into the hip-hop number ‘Twuz the Nite B4 Christmas,’ ” Skye said. “You will enjoy the numbers reminiscent of the original production, like when the Plaids again perform the entire Ed Sullivan show in 3 minutes, 11 seconds, this time to the tune of ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas.’ You will melt at the incredibly tight harmonies in ‘Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire’ and ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.’ And you will leave a little more grateful for good friends, good music and the spirit of the season.”

SCERA Center for the Arts’ “Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical”

“If you can’t believe, if you can’t accept anything on faith, then you’re doomed for a life dominated by doubt.” – Kris Kringle

If you’re thinking it’s almost time to have the “Santa” conversation with your kids, well, maybe the SCERA Center for the Arts’ production of “Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical” would be a good place to start.

The musical is closely based on the storyline from the classic holiday film, and takes place in New York City where single mother Doris Walker (Natalie Merrill), is raising her daughter Susan (Lydia Oakeson) in a no-nonsense way. Fred Gaily (T.J. Thomas), is an ex-Marine who falls for Doris and wants to instill a little more magic into Susan’s life, so he introduces her to the Macy’s Santa Claus, a man who calls himself Kris Kringle (Arden Hopkin).

As the story progresses, Kringle, who insists he is the real Santa, is put on trial and must defend himself and the spirit of Christmas in the New York Supreme Court.

According to Hopkin, emeritus professor of voice at Brigham Young University, his role of Kris Kringle has blurred the lines between fantasy and reality in some really touching ways.

“At a film shoot … a family came through that had a number of children,” Hopkin said. “As they walked past, a 3-year-old riding in the stroller caught sight of me and her eyes got really big and wide. Her mouth started to turn into a grin like she recognized me, so I winked at her. She crawled out of her stroller and ran over to me. It was a really magical little moment standing there in the store.”

That isn’t the only time he’s been mistaken for Santa Claus, so, to add to the magic of the production, he’ll also be taking time to meet with kids after the show in the role of Santa.

With so much Christmas spirit packed into one show, Hopkin said he hopes those who come will suspend their disbelief for a few minutes and just appreciate the joy of the season.

“In kind of a jaded world, there’s still room for people to have faith and believe in people and hope in things,” he said. “I’m hoping people will come and suspend that stress of everyday life and come away thinking, ‘Yeah, magic still happens.’ ”