It’s barely above freezing, and people are huddled in the parking lot of the Oldham County Arts Center. Coats are being passed off to young actors and actresses in flimsy Dickensian costuming, while watching the fire engines roar towards the building. "A Christmas Carol-- The Musical" had come to a halt.
A fog machine had gone rogue and that, combined with the ventilation fans clicking off when the heat clicked on, was enough to set off the fire alarm during the already eerie “Dancing on Your Graves” number.
Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Jacob Jones, continued to belt his heartfelt lyrics, and then paused when he realized the incessant wailing of the alarm would not cease. Janae Boling, who played the Ghost of Christmas future, had frozen with her arm gracefully poised above Scrooge’s head. Neither broke character until Kathie Davis, the director, announced to the cast and audience that, per fire department regulations, the building would have to be evacuated.
You would expect, wandering from group to group outside the center that you would hear mumbling about the unexpected intermission. But more often than not I heard this sung and hummed softly:
Let the stars in the sky remind us of man's compassion. Let us love till we die and God bless us everyone.
The tender song, which is a consistent feature in the musical, was on everyone’s minds as they gathered close to old and new friends while glancing toward the clear December sky.
After about 15 minutes the “all clear” was given by the friendly Oldham County firefighters, and like true professionals and with the assuring guidance of Kathie Davis, the cast finished the play with a renewed energy and determination.
This cast, director and production truly demonstrated what is so very special about the community aspect of local youth theater.
Before the last act, Scrooge has a transformation of character. While singing of his desires for a better future, young children lined the aisles with candles in hand and began singing “God Bless Us Everyone.” And I am certain that I am not the only one who was very softly humming along.
Cover photo courtesy of Shutterstock