Holiday magic on stage

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Kelsey Theatre’s holiday entertainment lineup begins with ‘’Twas the Night Before Christmas

Kelsey Theatre offers family entertainment at affordable prices

By Anthony Stoeckert, Packet Media Group
   Kelsey Theatre wants to be your entertainment home for the holidays.
   The venue on the campus of Mercer County Community College is normally the home to community theater groups who perform Broadway musicals and plays. But during the holidays, the Kelsey stage will be alive with the return of its slate of family-friendly festive shows.
   First up is “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” which will be performed Dec. 6-8.
   ”It’s a musical,” says M. Kitty Getlik, Kelsey’s artistic director. “It’s about an hour and 15 minutes long, so it’s really meant for families, even the littlest ones will love it. It’s based on Clement Moore’s poem. It has singing and dancing, and even tap dancing reindeer.”
   And of course, the show features Santa Claus, who wishes everyone a merry Christmas, and meets with kids after the show.
   Ms. Getlik says Kelsey first presented “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” 16 years ago, but it wasn’t intended to become a regular holiday show.
   We didn’t know it would become a tradition, but it was so well received and everybody said, ‘Why don’t you do it again next year,’” Ms. Getlik says. “So we decided to do it again the next year, and we’ve just been doing it ever since.”
   Performances are Dec. 6, 7 p.m., Dec. 7, 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., and Dec. 8 at 2 and 4 p.m. Tickets cost $12, $10 seniors/students and children.
   New for the holidays this year is the “Annie the Movie Sing-Along,” which Kelsey will host Dec. 13-14. The movie will be shown with song lyrics subtitled on screen. Audience members are encouraged not only to sing along with the movie, but to dress up as their favorite characters, and participate in trivia and costume contests.
   ”Annie” isn’t a Christmas story, but the story does end on Christmas Eve. Audiences also will receive a participation bag with props to use during the movie.
   ”It’s kind of like ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ in a way, but for families,” Ms. Getlik says.
   Performances are set for Dec. 13 7 p.m. and Dec. 14, 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets cost $20, $18 seniors, $16 seniors/children.
   The holidays get a Latin flair when Kelsey presents “El Sueno: A Cultural Holiday Celebration,” Dec. 15, performances at 2 and 7 p.m.
   The show is performed by Alborada Spanish Dance Theatre.
   ”It’s their adaptation of the story of ‘The Nutcracker,’” Ms. Getlik says. “But instead of a nutcracker, it’s a matador. They incorporate all sorts of dances from gypsy flamenco, Spanish regional dances.”
   The show also features live music, including flamenco guitar. Tickets cost $18, $16 seniors, $14 students/children.
   Kelsey will wrap the holiday season with the New Jersey Youth Ballet’s narrated version of “The Nutcracker,” Dec. 20-22.
   ”It’s about an hour and 20 minutes or so long,” Ms. Getlik says. This “Nutcracker” is abridged so that it offers the most famous moments, and being accessible for kids. Narration helps make the story clear, according to Ms. Getlik.
   Performances begin Dec. 20 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 21 ad Dec. 22, at 1 and 4 p.m.
   Tickets cost $16, $14 seniors/students and children.
   Ms. Getlik says the goal is to offer family-friendly entertainment, and to be affordable.
   ”One of the things that’s important to me is to keep the prices as low as we can,” she says. “The economy is tight and things are tight for everybody, and as long as I can continue to keep the prices low (I will). These are very reasonable prices to come out and see a live with show with live music, and that’s important.”
   Kelsey Theatre is located on the campus of Mercer County Community College, 1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor. For more information, go to www.kelseyatmccc.org or call 609-570-3333.