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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : entertainment May 22, 2015

12/5/2012 10:02:00 PM
Does Santa exist? Find out in 'Yes, Virginia' - the musical
Courtesy photoMiriam the librarian (Olivia Keating) speaks with Virginia (Makenna Gallus) in a scene from
Courtesy photo

Miriam the librarian (Olivia Keating) speaks with Virginia (Makenna Gallus) in a scene from "Yes, Virginia," a musical version of the famous true story about a little girl who wrote to a newspaper editor asking if Santa Claus really exists. The Park Avenue Theater will present "Yes, Virginia" next weekend at Trinity Presbyterian Church.
Special to the Courier

The famous true story of the innocence and wonder behind a little girl's letter to the editor back in 1897 will come to life in the Christmas musical "Yes, Virginia," in a performance at 7 p.m. on Dec. 13, 14 and 15 by the Park Avenue Theater at Trinity Presbyterian Church.

When 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote her letter to the New York Sun asking if there really were a Santa Claus, it prompted an eloquent response from veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church. In fact, his poetic words back to her have become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial.

"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus," Church wrote. "He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy."

The editorial response touched many people, and recognition followed Virginia for the rest of her life. The story was compiled in a children's book, made into a movie and now a musical. Macy's Department Store owns the rights to the musical and partners with Make-A-Wish Foundation to donate $1 for every letter written to Santa they receive. Park Avenue Theater is collecting stamped letters to Santa this year and will bundle them up and send them to Macy's to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"We feel blessed to have found the script to such a beautiful, true story," said Joanne Robertson, director of the Park Avenue Theater musical.

The production's lead, Virginia, is played by Makenna Gallus, 10, who "is a little girl with a big voice," Robertson said. Twenty children make up the cast and "are just as strong and have created some very entertaining characters."

"Yes, Virginia" will entertain the audiences with singing and dancing, catchy and heart-felt tunes, sweet soft ballads and duets, she said. The play "encompasses the essence of Christmas, the wonderment of childhood, and goes hand-in-hand with the story of Jesus' birth, which, after all, is the truest Christmas story of all."

Tickets are $10 for adults, $3 for children 12 and under and are available in advance at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 630 Park Ave., or at the door.

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