‘Tis The Season For Surprises

The elves celebrate in song as Mr. and Mrs. Claus enter the stage during rehearsal of “Christmas Is. . .” on Nov. 29 at the Haugh Performing Arts Center. By Justin Izuhara/ Clarion

For seven shows over three weeks, the cast and crew of the annual “Christmas Is…” performance has changed the Haugh Performing Arts Center into a Christmas wonderland.

Although the name has stayed the same, Citrus College’s “Christmas Is…” takes on a new storyline each year.
This year the Visual and Performing Arts Department takes audience members to a land called Elflandia and follows a young apprentice who wants to be an elf. In the process, the apprentice learns life lessons and how to follow his dreams while staying in the holiday spirit.

As the plot changes each year, so does the set design. Stage manager Karen Taulbee said they confirm the story idea by March and are creating the set shortly after. By the time December is here, the props and set are nearly complete.

Many of the last minute touches include putting snow on stage props and hanging additional ornaments.
Set designer John Patrick said seeing the audiences reaction to the set is what he enjoys the most even after 15 years of creating the magic behind “Christmas Is….”

Patrick goes out of his way to save a special secret for each set he has designed over those past 15 years for “Christmas Is…”
“Every set that John Patrick designs he always puts a pineapple,” Taulbee said. “He made it along time ago for something and ever since he has put the pineapple in every set he has designed.”

The pineapple is hidden in the extravagant movable set design. Patrick does this every year in hopes an audience member catches a glimpse of the pineapple, which can be difficult with the bright lights, colors and set changes.

Among other staples of the “Christmas Is…” set design is the Christmas tree. The tree will make its annual appearance during the show, but what makes the christmas tree special is the amount of lights circling the giant fake tree.

“The tree has over a mile and a half of lights,” Taulbee said. It is a running joke that the christmas tree is just there to keep shape for the lights.

Production is in full swing and this year the cast and crew have more time to make extra tweaks to the show due to time changes of other holiday performances.

With one less christmas performance happening at Citrus, the cast and crew have more time to make adjustments in between the seven shows.

“It’s a luxury,” Taulbee said. “Having the week in between gives us some time to fix a few things and get things back to running order. We get that extra breathing room.”

This years show will give the audience a magical holiday experience with unique costumes, beautiful props and catchy music.
Music major John Pham, who will be singing in the show with the Citrus Concert Choir, said he can’t wait to see the audiences reaction. “(I am looking forward to) doing a good job and hearing the audience’s roar from enjoying our performance,” Pham said.

The annual production brings holiday magic the whole family can enjoy.
The show will be at 2 p.m. Dec. 9, 10, 17 and at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Haugh Performing Arts Center. Presale Tickets are $30/25/20, student and seniors, $28/23/18 and 16 & under, $15/12/10. All tickets are $30 at the door.



Communications major and first year staff writer for the Citrus College Clarion who loves to cover sporting events.