The Westfield High Children's Theater will present a holiday show, Thursday-Friday, Dec. 18-19, at 10 a.m. both days in the school theater. Tickets are $2 in advance and $3 at the door; call 703-488-6430.
The funny and colorful show consists of "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," a rendition of "The Night Before Christmas" and a three-person version of "It's a Wonderful Life," in 10 minutes, starring Kevin Knickerbocker, Joe Schumacher and Reaves McElveen.
"It's our third year doing it," said Westfield drama director Scott Pafumi. "It's a chance for newer and younger students of the theater program to get involved and for senior students to take on the role of director."
Ashley Ford and Katy Duncan are co-directors of "Grinch," and Suzanna Ramsey is stage manager. "The job of the director is to get all the props and all the lights," said Ford, 17, a senior. She's also in charge of costumes, scheduling rehearsals and directing the cast during rehearsals.
"I love it," she said. "I've been in the 'Grinch' the past two years as Cindy Lou Who and as the narrator." Now, as director, she said, "I like getting my own vision across and adding new things to it — for example, townspeople and some improv dialogue."
Ford says children will especially enjoy the show. "The actors make big motions and interact with the kids," she said. "I think they'll have a good time; and with 'The Night Before Christmas' and 'It's a Wonderful Life,' they'll have a nice variety."
SENIOR MEGAN HENRY, 17, narrates the story of the Grinch. "I've never done the 'Grinch' before, but it's a cute story and is fun to be in because everyone knows it," she said. "Little kids will love it. It's a familiar story, but we're adding some more lines to it. And it's not like someone reading a story to kids, but like someone showing and acting out a story to them."
Freshman Sarah Pike, 14, plays Suzie-Q Curly-Q Who. "I announce myself to the audience as Suzie-Q Curly-Q Who and pull down my curls," she said. "I also have a headband that has two candy canes."
She's enjoying her role, too. "It's great to be able to show animation, and I know the kids will love it," she said. "But at the same time, it's a small-enough role that I won't be worried about missing a cue."
Senior David Lewis, 18, plays the Grinch. "I'm sort of a classic, with a mean, Ebenezer Scrooge aspect," he explained. "Other people are having a good time with Christmas, but I'm not — which makes me more unhappy. So I steal Christmas from all the Whos in the village and expect them to be as miserable as I am — when, in fact, they still have a good Christmas and good cheer without the presents. Then I realize it's not about that."
He also relishes his part. "I really enjoy being able to fit into somebody else's shoes, take on another role and have fun with it," he said. It's kind of a release, and I like entertaining the audience and bringing some cheer to the children."
Lewis said the toughest part is making the time for rehearsals. Track season is just starting, and he's a pole vaulter. But he says the play is a great way to have fun, himself, while others have fun watching him. "I think it'll be great," he said. "It's coming together really well. Kids will have a terrific time and enjoy seeing the story of the Grinch."
Playing Max, the Grinch's dog, is sophomore Ryan "Smelly" Day, 15. (And, yes, he's quite proud of his nickname). He describes Max as a "humanoid" dog — not totally human or canine. "I do a lot of human things, but like a dog, on all fours, with my tongue sticking out," said Day.
"I HELP CARRY everything the Grinch gathers from the Whos, and it's really heavy," he continued. "The Grinch puts antlers on my head to make me look like a reindeer, and I have to climb 3,000 feet up the mountain to eradicate the toys."
Day said his role is lots of fun — "except my legs start to hurt, after awhile." But he enjoys acting with Lewis and getting to do "pretty much whatever I want to do, on stage, while everybody else is talking."
The hardest part, he said, is when he has to become a chimney through which the Grinch passes the toys. "I have to make really loud grunting noises that are hard on my throat," he said. "It's for laughs." He, too, is happy to be part of the holiday show. Said Day: "It's really cool that we can put this on for the children, and I hope I can give them a good laugh."
Jon Lawlor and Derek Rommel are the student directors of "The Night Before Christmas," and junior Michelle Polera, 16, is one of four narrators; the others are Barry Armbruster, Rachel Silver and Brian Randall.
"We each read parts of the poem and others act it out," said Polera. "I think it's going to be very funny. Younger kids will understand it, but it'll also be amusing for the adults to watch."