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Five Reasons to Make CCPA’s “A Christmas Carol, The Musical” a Holiday Must-See!

"Carol," opening to enthusiastic crowds at the Arts Education Center, continues its successful run through Christmas Eve.

Curtain Call Performing Arts' (CCPA) premiere of the Broadway version of "A Christmas Carol, the Musical," delighted hundreds last weekend at the company's new home, the San Leandro Arts Education Center on the San Leandro High School campus.

Through Saturday, a diverse and vibrant cast of community performers will continue to bring to life the musical version of the classic tale, based on the novel by Charles Dickens.  The show will run on Dec. 22 and 23 at 8:00 p.m. and will close with a Christmas Eve matinee at 2:00 p.m.

Here are the five reasons “A Christmas Carol” ought to be your family’s “must-see” this holiday:

1.  Showcase of local talent.  Over 50 cast members fill the stage under the direction of Catherine Heck (San Leandro) and musical direction by Jon Siapno (Hayward).  The musical stars Kevin Foley (Castro Valley), as Ebenezer Scrooge, Rebecca Sulek (San Leandro, SLHS ‘99) as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Ron Ramos (San Leandro) as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Teresa Attridge (San Francisco) as the Ghost of Christmas Future, and Kyle Herrera (San Leandro) as Tiny Tim. Veteran choreographer Dallis Wright-Morash (San Leandro) helps bring the production to life with dazzling dance numbers.

2.  Magnificent performance venue.  The new Performing Arts Center at San Leandro High School is a testament to the community’s appreciation of the visual and performing arts and is by far the most spacious, well-equipped performance venue in the region.  The 552-seat theater and multimedia classrooms comprise the new $21 million Arts Education Center, which was funded through Measure B, the $109 million school facilities bond passed in 2006 and opened to rave reviews last spring.  Friends of the Theater, a project of the San Leandro Education Foundation, welcomes tax-deductible donations to the ongoing operation of the AEC through its seat naming campaign.

3.  State-of-the-art production values.  The show promises to transport the audience into Dickens’ London and present an array of rich vocals, elaborate sets, staging and costume design.  The state-of-the-art Arts Education Center is equipped with modern rigging, lighting and acoustics, making it the perfect stage to pull off awe-inspiring special effects.  “Carol” features flying ghosts by ZFX Flying Illusions, as well as a look into Scrooge’s past, present, and future through a "portal" lighting effect.  Sets that depict the streets of 19th century London fly from above and on stage with ease. A dedicated crew makes the illusions and seamless and breathtaking.

4.  Creative genius.  As director, Catherine Heck is a retired 42-year educator (36 years dedicated to San Leandro alone) who continues to lend her extensive dramatic experience to CCPA and Bancroft Middle School’s own musical theater program.  Young actors, their parents and season community performers adore her and are always eager to help fulfill Heck’s creative vision for the show.

As CCPA’s musical director, Jon Siapno studied composition at the NYU Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU. He has worked with composer and five-time Tony nominee Elizabeth Swados and as an apprentice to conductors of “Wicked” on Broadway and the San Francisco touring production.  A San Leandro native, Siapno commands an attention to detail that inspires both vocalists and the live orchestra alike to create a stirring production.

5.  CCPA helps make the performing arts accessible to the community.  The vision of Curtain Call Performing Arts is to ensure that performance-based arts are accessible to everyone who desires to participate or attend performances by keeping both ticket prices low and class/workshop tuition affordable.

The final shows will run December 22-24, closing with a Christmas Eve matinee. All shows will be performed at the Arts Education Center on the San Leandro High School campus, located at 2200 Bancroft Ave.  For more information, visit www.curtaincallperformingarts.org, buy tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/196686, or call (510) 629-9516.

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