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A Christmas Carol at North Shore Music Theatre



Somethings just become a tradition over the years, especially around the holidays. Sometimes, you actually look forward to those traditions.

Well, A Christmas Carol staring David Coffee at North Shore Music Theatre is just one of those for our family.

We witnessed this holiday delight last year and knew it was on our top “to-do” list this year.

Being transported back to London during the Industrial Revolution was no small feat. The circular stage could present a problem for such a performance, but in this case, it really works.

The story opens with a young man telling his tale of love and life as seen through his eyes. He spoke of a dear friend, Ebenezer Scrooge. It turns out that this young man is in fact, Timothy Crachit, or Tiny Tim as he has been known to be called.

David Coffee celebrates his 20th year playing the cold and irreproachable Ebenezer Scrooge. He is by far one of the greatest performers in this role with the comedic timing unmatched to others playing the same role. He is believable and his portrayal of such a iconic character as Scrooge is brilliant.

David Coffee as Scrooge (photo by Paul Lyden)

The music, courtesy of musical director Mark Hartman, was flawless. I must say I jumped out of my seat a few times with the loud and sometimes scary sounds, so small children should be warned before attending.

This is definitely a show we will look forward to every year and want to thank the North Shore Music Theatre for having us out again.

The entire cast and crew are as follows:

In addition to the milestone 20th performance of David Coffee as Ebenezer Scrooge, this year’s production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL includes Leigh Barrett (Ghost of Christmas Past, Mrs. Cratchit), Sheldon Henry (Ghost of Christmas Present, Gentleman 1), Kevin Patrick Martin (Ghost of Christmas Future, Young Scrooge), Matt Allan (Jacob Marley), Ryan Bates (Narrator), Russell Garrett (Bob Cratchit), Nathaniel Braga (Pearlie), Joshua Keith (Pearlie), Gillian Mariner Gordon (Belle), Bronson Norris Murphy (Fred), Cheryl McMahon (Mrs. Dilbur/ Mrs. Fezziwig), J.T. Turner (Mr. Fezziwig/Gentleman 2), Stephanie Granade (Meg, Ensemble), Laura Helm (Ensemble), Tommy Labanaris (Old Joe, Ensemble), Jessica Lorion (Ensemble), and Tim McShea (Dick Wilkins, Ensemble).

The cast of 29 will also feature young performers from many local communities including: Amesbury resident Julia Yameen (Fan), Age 12; Gloucester residents Brody Baskin (London Boy), Age 9, Jillian Furber (Martha Cratchit), Age 14, and Giacomo Favazza (Peter Cratchit), Age 14; Kennebunkport, ME resident Shae Kingston (Teen Caroler), Age 16;   North Andover resident Kyle McAdam (Teen Caroler, Younger Scrooge), Age 16; Rowley resident Emily Sousa (Ignorance/Want), Age 8; Salem resident Elizabeth Pasquale (Belinda Cratchit), Age 12; Saugus residents Angelina Breda (Ignorance/Want), Age 7 and Will Fafard (London Boy), Age 12; and Wilmington resident Sarah Gillespie (Tiny Tim Cratchit), Age 8.

The creative team for A CHRISTMAS CAROL includes Arianna Knapp (Director), Joe Moeller (Choreographer), Mark Hartman (Musical Director), Howard C. Jones (Original Scenic Designer), Paula Peasley-Ninestein (Costume Coordinator), Jack Mehler (Lighting Designer), Leon Rothenberg (Sound Designer), Gerard Kelly (Original Wig and Hair Design), Phill Madore (Production Stage Manager), Robert L. Rucinski (Assistant Musical Director), and Misaki Nishimiya (Assistant Stage Manager). Flying effects are provided by ZFX, Inc. A CHRISTMAS CAROL is produced for North Shore Music Theatre by Bill Hanney (Owner/Producer), Arianna Knapp (Artistic Director), and Beth Vasta (Associate Producer).

Throughout the run of A CHRISTMAS CAROL NSMT will be collecting toys in the lobby for Tiny Tim’s Toy Drive.  NSMT will be accepting unopened, unwrapped toys for boys and girls ages 2 – 12.  All toys will be donated to Toys for Tots.

Tickets for A CHRISTMAS CAROL are priced from $55 to $65. Performances are December 6 – December 22, 2013 (Evening shows December 6, 3, 13, 14, 20, 21, 22 at 7:30pm; Matinees December 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22 at 2pm). Kids 18 and under save 50% on Family Friday (December 6 at 7:30pm). Tickets can be purchased by calling the North Shore Music Theatre Box Office at (978) 232-7200, via the website at or in person at 62 Dunham Road (Route 128, exit 19), Beverly, MA.


Rain and Fire in Sedona



Ange Alex

A rainy day in Sedona? What are we going to do. Everything we have planned is outdoors. I am pretty sure that is why people come to Sedona, for the beautiful OUTDOOR activities, like hiking, biking, Jeep tours, viewing the red rocks and photography. 

What to do, what to do.

Oh, I know. I had the privilege of meeting some great artists that work in fire and glass! The perfect indoor activity when your outdoor plans are washed away!

The Melting Point in Sedona, conveniently located across the street for the Whole Foods (two birds with one stone, yeah!), is a group of artist focusing on creating and teaching others how to create as well.

When we entered the facilities, it was like entering a fine arts gallery. So many beautiful works of glass art. Jordan Ford is the general manager and one of the Artists. He came out of the workshop and told us the rules, then brought us into the fold. 

We were about to become glass blowers! 

Jordan had a love for the natural world from a very early age. He went on to study geology in college but that is when he discovered glass. He currently has Bachelor’s Degrees in both Earth Science/Geology and Visual Arts/Glassblowing.

Jordan says , “It’s the process of blowing glass that drives me. I find the physical act of making glass so overwhelmingly fascinating. I approach most of my work with a consideration for the more classical techniques – it’s the framework that I use as a jumping point for experimentation.”

Not only is Jordan incredibly talented, he is really personable and extremely funny. He made everyone in the room feel at ease and we all often irrupted in bouts of laughter.

Another artist that was helping us is Austin Littenberg. Austin became interested in the art of glass blowing at age 16 after watching a documentary. He spent over 12 years developing his craft and learning the technical precision needed to work at this level.

Austin views the many ways Art presents itself and is in tune with it all, and it shows.

Clearly these two artist love what they do, and I for one am grateful for their expertise and their willingness to show the world their art.

They worked with us to create a beautiful cactus, complete with three flowers, one for each kid, and a Sedona rock like base. We loved the patience they showed and the skill to make us feel at ease. We never felt like  we were about to do something we just couldn’t. It felt like we had been doing this before. That is the measure of a true instructor. 

Our work of art was complete and we left there feeling accomplished and quite honestly, amazing! 

Both Austin and Jordan have remarkable skills but also wonderful comedic timing. They were a absolutely pleasure to meet and I look forward to keeping up with their art in the future.

If you find yourself in Sedona and want to meet some really wonderful people, stop by The Melting Point and say hello! While you’re there, blow some glass!

How could I forget one of them most important things; They have a studio dog! Austin brings his sweet baby girl to work with him and she is an angel! We loved her! Make sure you give her some love when you visit!

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Family Fun

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Legends!



Behold the living legends! Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey brings the unbelievable to Children Of All Ages in an all-new show – – Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS. Experience unimaginable family fun as amazing performers from around the globe perform awe-inspiring feats of daring, spectacles of strength and thrills of wonder to summon the mythical and the mysterious visions that have only existed in your imagination and now materialize before your eyes: the Unicorn, Pegasus and a Woolly the Mammoth! Join us for an unforgettable family night of legendary proportions at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS!

Free to all ticketholders, the All Access Pre-show allows circus fans to learn juggling and balancing skills, meet the performers of The Greatest Show On Earth, get autographs, take photos and enter to win a one-of-a-kind Pachyderm Painting.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents LEGENDS SM, playing Amway Center January 14-18, 2016. Save $4 off tickets using promo code 4MOM. Live tweet to us while you are there! @RinglingBros #BestGiftEver  @BackstageBeat



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Family Fun

NEW Children’s Museum of Atlanta Re-opens December 12!



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Families will soon experience more STEAM-style activities and exhibits when visiting the newly renovated Children’s Museum of Atlanta, which re-opens to the public on Saturday, December 12. This iconic downtown attraction, which has been busy renovating since August of this year, now features targeted science, technology, engineering, arts and math education programming woven through almost every aspect of the enhanced space. Whether children build and shoot their own rocket launcher in the new “Gateway to the World” exhibit or design their dream home in the enhanced “Tools for Solutions” exhibit, the increased focus on STEAM learning enables the Museum to further prepare young children to be problem solvers and lifelong learners.

We got a sneak preview this week and I can honestly say it was the most fun my kids have had in a long time! They amount of things there are to do is mind boggling!

One of our favorite areas was Tools for Solutions – This enhanced, multi-layered zone reaches all ages and explores the science of building through four learning environments: the giant ball machine, Built-It Lab, Construction House and City Blocks. Using six simple machines, visitors can move balls through the Museum’s beloved giant ball machine. Children can also learn how to use real tools and materials in the new Build-It Lab, which will feature building workshops and more. This lab will also house a “Maker Space” to empower young children to harness their own ideas to build inventions and artistic creations. The Construction House, designed to showcase what is “behind the walls,” features a solar panel and incorporates activities on how to attach make-believe wires, connect pipes and insulate walls. City Blocks enables children to create skyscrapers and design the city of the future. Through this revitalized exhibit space, children can hone early and more complex math skills, as they learn the importance of processes and sequencing. They also utilize creativity, social emotional and gross and fine motor skills, while discovering that even the most intricate problems can be solved step-by-step with a solid strategy and through the use of tools.

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