Shenango drama club to present 'How the Grouch Saved Christmas' Dec. 4-6

SHARON, Pa. — The Penn State Shenango Drama Club will be presenting an original musical, "How the Grouch Saved Christmas," designed to appeal to children of all ages the weekend of Dec. 4-6. The show playfully weaves pop cultural references to The Minions, Star Wars, princesses, Legos, and much more into a story that is ultimately heartwarming. The musical will launch with an evening performance at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4, in the Penn State Shenango Auditorium, located at 147 Shenango Ave. in Sharon (across from the Sharon Post Office). There will also be two matinee performances at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 and 6.

The show blends fantasy, comedy and heart to make this a perfect Christmas treat for the whole family. Set in a toy store at Christmas, the musical focuses on the magic of Christmas and the desire of families to get together and share love and joy, even if the holiday now seems to start at Halloween.

As the big day draws closer, more and more toys are on display in the store, and they begin to forge friendships among themselves. Foremost among these are Luke Starwalker (Andrew Zitko), Dirk Vatter (Alijah Douglas), and Princess Charlotta (Ashley Balas). All of the toys in the store desire to go to boys and girls who will make them part of their families. A stuffed dog named Clarence (the “grouch,” played by Paula Miles) urges the others not to get their hopes up too high, for he was bought the year before and then returned to the store somewhat the worse for wear. The longer they go unsold, the more the toys realize that they are not the brand-name toys that everybody seems to want. But thanks to Clarence and, of course, Santa, they all ultimately have a home by Christmas.

The lyrics and dialogue for "How the Grouch Saved Christmas" were written by Jeanne Zingale, instructor in theatre and communication, and four students — Katherine Shacklock, Peggy Murphy, Joyce Howard, and Maika Taladua — this past summer.

The musical accompaniment on the piano is provided by Liz Howe of West Middlesex. After the show, an interactive period is planned that will include complimentary snacks, the opportunity to talk to and take a picture with Santa Claus, and an informal sing-along with some well-loved holiday songs. Admission is $8 for adults; $7 for students and senior citizens; and children 4 and under are free, with $1 off any paid admission with the donation of a nonperishable item for the Community Food Warehouse. All children under age 12 must be accompanied by an adult. All admissions are sold at the door and are general admission seating.

A basket raffle with more than 40 wonderful prizes and a 50/50 drawing will also be conducted during the run of the show, with proceeds going to the Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County.

For more information and special arrangements for groups of 10 or more, contact the Office of Student Affairs at 724-983-2836.