TUHS cozies up to the holiday’s with new play

Tulare Union High School drama department presents “The Spirit of Christmas or The Story of Ernestina Scrooge,” a tale of a descendent of Ebenezer Scrooge who is visited by four spirits

TULARE – Tulare Union High School drama department celebrates the holiday season with a production that tells the story of what happened after Ebenezer Scrooge discovered his love for the Christmas season. 

TUHS prepares for the holiday season as their drama department gets ready to present “The Spirit of Christmas or The Story of Ernestina Scrooge” by Tom Fuller to the community. The group of students will perform several shows giving everyone a chance to participate. The show will be held in the Tulare Community Theatre on TUHS’ campus on the evenings of Dec. 7-9 at 7 p.m. with a Saturday matinee on Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the box office that opens one hour before each show.

“[This show] takes that Christmas classic and just modernizes it,” Jill Coyle, TUHS drama teacher and director said. “So I think everybody would enjoy it because it’s got a little bit of everything in it.”

“The Spirit of Christmas or The Story of Ernestina Scrooge,” is a modern adaptation of Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol.” Coyle said it follows the story of a descendent of Ebenezer Scrooge and her journey throughout the holiday season. 

Throughout the show, Ernestina Scrooge, played by Ivy Freeman, changes her selfish ways after being visited by four spirits: Joan Barley, her old business partner, played by Ava Mayo, the Ghost of Christmas Past, played by Amyee Taylor, the Ghost of Christmas Present, played by Mathew Parra and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come played by Elijah Bermudez. 

This heartwarming holiday play is for the entire family, reminding young and old the importance of keeping the spirit of Christmas in the audience’s hearts. Even though Tulare Union’s fall drama production typically takes place in December, the department does not usually do a Christmas production. This type of show is new for Coyle and her 25 drama students. 

Throughout the show, members of the choir will be caroling throughout scene changes, but Coyle said they plan to add more during intermission. Students can audition for a spot to carol or play an instrument during the show, and students from the TJUHSD choir might even make an appearance, including a student who will be playing Christmas music on the violin. 

“We are going all in on this Christmas theme,” Coyle said. 

Not only will TUHS be presenting a Christmas show in the fall, but as it turns out, Coyle hopes to present Mean Girls the Musical in the spring. Mean Girls the Musical also has bits of Christmas sprinkled throughout. 

 “I just never found [a Christmas show] that I liked,” Coyle said. “Then I’m doing Mean Girls in the spring, so how funny, now I’m doing two shows that revolve around Christmas [in one year].”

As of this year, the Tulare Joint Union High School District hired a new full time choir director, Kristen Pallas, for all the high schools. In the past few years the district has simply been without a choir, but is now back to fully functioning. Pallas goes to Tulare Union, Tulare Western and Mission Oak where in the past students have had to go to one school if they wanted to participate. In addition to running the choir program, Pallas helps out with each school’s advanced drama programs according to Coyle. Pallas will be helping Coyle with their spring musical. 

Following “The Spirit of Christmas or The Story of Ernestina Scrooge” the district wide choir will be hosting Carols by Candlelight concert also at the Tulare Community Theater, or TUHS auditorium. The event will include performances by the baritone choir, the treble choir and that concert choir. The concert will feature modern and classic holiday favorites, under the direction of Pallas and accompanied by Emily McIntosh.

The TJUHSD also hired a part time dance teacher this year, Georgia Crites. Coyle said she hopes she will be able to help the drama departments with choreography. She has created a dance team that consists of girls from Tulare Union, Tulare Western, Mission Oak and Sierra Vista.

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