The Drama Enrichment Program's show "Christmas Magic" is back to fill Jamestown with the spirit of the holidays.
The 12th annual "Christmas Magic" show will be performed at the Reg Lenna Civic Center on Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m.
According to Michele Constantino, director, the show started out fairly small with singers and dancers from Jamestown High School at an area church.
A Victorian backdrop from the 2011 production of “Christmas Magic” is shown.
"Since that show we have raised the bar every year, adding new acts, sets and costumes and extending our pool of performers to all of Chautauqua County," said Constantino. "We have appeared at many venues, but now call the Reg Lenna Civic Center our home base."
The show features the DEP Rockettes, a corps of dancers who perform high kicking numbers in fabulous costumes. And, the backdrops are rented from Backdrops Beautiful in Los Angeles.
This year's show will also feature special guest Ashley Eck, who is attending SUNY Brockport. She is a Chautauqua County teen in the Miss New York Teen USA 2013 pageant. She will be singing "I'll be Home for Christmas" and will also be dancing as one of the DEP Rockettes.
A new addition to this year's program is Kortney Constantino-Young from the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet's "Nutcracker" who will perform "Sugar Plum Fairy" as well as dancing with the DEP Rockettes.
"The 'Sugar Plum Fairy' from the 'Nutcracker' should be very exciting," said Constantino. "Kortney is a pre-professional ballerina who studies under Monika Alch from CRYB. She will be performing this number also in the 'Nutcracker' for the school performances, and she will be the 'Snow Queen' for the public performances."
A group of 20 elementary students will present "A Who's Christmas," and also a "North Pole Toy Shop." And, LaShawnna Hunter returns to Jamestown from Notre Dame College to sing some gospel Christmas tunes.
The show also brings back some of the aspects that audiences enjoyed from previous performances including professional dancer Brett Fallon, of Erie. Act II will bring dueling tap dancing Santas and the Broadway tapping style of Fallon. Toria Triscari, a local dancer who danced with Fallon a few years ago in a "Dueling Santa's" number will also make a comeback.
"Christmas Magic" will give the audience a chance to see Jordan and Kira Spencer perform a duet. The DEP Rockettes will perform "I Want To Be A Rockette," and a rendition of "White Christmas," which was created last year. And, Scott Costantini, former JHS and DEP student who is now a teacher, will return as host and narrator.
"Costantini has a great voice and a genuine and relaxed approach to performance," said Constantino. "Sierra Cuellar, another former DEP student now studying Musical Theater Performance at SUNY Fredonia, will bring her perky high energy Broadway style to her renditions of 'Baby It's Cold Outside' with Scott, and also 'Let It Snow.' And, 'White Christmas' is absolutely spectacular with the costumed DEP Rockettes framing the handsome Scott Costantini."
Dennis Webster will return to the stage to read "T'was the Night Before Christmas" to a gathering of children from the audience. And, Austin Harmon, newcomer, will sing "Believe" from "Polar Express" to the children.
With any production, there are always immense challenges that must be overcome, but, according to Constantino, the blessings far outweigh the challenges.
"Some of the young children are so shy when they come in that they can hardly say their name out loud in front of cast members," said Constantino. "By the end of the process, they are smiling, laughing out loud, dancing and being in the moment. I ask them to see in their mind's eye where they are supposed to be in the scene. They love to go there, and it is amazing to watch them. It is always miraculous to watch the reaction of the young students to the performances of the professionals. It is a great mentoring process."
Proceeds from the event will serve to pay for expenses of the show and will also benefit the Western New York Kidney Connection.
"We need to bring in enough money to help pay for our summer programming," said Constantino.
The DEP provides area residents with immersion programming in the arts. Students involved in the program benefit from growth in self-esteem, confidence, critical thinking and communication skills. And, every participant is required to perform in front of an audience on the stage of the Reg Lenna Civic Center.
"Christmas Magic" is, in part, made possible through grants received from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.
Pre-sale tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, $5 for children, and $30 for a family with parents and school-aged children. At the door they are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, $5 for children, and $35 for a family. Patron tickets are also available to anyone wanting prime orchestra or loge seating. Those seats start at $20 and go up as high as $50 depending on extra "perks" that are requested. Refreshments and snacks are given to all patrons, and some receive tickets for a basket drawing.
"There is no other show like this in the area, and I am hoping that people support this venue," said Constantino. "You would have to go to Shea's in Buffalo to see this type of show. The Reg Lenna Civic Center is a community jewel, and we are hoping that everyone turns out for 'Christmas Magic.' It truly does have something for everyone from classical, to jazz, to traditional, to just plain crazy."