Some of the seven-person cast for Isis Theatre Company’s Dec. 7 production of “’Twas the Night … A Celebration of Christmas Stories and Music” are (front, from left) Suzanne Avalon and Barbara Rayliss, and (back, from left) Susan Hegarty, Michele Marsh and Jeri Greene. (Not pictured, Danny Mitchell, Howard Shangraw and Joe Spano.)
Some of the seven-person cast for Isis Theatre Company’s Dec. 7 production of “’Twas the Night … A Celebration of Christmas Stories and Music” are (front, from left) Suzanne Avalon and Barbara Rayliss, and (back, from left) Susan Hegarty, Michele Marsh and Jeri Greene. (Not pictured, Danny Mitchell, Howard Shangraw and Joe Spano.)

 

In “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” Clement Moore made the phrase “’Twas the Night before Christmas” famous. And Isis Theatre Company will bring that sentiment and feeling of the holiday season alive in Idyllwild during its popular Christmas show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.

“’Twas the Night … A Celebration of Christmas Stories and Music” continues the company’s tradition of mixing seasonal literature and music. Director Howard Shangraw has been reading and choosing selections for this performance since last Christmas. After the performers’ first walk-through, he said, “If there is one event you attend this season, it’s got to be this one.”

The Christmas tales come from Leo Tolstoy, Willa Cather, Mark Twain and Ogden Nash, with additional humor contributed from David Sedaris.

“Tolstoy’s is beautiful and Cather’s is very touching,” Shangraw said. “Sedaris is always funny, but a surprise twist.” Still, he had to develop a structure that provides continuity for the evening’s journey.

But the wrapping on the beautiful Christmas production is the music — the a cappella group, The Isisters (Jeri Greene, Susan Hegarty and Barbara Rayliss), and the string quartet, Musica! (all students from San Jacinto and Hemet high schools), and members of the Inland Valley Youth Orchestra.

“There is something for everyone,” Isis founder Suzanne Avalon said. “I know they’ll come and laugh and cry a little, too.” It includes a reading (edited somewhat) of a Charles Lamb essay on Christmas.

All of the proceeds will go to the Idyllwild Community Fund, Avalon said. “They have been such a good supporter of Isis Theatre Company. Without their support, I doubt we’d be as successful,” Shangraw said.

“’Twas the Night“ will be presented at the Rainbow Inn, 54420 S. Circle Drive in Idyllwild. Tickets are $18 for general admission. Tickets may be purchased at the door, or online at www.Isistheatrecompany.com. For more information, call 951-692-9553.

A Dinner Theatre Package is available for $45. It includes a three-course meal at the Gastrognome Restaurant in Idyllwild and a ticket to the play with preferred seating.

J.P. Crumrine can be reached at [email protected]