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Playhouse serves up holiday cheer
Christmas productions featured throughout December
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Forsyth County News

At a glance

* Sanders Family Christmas: 8 p.m. every Thursday through Saturday from Dec. 4-21, and 3 p.m. on Sundays

* A Classical Christmas: 8 p.m. Dec. 9

* Forever Christmas: 8 p.m. Dec. 16

* The Estes Brothers Band: 8 to 10 p.m. Dec. 31

* Contact: (770) 781-9178 or

The Cumming Playhouse is celebrating Christmas throughout December.

Festivities begin Thursday with "Sanders Family Christmas," a sequel to "Smoke on the Mountain," among the playhouse's most popular productions.

Seating is limited for the dozen performances, but Playhouse Director Linda Heard is prepared.

"We are putting chairs in the aisles for people that are begging to see it," she said. "We would encourage people who look at the Web site and see that it's sold out to still give us a call because in many cases we can create a place for them."

Heard said the production is so popular because "people have come to trust the Playright Production Company."

"People just know that it's going to be a good show," she said.

Heard said she's going to try something rare for the playhouse on Dec. 16, when two productions will use the stage during the same run.

During the performance of "Forever Christmas," the Cumming Playhouse Singers and Forsyth Wind Quintet will be "all over the 'Sanders Family Christmas' stage," she said.

"For the first time, the singers are going to be singing without using risers," she said.

Heard said it will be a challenge for both groups to use the same stage without interfering with either lighting or sound.
But after seeing the partnership, she said, "I expect it to be a wonderful concert."

Under the direction of Van McCollum, the 60-member chorus will perform classic Christmas tunes, with help from the quintet's oboe, flute, clarinet, horn and bassoon accompaniment.

Before "Forever Christmas," Classical Christmas Inc. will present "A Classical Christmas" on Dec. 9.

Classical Christmas Inc. was founded by Heard and Jeanie Lipscomb. Their vision of traditional Christmas melodies returns to the playhouse for the fourth year in a row.

Heard said the auditions drew "talented harpists, classical guitarist, very accomplished vocalists and classical guitarists."

"It's something different than anything we have at the playhouse," she said. "It's very much the Christmas feeling."

The Estes Brothers Band will treat audiences to their classic Southern rock on New Year's Eve. The concert will be over by 10 p.m., leaving plenty of time to ring in 2009.

The concert also will close the playhouse's 2008 season, though the 2009 season begins the second week in January with William Shakespeare.