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'A Christmas Carol': A Gift to the Community, By the Community

Volunteers are needed for the production's opening night and Gala this Friday.

Michael Elkins as Scrooge; performances begin Friday at NDNU Theater. Credit: Joyce Gosldschmid
Michael Elkins as Scrooge; performances begin Friday at NDNU Theater. Credit: Joyce Gosldschmid

[Editor's note: The following was submitted by NDNU.]

The production team of "A Christmas Carol" The Musical is looking for community members with holiday spirit to spare. Attendees are needed for the Dec. 6 opening night Gala that serves as the production’s only fundraiser.

Volunteers are required to assist with the Gala as well as with subsequent free performances. Donations of food, toys, set-building supplies, and costuming materials are also much needed.

And, most importantly, at each of the nine scheduled performances, smiles and applause are in demand.

“The Gift” is an annual production of A Christmas Carol like no other in the Bay Area. The very way it is produced is as much about charity as quality entertainment. 

The production displays a complete circle of giving. Local businesses donate food and supplies that nourish set builders, costume designers, and the rest of the cast and crew during long work sessions and rehearsals.

Cast and crew give their time and talent. Audience members give their applause and words of appreciation; many also donate non-perishable food and toys. The Belmont Fire Department and organizations like Samaritan House, Second Harvest, and Saint Anthony’s, help to distribute the food and toys to those in need. Everyone gains a feeling of fulfillment.

“The show is an opportunity for those who can give,” states Susie Batter, "The Gift’s" volunteer coordinator. 

“But it’s just as much for those who can’t.” 

Susie has been involved with the production for 11 years. She started when her daughter Audra was 12 and joined the cast. And over the years, husband Gene and sons Garrett and William have participated as well. Several families like the Batters have had two generations involved with The Gift. Producer Mike Elkins’ may have three in the not too far off future.

“We’re a family,” says Associate Producer Mary Hill. 

“Among our cast we’ve had several marriage proposals—three in one weekend—and a baby shower.” 

Multiple cast members have played a variety of roles over the years and have grown up on the stage. Actor Scott Fish started out as Tiny Tim but later played the roles of young Ebenezer, young Marley, and the Ghost of Christmas Past. He eventually moved away for college but came back five years later. “Scott met his future wife on our stage,” recalls Mary.

To learn more about The Gift and its opportunities to give and receive, please visit www.ChristmasCarolTheGift.org. Tickets for the opening night show and Gala on December 6 can be purchased for $50/adult, $25/child. A ticket order form for the Gala as well as for free performances (8 shows given between December 7th and 15th) is available on the website or at the NDNU Theatre Box Office, 1500 Ralston Ave, Belmont. Box Office is open December 2, 3 and 4 from 7-8pm. 

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