Welcome the holidays with 'Dear Santa'

The cast for the Lemon Bay Playhouse production of “Dear Santa” are: seated, Kathi Faulkner (Octavia), Daniel Cole (Santa) and Cheryl Hastings (Lulu Fllapdoodle and stage manager). Standing: Henry Reisinger Jr. (Bozidar), Mike Levasseur (Algernon), Bob LaSalle (director) and Alisia Perez (Kit).

It’s that time of year, and Santa, along with his faithful staff and jolly elves, are in trouble. He needs a new sleigh and more supplies. If you, your kids or your grandkids want to know what happens next, plan to attend “Dear Santa,” a play by Norm Foster. It’s taking place from Nov. 28-Dec. 16 at Englewood’s Lemon Bay Playhouse, and director Bob LaSalle plans to entertain audiences with a pre-show holiday music video.

“Although the script requires 22 youngsters to play as elves, it’s impossible to fit that many kids on our stage, so I improvised by recording the voices of youngsters attending our summer Lemon Drops Theater classes. Throughout the play, elves will be heard interacting with Santa’s staff as they attempt to restore order,” explained LaSalle.

Daniel Cole, as Santa, believe that adults will enjoy the play even more than youngsters because much of the dialogue alludes to childhood experiences that they may remember in a special way. A retired teacher of many diverse subjects, Cole has acted in plays and dinner theaters off and on for years.

“Memorizing lines is a great brain exercise. Last year I acted in ‘A Christmas Story’ at the Venice Theatre,” said Cole. Henry Reisinger Jr. portrays the Russian accented, Bozidar, one of Santa’s assistants whose comical malapropisms add to the fun. Reisinger has acquired what he calls the “acting itch.”

In the past he performed in “The Velvetine Rabbit.” Alisia Perez, a 16 year old junior at Lemon Bay High is acting as Kit, a teenaged stowaway from Canada. She’s acted in Lemon Drop Theater productions for four years and plans on pursuing an acting career.

Mike Levasseur, as Algernon, Santa’s Chief of Staff, must keep elves and staff on track. He’s a veteran actor who worked for 22 years as a disc jockey in Massachusetts before relocating to Florida where he performed roles in “Murder at Howard Johnsons” and “I Want to be in Pictures.”

Although she works full-time in the Sarasota County School System, Kathy Faulkner is passionate about acting. In “Dear Santa” she’s Octavia, a dizzy blonde with a crush on Algernon. Faulkner’s past performances include “2.5 Minute Ride,” a one woman show, and “The Crucible,” where she portrayed Ann Putnam.

Cheryl Hastings, the play’s stage manager, will act as sales rep, Lu Lu Flapdoodle. Problems arise when Santa refuses to lease a modern jet-propelled sleigh. How can he fly without reindeer, you might ask.

Tickets for Lemon Bay Playhouse’s “Dear Santa” taking place from Nov. 28-Dec. 16, at 96 W. Dearborn Street, Englewood, cost $20 for adults, $14 for students, and $5 for children under 12. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sundays.

A LBP one-time performance fundraiser for New Paradigm of Catholic Charities Transitional Housing Program is scheduled for Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. Information and tickets are available online at www.lemonbayplayhouse.com or by calling 941-475-6756.

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