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SOL test scores: Mixed bag

Halifax makes the grade half of the time with passing rates, but dropoffs outnumber gains

Judge nixes lawsuit by motorsports instructor

Case dismissed after Wilborn contested firing

Jobless rate rises to 8.8 percent in July

Halifax County’s unemployment rate jumped from 8.3 percent in June to 8.8 percent in July. Over 900 people left the labor force, which numbered 15,974 in June, but fell to…

Sports

Comets fall in opener to Jefferson Forest

A quick, athletic Jefferson Forest squad proved too potent offensively for the Halifax County High School varsity football squad Friday night, speeding past the Comets, 50-30, in South Boston.

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A&E

A new holiday classic

SoVaNow.com / October 28, 2013
“Let’s go, people! We’ve only sixty days till Christmas, so let’s get a move on!” The opening lines of Ron Lytle’s ‘new old-fashioned’ holiday musical, “The Man Who Saved Christmas,” sound as if they are talking about those of us in the present time, but the time of this show is 1919, when America was involved in World War I. Halifax County Little Theatre’s fall musical tells a wonderful tale of hardship and love, of hope and determination. In addition, Little Theatre is proud to be selected as the presenter of the Virginia premiere of this show.

Director Kristin Berry and musical director Cheri Blackwell have been hard at work themselves for the past two months with their cast of “incredible vocal talent,” according to Berry. “We’re so excited to put some new faces on stage, or faces audiences haven’t seen in a long time. And this show is just so perfect for the holiday season.”

The story is based loosely on some actual events during World War I, when the government tried to cancel toy production in favor of arms manufacturing. Obviously, there would have been a lot of disappointed boys and girls. Toy factory owner A.C. Gilbert is determined to find a way to lobby Washington in order to save his company as well as Christmas.

Add some precocious children, a newspaper reporter determined to find a story, a secretary wanting to protect her job and her emotions, a conniving office worker, and some Washingtonians and toy factory workers, and it all adds up to a musical comedy with just the right amount of romance, suspense, comedy, and intrigue.

The show opens Nov. 15 and runs through Saturday, Nov. 30, at The Prizery. In addition to the cast of twenty-some will be a live musical ensemble composed of local music students and adults. The music has been reorchestrated just this fall by the composer, and Little Theatre has received the music almost literally “hot off the press!”

Playing toy manufacturer A.C. Gilbert is James Abbott, known locally for the beautiful sound of his voice. Victoria Palmer, new to Little Theatre, will portray his wife, Mary. They are taking care of their niece, Ellen, while her father is off at war. Gracie Berneche has been chosen to portray Ellen, and she and her friends play a pivotal role in exposing who is the bad guy and who is the good guy.

Creating the children’s roles are Easton Berry, Victoria Montes-Bradley, Jordan Carr, Mary McLaughlin, and Katherine White. Secretary to Mr. Gilbert is Tasha Dyer, and the determined reporter is played by her real-life husband, Scott. The sparks will fly between those two characters, compounded by the jealous office worker, portrayed by Jeremy Duffer.

Costume guru Ginny Bogart has been researching clothing styles of the war period, choreographer Pat Crew has been teaching dance steps to the ensemble, and Marshall Slayton and his crew of hard working men and women are already building and painting set pieces. Producer Andy Rice is handling all the technicalities of the show, and a whole lot of other people are coming together to make the show a success.

Tickets are already on sale at The Prizery at 572-8339, and season brochures are also available there and at the local libraries for Little Theatre’s entire season. For more information about the season or to request a brochure be mailed to you, contact Becky Donner at 572-2139.

But especially, make plans to see “The Man Who Saved Christmas.” It is sure to become a new holiday classic.


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