'Christmas Carol' a Success

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The cast and crew of "A Christmas Carol" take their final bows after the December 11 performance at the Shuck Recital Hall.

An extraordinary group of people recently proved they have what it takes to capture the heart of an audience during their performance of "A Christmas Carol."

"It was a wonderful event on a gray Saturday afternoon to put the audience in a Christmas spirit," said Cape Girardeau Mayor Harry Rediger.

Rediger and his wife were among the more than 200 audience members who witnessed the theatrical debut of members of Project Stage Light, the new cultural arts program for children and adults with special needs, sponsored by the Association for persons with Intellectual Disabilities (AID), in conjunction with VIP.

"I had no idea that such a production was in place," Rediger said. "I'm overwhelmed."

The mayor even presented a rose at the end of the play to Billy Guth, one of the actors. Billy, who played the Ghost of Christmas Past, requested the attendance of the mayor and was overjoyed when he saw the dignitary in the crowd.

Billy's father, Bill Guth, was in the audience and commented that he and his wife "were floored" that the mayor presented the rose to their son.

As for the production, "I thought it was wonderful," Bill Guth said. "I had to keep swallowing that lump in my throat."'

Guth continued to say that the play exceeded his expectations and could see the excitement among the cast members.

Linda Mahy, sister-in-law to Janet Mahy, one of the phantoms in the play, agreed.

"I think the kids displayed a lot of confidence and a lot of zeal," she noted.

Mahy and her husband, Tom, were not surprised that Janet wanted to be a part of the play, as she would not turn down an opportunity to spend time with her friends, Linda Mahy noted.

On the other hand, Melissa McNeely was stunned to get an invitation to the play from her brother, Rodney King, who played the young Ebenezer Scrooge, but was happy to see him step out of his comfort zone.

Rodney's father, Richard King, added to McNeely's astonishment noting that he never wanted to be in the public eye.

"VIP has really changed that," Richard King said.

As for the future of Project Stage Light, one thing is certain, there is a definite fan base and support group growing.

"We've been blessed from the beginning," said Meagan Edmonds, director of the play, as she thanked the audience. "We are having the time of our lives."

And while Edmonds has continuously praised others for their help in making the production become a reality, the director is definitely receiving her share of compliments as well.

Linda Mahy, along with many other family members of the cast, had only good things to say about Meagan before and after the performance.

"I think she has a genuine heart to see that these kids shine," Mahy said.

Additional theater and cultural arts opportunities, such as art and music programs, are slated for development next year. If you, or someone you know, is developmentally disabled and is interested in participating in Project Stage Light, please contact Lori at 573-334-1166 for more information.

If you are interested in volunteering as a peer mentor, guiding a performer through the rehearsals and performances planned for next year, please contact us. Mentors of all ages are needed. To find out more information, our new website currently under construction, is located at www.vipindustries.com/AID.

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